Tag Archives: nature poems

One Leg Up by A. J. Huffman

800px-Pink_Flamingo_@_Temaikén

Flamingos frolic in the surfless still of the sea
side morning’s pastoral.  Limbs and feathers
paint a fantastical fan, this stretching before the sun.
The water dopples,
dolloped with pink reflections.  A mirror
ed magic, reflexive of another dimension.  Alien
in pastel tones of aggressive softness, they
adamantly defend their rights
to this dance.

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To read more poetry by Huffman, go here, here, and here.

Photo by LonghornDave via Wikimedia Commons Images.

Memoirs Written in Rain by A. J. Huffman

Drops_Of_Cosmos_by Audrey from Central Pennsylvania

The lavender sky turns.  Soundless.
Its silvered breath falls,
sliding slowly over veined silk.
The tiny bud ruptures.  Bending
backwards (in time) it beads
the ground with miniscule reflections,
iridescent images bursting the same ideal:
a perfect mirror of every dawn’s bloom.

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAA.J. Huffman is a poet and freelance writer in Daytona Beach, Florida.  She has previously published six collections of poetry all available on Amazon.com.  She has also published her work in numerous national and international literary journals. Most recently, she has accepted the position as editor for four online poetry journals published by Kind of a Hurricane Press. You can read more about A.J. Huffman, including additional information and links to her work. Huffman has published with WIZ previously.

Photo by Audrey of Central Pennsylvania via Wikimedia Commons.

Love of Nature, Nature of Love Month on Wilderness Interface Zone

Valentine_722 Antique Valentine

Starting February 1st, Love of Nature Nature of Love Month will open its heart at Wilderness Interface Zone.  We’re issuing a call for nature-themed love stuff. Got messages of companionship, connectionship, or of loveship you’d like to send someone? Are you weird like me and your nature is to be crazy about people AND nature? WIZ is looking for original poetry, essays, blocks of fiction, art, music (mp3s), videos or other media that address the subject of love while making references to nature–including to that work of nature as earth-moving and variable as any other natural force, human language.

We’ll take the other side of the coin of affection, too: We’ll publish work about nature spun up with themes of love.  And as always, you’re welcome to send favorite works by others that have entered public domain.

Some of us have been around long enough to have the authority to urge you to let people you care about know how you feel at each opportunity that flies up in front of you. So if you have a sweet song or sonnet you’ve written to someone beloved–or perhaps a video Valentine or an essay avowing your love for a natural critter or space near and dear–please consider sending it to WIZ. We’ll publish it between February 1 and February 28. Click here for submissions guidelines.

Our fondest hopes for LONNOL Month: Putting into the currents of language flowing around the world some of the deepest, warmest, freeze-busting words we can find. And if things work out, we’ll also be running one of WIZ’s DVD giveaways, a Pre-Hays Code movie, King of the Jungle, starring loincloth-clad Buster Crabbe as Kaspa the Lion Man.

We hope you’ll join us for this month-long celebration combining two of the most potent forces on the face of the planet–love and language.

We love the things we love for what they are.  ~Robert Frost

One touch of nature makes the whole world kin.  ~William Shakespeare

Invitation by Enoch Thompson

First Snow by Nonnecke

Excuse me, Winter,
Won’t you please come to tea
With the rustling wind
And yellow, red, falling leaves?

And when you leave,
Go giving a present–
A beautiful flower
Or butterfly pendant.

But please be swift.
The tea will be cooling
In the night wind.

With Love,
Sincerely,
Autumn

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For Enoch’s bio and more poetry, go here.

Photo by Nonnecke.

Pine Scars by Enoch Thompson

800px-Pinus_rigida_cone2

A pine cone
Bit through the seat of my jeans,
And on that day
I vowed never to climb pine trees.

Never again would I feel
The sap underneath
The triumph of
A climb’s ending.

