Tag Archives: learning from nature

Come in Under the Shadow of this Red Rock by Chanel Earl

Calf Creek 2-1

As we walk—side by side—down the long sloping trail, we pass gray trees and black igneous boulders peppering the otherwise white, sedimentary landscape. The earth is a mirror reflecting the hot yellow sun that has so recently removed winter’s snow. I point out traces of vanished streams; you find lizard footprints delicately decorating their sandy banks. We continue on.

I thirst and walk and imagine living forty days in this forsaken place. The nights are cold, the days are sweltering. My mouth dries and I see only sand, sun. The blue skies taunt and laugh with derision.

If there were water and no rock.

I imagine this land as sea, sediment settling onto the ocean floor as the waves rise and fall. I swim and fall to the bottom of the deep.

If there were rock and also water, and water—a spring—a pool among the rock.

I imagine Elijah, sliding into his cave among the rocks to find a saving pool. He drinks and prays.  And sleeps.

If there were the sound of water only—the sound of water over the rock.

As I continue to dream I hear the water. It falls through the canyon. It seeps through the rocks and splashes onto the sand.

I take your hand.  We hear snowmelt careening down the canyon. The rocks echo the sounds of thunderous falls as we arrive at our destination. Too cold to swim, I sit and drink and feel the cool mist on my hot face. You lie, relaxed, in the warm sun.

If I were living in this rock’s shadow, I would live with you. The ravens would bring us grapes and melon. Every morning we would wake to the life of the desert.

On our return you find green buds sprouting from the tips of each gray tree, trees that grow out of living rock. A black bird soars above us.

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Chanel Earl grew up in Utah and currently lives in Bloomington, Indiana. In addition to reading and writing, her hobbies include teaching, gardening, knitting, quilting, watching way too much television, parenting and housework. Her work has appeared in Smokelong Quarterly, The Wasatch Journal and Revolution House Magazine. Her short story collection, What to Say to Someone Who’s Dying, is available online. Chanel is a Mormon. You can find out more about Chanel and her writing at www.chanelstory.blogspot.com.

By the Wayside by Ashley Suzanne Musick

de/ex macchina British Columbia 2007--Jonathon Penny

A baby blue bowl, overturned,

Sums it up somehow:

Trees march up the hills,

Casting a green cape across the soil.

A gray ribbon winds between the mounds of earth

As cars—bright, boldsome gems—speed along the path,

Glinting brilliantly in the sunbeams,

Rushing from one place to another,

Thoughtless of the beauty surrounding them.

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Ashley Suzanne Musick was born in Fountain Valley, California, on February 26th, 1989, and raised and homeschooled in Anaheim. In 2010, she moved to southwest Kern County, where she lives and works on a farm and writes in her spare time.

the bully: winter by Linda Crate

Train_stuck_in_snow (photo taken 29 March 1881 by Emer and Tenney, Southern Minnesota, USA--public domain image)

the hand of winter stretched out
his grey gloves and poured snow
out of his pitcher it fell upon the
world in cold numbing waves it
washed away all the colors of fall —

it beat back my favorite lilies into
the hand of white dust like people
are prone to beat one another into
the dust for a sense of self worth. I
don’t understand why winter thinks

he needs to be such a bully he beats
his cold fiercely upon the land blasts
his wailing banshee winds upon the
zephyr and rips remaining leaf missives
from trees with such force they yelp.

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To read more of Linda’s verse on WIZ, go here and here.

Death of an old dog, part five, by Patricia

I meet a young couple in the canyon. A dog in their company tells me more about them than they guess. I see a piñon pine tree alight with fall sunshine. As I exit the canyon, I discover a prying eye. This is another long and the last installment in this series but it isn’t the end of the story.

For late November, Crossfire Creek was running high.  Usually, a few flash floods in October knock things around a bit, then bone-dry air siphons the water off into the sky, leaving the creek bed bare except where beavers have gardened two springs to create a year-round water park half a mile long.  As I stood on the bank above a pond contained behind one of the lower dams, I turned to see a young couple I didn’t know walking toward me down the trail, my neighbor’s Welsh corgi, “Goliath,” loping ahead.  November weather in the Four Corners region sometimes runs to the mild side.  The couple wore short-sleeved shirts and were holding hands as they strolled.  Seeing the dog, I supposed the pair to be relatives of my neighbors whose house lay east of mine across a city block’s worth of pasture.  I greeted them and Goliath. Continue reading Death of an old dog, part five, by Patricia

Death of an old dog, part four, by Patricia

Aquila chrysaetos closeup by Richard_Bartz

In which I make my way into Crossfire Canyon and meet a wondrous bird.  I muse upon the experience of eye contact with other species, referencing N. Scott Momaday and Martin Buber.  I see the light, loose and free in the canyon–it’s beautiful. Part one here, part two here, part three here.

