Tag Archives: Mormon Nature Poetry

How to Train Your Squirrel by April Salzano

DCIM100SPORT

 

 

 

 

 

 

How to Train Your Squirrel

to eat from a bowl is not an easy task.

You should choose a color other

than blaze orange, a material besides

plastic. Cajun almonds and salted sesame sticks

placed near the patio door seem to cause

aggression toward what used to be

his playmates in the yard. He chases away

all critters except the Nut Hatch who is able

to fly stealth operations and grab peanuts

without landing completely. Do not wait

until the blinking creature is scratching

at the glass to offer a treat. This reinforces

demanding behavior and does not promote

sharing with friends. Ignore the urge to touch

his patchy grey coat or to open the door

wide enough to permit his entrance.

_______________________________________

Find recent work and a bio of Salzano here. Additional poems on WIZ are available here.

 

Photo by A.J. Huffman. Used with permission.

A Dozing Squirrel by April Salzano

squirrel2

A Dozing Squirrel

full of almonds and sesame sticks, warms

his belly on wood of deck. Spread

like a loaf of homemade bread, his eyes

become commas even as his chest expands,

contracts like a blood pressure pump.

Front paws hang over edge as if more cat

than woodland wanderer, tail curled over his back,

temporarily not twitching in anxiety. I stand

at the window, wait to make sure no injury

is preventing his chaotic, convulsive foraging.

I turn away, distracted. When I return,

seconds later, he is gone.

_______________________________________

photo3 April Salzano has previously published on small creatures on WIZ. Salzano teaches college writing in Pennsylvania where she lives with her husband and two sons. She recently finished her first collection of poetry, for which she is seeking a publisher. Her work has appeared in journals such as Poetry Salzburg, Convergence, Ascent Aspirations, Convergence, The Camel Saloon, Centrifugal Eye, Deadsnakes, Montucky Review, Visceral Uterus and Salome, Poetry Quarterly, and is forthcoming in Writing Tomorrow and Rattle. She also serves as co-editor at Kind of a Hurricane Press.

 

Photo by the author.

Some Words by Dayna Patterson

Abandoned_Jewish_cemetry_in_Trstín_01

 

Divorced from their meanings,

some words have lovely sound.

 

Poo,

with its soft plosive puh,

the same oo as in moon,

a word poets are fond of.

 

Chlamydia

could be a beautiful vine

with violet petals unfurling

around the kitchen bay window.

 

Balaclava

might refer to the delicate,

pale collar bones

of a water nymph.

 

Bergen-Belsen

could be generic for sanctuary,

a garden with no corpse flowers,

no odor of decay.

 

Bashar Hafez al-Assad

could be the name of a saint,

Saint of the underdog, of lost

buttons, of broken crockery.

____________________________

Dayna Patterson is Poetry Editor at Psaltery & Lyre. For more, go here.

Photo via Wikimedia Commons by Doronenko, 2012, of an abandoned Jewish Cemetery in Trstin.

Spider Line by Dayna Patterson

Photo by James Lindsey, 2003 via Wikimedia Commons

As I walk on a warm evening,
an invisible strand of spider silk
lands across my neck.

Another snags my elbow.
I brush at them,
but they are tricky to unhook.

Where is the spider
who set this clever snare?
I’m not near a tree or pole

or any structure for that matter.
This spider has cast his line far
into the river of open air,

hoping for a yellow hopper,
which he will reel in
and roast over a cookfire.

The smell of his catch will waft
through the grass to make his neighbors’
pinhole mouths water.

After a fine meal, he’ll lie down
in a hammock of homespun
and stare at the sparking stars,

each one a tantalizing firefly.

_________________________________
Dayna Patterson

Dayna recently moved to the Northwest from Texas. She is the mother of two and Poetry Editor for Psaltery & Lyre. Her chapbooks, Loose Threads and Mothering, are available from Flutter Press. Other work has appeared or is forthcoming in BlazeVOX, Borderline, Clover, Decades Review, Dialogue, Flutter Poetry Journal, Front Porch Review, North American Review, Segullah, and Sunstone, among others.

 

 

Photo by James Lindsey, 2003 via Wikimedia Commons.

Memories of a Fallen Branch by Chris Peck

640px-Broken_tree_in_forest

Innocence splintered when I watched the tree branch fall.
Sleeping in tight corners,
the wind, the rain, the mourning trees
all spoke my name as they cried out.

But in those sounds—the creaking, the whining and pounding,
the whistling of the wind between leaves and branches—

There was clarity, the possibility of death
so that we may all sing laments neither for us, nor for our souls,
but for the nature which, through language, we have left.