There would be just the memory…
…that, and the falling…

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Enoch Thompson is an aspiring poet and storyteller. He was born and raised in Detroit, Michigan. He has been homeless off and on since he turned 18. He taught himself how to read, which is why he has a passion for reading and writing. He believes that becoming the best writer he can be is how he can become the best person he can be. He says that the written word has affected him by opening his mind to various new perspectives and possibilities. He hopes one day that his writing will be mind-blowing. Currently, he is a student at Utah State University-Eastern in southeastern Utah.

2012 Fall haiku by Patricia K

369px-Francesco_del_Cossa_001 Der Herbst

She’s heeeerrrre …

Autumnal equinox: the tipping point between two seasons of light.

Fall arrived on Saturday a little before 9 a.m. I thought it happened today because my calendar says so, but my calendar got it wrong. I wonder what else my calendar has gotten wrong.

For those of us who (like me) may feel the touch of melancholy this time of year but have the impulse to celebrate anyway, WIZ is opening a haiku chain. Many of you know what a haiku is–probably, you’ve know since elementary school or junior high. For those who feel uncertain, a haiku is a classical Japanese poetical form, usually 17 syllables all in a single line in Japanese, but there are longer and shorter forms.  A haiku written in English stacks lines, often in the order of one short line of 5 syllables on top, a long line of 7 syllables in the middle, then another short line of 5 syllables on the bottom.  But there are many paths–pick what suits you.  Often, haiku mention the season under consideration.  If you wish to learn more about haiku, you can go here or here.

How a WIZ haiku chain usually goes is this: Someone starts the chain.  This year, that’s me. Somebody follows me, adding a single haiku in the comments, and then another person takes a crack, and ’round we go.  You may link your haiku to an image in the previous haiku or stud the chain with something wholly original. I kind of like seeing other people’s individual expressions of how the arrival of this season strikes them. Other than the informal, “one-at-a-time-please” tradition, there’s no limit to turns a participant can take and no deadline for this activity.  It runs as long as it runs.

My opener:

Summer’s final words
rasp leaves, shimmer on the lip
of the horizon.

Go!

The Mendicant’s Plea by Patricia Karamesines

800px-Waterdruppel_op_blad waterdrops on leaves public domain

If I came in the dawn, before
Your hard light and straight air,
If I brought a cup,
Would you let drop dew

From your luster onto its curve?
Not for me, mind you—
It’s enough for my two orbs
To reflect on complexions of sky-

Eyed beads, enough for my two
Shells to dote on strands
Of silence.  But others might
Not catch the muddy logic

Of rainstorm runoff, the smoke
Of wit in some animal eye,
The lavender twinkle
Of late-blooming asters;

Might not hear your dog’s
Cackle upend evening’s
Sequence, the raven break off
Night, the raw weed bend.

If it were a plain cup,
Without artistry,
Only your look, your lights
Dabbling its surface—

In each hemisphere of blessing
Would I bear out plenum on a mirror—
Your ascetic bent on prodigality,
Minims stamped with Everness’s twins.

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Patricia and her husband, three kids, two cats, and new puppy live at the edge of the desert in the Four Corners region of the southwestern U.S.  She has won many awards for her poetry, essays, and fiction.  She is the author of The Pictograph Murders, a mystery set in the area where she now lives.  Some of her poetry appears in the recently published landmark anthology of Mormon poetry, Fire in the Pasture. An adjunct English professor for Utah State University-College of Eastern Utah, she teaches English composition and also provides tutoring instruction.  She is the founding editor of Wilderness Interface Zone.  “The Mendicant’s Plea” was first published in Desert Voices, the Moab Poets and Writers’ literary magazine.