As I worked my way down the trail, I discovered that my right knee was finally healing from a months-long bout with tendonitis and perhaps nerve damage.  As recently as two weeks earlier I hadn’t been able to raise that leg very high, so I tripped frequently over stones in the trail or fell on my backside on that more difficult-to-negotiate rock outcrop down which I had to lower myself to get where I wanted to go.  But this time, no trips, no falls.  Still worried that I was inviting further trouble, I forced myself down the trail. As I walked onto an overlook I frequent to see what’s happening in the canyon below–whether or not cows are lounging on the trail, for instance–something fine happened. Continue reading Death of an old dog, part four, by Patricia

Winter in England by Karen Kelsay

Winter in England Karen Kelsay

It’s here I pause with each December, where
the snow-trimmed walls of timeworn brick align
beneath the windowsill and winter’s bare
limbs bend beneath a delicate and fine

glossing of frost. It’s here I garner all
my thoughts of months gone past, beside the sheers
and yellow paisley chair. A woolen shawl,
a pearl and knit of smiles and raveled tears,

is wrapped around my shoulders. Nothing speaks
but morning’s melting icicles and wind
that steals the breath of graying skies. The creek
is frozen into timelessness and thinned

with dying grasses every shade of brown.
I take my stock of daisies dried and pressed–
my verses, scratched impetuously down–
time balanced here on its mid-point of rest.

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Karen Kelsay Dec 2011 resizedKaren Kelsay has been published in a variety of journals including: The HyperTexts, The Flea, The Raintown Review, The New Formalist and 14 by 14 Magazine. She is the editor of Victorian Violet Press, an online poetry magazine. She is a five-time Pushcart Prize nominee.

Iridacea by Sarah E. Page

Iridacea Sarah Page

How ugly you all are,
An all-over ugly!

Iris bulbs unearthed and scythed
Of top leaves,
I lay your twisted, tuberous
Bodies across a gutted paper sack
And take a moment to grimace
At your grotesquery.

Dirt clings to your stringy reaching roots.
Not even warm water and bleach
Can pretty the rough hide of your skin.
Poor horrid hags!

But wait—don’t droop,
Shrivel dry in shame.

For I know your secret.

You keep it like a locket,
Or maybe a pearl,
Deep in the water of your flesh—
A tiara of petals, jewels of silk,
A blush pressed within paper wings.
Each spring, you rise
Slim-necked as swans and slender-leaved
To curve rainbows into blossoms.

Yes, majesty resides in these lumps,
These commoner dumplings—
Children of the coronet.

Who would guess such a spectacle
But those who’ve already seen
The princess curled within the peasant—
The goddess in the hag flower.

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Sarah E. Page graduated Cum Laude from Brigham Young University with a B.A. in English in 2007 and is pursuing her Master of Science and certification in Secondary English at Southern Connecticut State University. Her poetry has been published in Noctua Review, Mormon Artist, Inscape: A Journal of Literature and Art, and included in the anthology Fire in the Pasture: Twenty-First Century Mormon Poets. When not scribbling novels or taking pictures of the ragged aster and other weeds running rampant in her garden, she enjoys getting lost on long walks in the Naugatuck State Forest.

White Fire by Paul Swenson

Lightning by Thomas_Bresson resized

After the electrical storm
rattles the windows
and spikes the sky ocher

and I go out in the dark
to douse the garden hose
superfluously watering the roses

a shock
to be blinded
by moon
full in the face
in the closed corridor
at the side of my house

and it is clear to me
like cool white fire
the you I know
still glows
in dark somewhere

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To read Paul Swenson’s bio and more of his poetry on WIZ, go here.

Photo by Bresson Thomas.

Make like a tree by Professor Percival P. Pennywhistle

Make
like a tree* and
grow, bloom and bear fruit,
give shade, give shelter, sow seed,
weather storms, dig deep,
breathe deeper.
Be useful
in your
death:
frame
well,
burn
bright,
enrich
the soil,
and,
mulch
made,
resurrect
a tree.

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*This is, of course, a variation on the common adage to “make like a tree and branch out,” and the less common adage, used primarily among canines (the dogs, not the teeth), “make like a tree and bark.” Puns about leaves will not be tolerated.

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Professor Percival P. Pennywhistle despises children and loathes nature, which often gets on his shoes and under his fingernails, but he recognizes that both are important enough to be addressed, and so he writes poetry and other things for children, some of it about nature. Bits and pieces of his work can be found here, and he can also be reached on Facebook and via email at pennywhistlestop@gmail.com. The poems published on WIZ come from Poems for the Precocious and Alphabet Stew: Poems in a Particular Order. Other projects in development include Mythiphus, Me Grimms and Melancholies, Kid Viscous and the Mysterious Substance, Jonah P. Juniper and getting Ben Crowder to be his illustrator.

Seeing is Pleasure by Sonnet Mondal

The 7 o’ clock was hot again, hotter than any 7 o’ clock.
A drop of sweat travelling down my cheek
In search of destination stopped suddenly
And I rubbed it off, removing its existence.
I went up for a glass of glucose to see
Ants caving in there;
The glass had one inch water with dead ants floating—
Perhaps they have committed suicide.
I went for a bath where water was in drops first,
Then there were none.
From the corridor, I saw people
Working with pumping lines.
They were so happy, the gushing water
That rode on them sometimes seemed
Like the child of a waterfall. Quite refreshing—
My inner being had its bath from the scene.

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To read Sonnet Mondal’s bio and more poetry, click here.