And I left it, staying within safety, if there was any to be had,
understanding the difference I, a product of selection, shared.

But in passing, in seeing the destruction and its forms,
I returned to the woods, to the breath of what we know and saw
fear in my own eyes,
in the frailty of nature, and of myself, to a birth of civility.

________________________________________________________________________
photo 2Chris A. Peck, currently resides in Provo, Utah with his wife and two boys. He is attending Utah Valley University working towards a degree in English education and philosophy after a long failed stint in the sciences. He is an avid cyclist and loves the outdoors. He has recently published in Warp and Weave as well as with the Utah Valley University Philosophy Conference.

Photo is in the public domain.

Human Nature by Merrijane Rice

576px-Birdnests_in_Tanzania_3549_Nevit

In the city,
glass-skinned buildings
like bitmapped mountains
pulse with interior stars.

Streets flow with headlights
like lambent corpuscles
navigating a maze
of webbed capillaries.

My neighborhood crawls
with progeny enough
to fascinate any ant farm gazer.

My house clings to earth
like mudded swallow’s nest,
bright as bowerbird canopy
strewn with colored nothings.

My children, too,
push over the edge
like wild, young larks
falling into flight.

_______________________________
HeadshotMJMerrijane earned a B.A. in English at BYU. She then served for 18 months in the Washington, D.C. North mission at the LDS Temple Visitors’ Center. After returning, she married Jason Rice, and together they are raising a family of four boys in Kaysville. Currently, she works for Deseret Mutual in the Media Development department as a technical writer and editor. See more of her work here, and of course at WIZ.

“Birds of Tanzania” (2010) by Nevit Dilmen via Wikimedia Commons.

Victoria Road by Will Reger

Infrared_Road_Dog_-_(1)

The boy on his way to school
Saw the earth eating a dog.
Black and brown, warm and sleek,
A lolling grin so like its kind:
It was killed by a car and
Fell among the roadside weeds
Without notice and was still.
How long did the earth dance on
Before the boy saw its muscles parsed
Away in trails of stench–a week?
Two weeks?  With moon and sun
Rushing to keep pace, the stars sliding
Out of her way, their milky bouquet
Stretched across the ballroom of night,
This boy peddled to and fro past
Those teeth grinning whiter now
That the earth had nibbled away,
Taking in the dog, one sip at a time.
He had heard stories how the earth
Will one day disgorge
Her long meal of the dead,
And later wished he had taken
A tooth or something to
Summon the dog when it rises.

_____________________________________
Reger PhotoWill Reger was born and raised in the St. Louis, Missouri area. He has a Ph.D. in History from the University of Illinois and currently teaches history at Illinois State University. He lives in Champaign, Illinois, with his wife and two youngest children. He began writing poetry in the 7th grade and never quite stopped. He also plays the Native American Flute. He has recently had poems published in Fire in the Pasture and songs/cycles (and, of course, here on WIZ).

Photo: “Infrared Road Dog” by Mike Lewinski via Wikimedia Commons, 2012.

Superstition Mountains by Bradley McIlwain

Superstitious Mountains

McIlwain Mountains

________________________________
McIlwain PhotoBradley McIlwain is a Canadian-based writer and poet who lives and works in rural Ontario. His poems have been published in national and international print and online magazines. He holds a Bachelor of Arts, Honours, from Trent University, with a major in English Literature. His first book of poems, Fracture, is now available.

Photo, “Lightning, Superstition Mountains,” by Robert Quinn via nationalgeographic.com, 2008.

WIZ Works(hops it) Out

Georges_de_La_Tour._St._Joseph,_the_Carpenter

Folks, we’ve kicked around the idea of a workshop space for some time: a place where we can post a promising bit of poetry and elicit comments from our contributors, readers, and curious onlookers.

The magic will take place over at our Facebook page, so if you’re over there, like the page and join in.

The rules, evolving ever, will be these:

1) editorial staff will post a poem a week (tops) to allow adequate time and attention;
2) compliments are encouraged, criticisms are invited, suggestions are welcome;
3) keep it courteous.

The objective is to groom poems for publication, so we’d like to see rigorous and productive discussion about the poems we workshop. We’d also like to see comments that bear in mind WIZ’s general culture and purpose. For some insight into what that is, read this.

Chris Peck has agreed to be our guinea pig. Starting today, we’ll engage with him and his already very fine and very interesting poem “Memories of a Fallen Branch.” Come on over and weigh in. We’d love to hear from you.

__________________________________________
Image: Georges de la Tour’s “Saint Joseph charpentier, ca. 1640.