Darkness Descends by Ashley Suzanne Musick

Madrid sunset2 by Manuel Parada López de Corselas (public domain courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)

A chill permeates the atmosphere
as the golden orb of the sun slides down the crimson
firmament towards the cusp of heaven and earth. Its fading rays
illuminate in marvelous tints of pallid yellow, dazzling
pink and intense orange the edges of the steel blue clouds.
In the sky opposite baby blue fades to navy.
As the sun slips below the horizon, a copper sliver emerges from
the earth’s other edge. All along the rim of the world
white and orange lights shiver in the quivering air.
Slowly, in this corner of earth, the curtain of night is drawn,
sucking colors from surroundings, transforming the world
into bland silhouette. Overhead, in the dark shroud, stars,
far-off beacons in the vast void, arrange into patterns marking seasons.
Expressionless sentinels, they look upon this sole home of life
while humanity on this side of the world gazes back as darkness descends.

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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.  To see more of her work, go here and here.

The photo is titled “Ocaso en el lago de El Soto (Móstoles, Madrid).”  Its creator, Manuel Parada López de Corselas, released the image into the public domain via Wikimedia Commons.

Winners of WIZ’s 2012 Spring Poetry Runoff Announced

Snow_river by Ranveig Thattai

Wilderness Interface Zone’s poets came through once again to present a full field of colorful and mind-brightening spring poetry during this year’s Spring Poetry Runoff.  Spring couldn’t find better heralds of its arrival or celebrants of its renewed greening of those parts of the world that are fortunate enough to get True Spring.  The WIZ admin (that’s Jonathon and me) were thrilled with the participation.  We’d like to express our profound gratitude to both writers and readers who picked up ribbons on our Maypole of vernal verse.

As usual, we had many strong contestants.  And as usual, we feel that we can’t award enough people enough prizes. However, those who did not place sometimes receive consolation prizes as other publications rummage through WIZ’s Runoff poetry, come up with a handful of some Spring Runoff poems–winners and worthy contestants–and republish them.  Dialogue did so last year and Sunstone is doing it this year.  So don’t be surprised if you’re thumbing through Sunstone’s upcoming stewardship issue and discover WIZ poems among the sheaves.  WIZ is pleased to be a gateway for both emerging and established writers to win wider attention for their work.

WILDERNESS INTERFACE ZONE’S 2012 SPRING POETRY RUNOFF WINNERS

The Most Popular Poem Award: Not to belabor the obvious, but James Goldberg’s crowd-pleasing and tender reflection on fathers and sons set against a warm spring background within which stirs snakes and memories managed to pull away from William Reger’s also quite skillful and intriguing “First Robins.”  This was, hands down, the most exciting Most Popular Poem vote in WIZ’s three years of running the competition.  Thanks to both Will and James for putting on a spectacular show and for drawing in a record number of 212 voters.

WIZ admin’s comments on “Since he was weaned”:

Jonathon: What’s not to like in James’ “Since he was weaned”? Spring may be delayed here, and when it comes the fever breaks quietly, cumulatively. It is never much more than implied in bones needing rest, and in the sullen, housebound winterwork the father does. But he is, from the start, infected with love and wonder, and the son for his part with that urgency to Go! we all have carried in our bones, carry still if we are blessed to: an impulse caught in winter worries (where there’s Winter) and released, uncoiled, where there is Spring.

Patricia: Relationships. The world needs more relationship poems as convincing as this one, and, of course, more poems advocating kindness toward snakes. And as a reader, thus a participant in James’ word-world, I felt the language welcome me to its story.  Jonathon speaks of the father becoming “infected” with love and wonder; from “Since he was weaned” emanates simple, native magnetism that likewise draws in the reader affectionately. I have a powerful, sympathetic response to the boy’s whole-body hunger to launch himself (with Papa’s company and aid) into that wider world.  An authentic poem, fully approachable yet artistically savvy.

The Admin Award: Every year since the Runoff competition began, WIZ administrators (that’d be me for the first 2 years; this year, Jonathon and myself) have dipped in and chosen their favorite poem from the Runoff.   The overabundance of truly worthy poems always makes choosing at least somewhat painful; this year was no exception.  This year, the Admin Award goes to Mark Penny for his lyrical, sprung sonnet, “I Miss That Time of Year I Know as Spring.”

WIZ admin’s comments on “I Miss That Time of Year I Know as Spring”:

Jonathon: The comment section on Mark’s “I Miss that Time of Year” bears out that “rain-chaffed ions” was an accident, but a happy one, reading Spring as a harvest of the dormant seed of Winter with its “white-robed monarchs” in their “white-leaved bower,” and its cold but coursing water. There’s something of Dylan Thomas at work here–“cloud-licked,” “herd-lord”–but restful, clean, and sober at a holy sonnet, at a sonnet as altar.

Patricia: When I read “I Miss That Time of Year I Know as Spring”, I thought, “That gets it for me–that longing for spring that makes the mind ache.”  I find the poem a satisfying answer to WIZ’s call for poems to sing up the season.  I loved that line, “Of white-robed monarchs in a white-leaved bower”–thrilling and chilling.  As Jonathon points out, “I Miss” is a sonnet, yet the rhyme scheme dances about freely.  And yes, there’s something holy about Mark’s poem–even in that reflection, ” … dream / Never quite shaken off, a dream of chills.”  “I Miss” scratched my spring itch.

For your enjoyment, below you can read or re-read the two winning poems .

I Miss That Time of Year I Know as Spring by Mark Penny

I miss that time of year I know as Spring:
The rain-chaffed ions on the air, the air
Breathed by the shrew and hawk, the wheat and tare,
Stirred by the green-leafed lyre and the wing.
I miss the swift, infant quaking of the grass
In the first stumbling steps of cloud-licked wind,
The boastful lowing of the herd-lord sun,
The warbling riot of the wild morass.
I miss that setting forward of the hour,
That lunge of drowsy muscles from a dream
Never quite shaken off, a dream of chills,
Of white-robed monarchs in a white-leaved bower,
Of cold blood coursing in the veins and streams,
Of all that revels lying prone and still.

Since he was weaned by James Goldberg

Since he was weaned, my son’s been hungry for the open sky—
so that now, at eighteen months, he’s a seeker and a maker of signs.

A simple knock at the air
comes first.
It means: open this door
and let me ascend the concrete steps
to that greater bliss and those long lines of sight.
It means: let there be light!
Or, if the light is already waiting, let me rise to it.
Let me bask today.

Then there’s fetching the shoes;
that’s much more forceful.
To bring his own shoes is to say:
I am prepared! And don’t let this journey be withheld from me!
To bring my shoes—yes,
to cradle the massive, worn load of each size fifteen ship
and to dump it abruptly, for emphasis, at my feet—
this means:
the time has come, my father,
and can you deny your own destiny?

If all else fails,
there’s the incantation,
the syllable of power.
The hard ‘g’ means: pay attention!
(in the prophets’ terms: behold!)
And then the long ‘o’ either swells into a
bright sound of hope,
or else drags out long and plaintive:
an aching lament, the age-old burden
(the pain of separation the prophets once spoke).
Armed with this spell, he walks up to me like Moses to Pharaoh.
Go? he says. Go. Go!

When he asks, I am always busy.
When he asks, I have work to do. Feet to rest, and bones.
But when my son struggles for these signs
like a drowning man for air,
who am I to resist?
Who am I not to offer him the sweet relief
of knowing absolutely that he has been understood?

We go outside (I tell myself)
for two minutes. Just two minutes.
But soon spring is thawing my tundra-hard heart,
Soon, we cannot be contained even by the backyard.

Under the concrete of the driveway, garden snakes are stirring.
My son and I see one’s striped body from behind a leaning rock
and I remember my father, who taught me love and reverence
when he pulled our van over all at once and stepped out,
when he carried a snake away from the dangers of the road’s warm asphalt,
when he laid it down safe on the soft ground
one spring. Long ago.

Vote for your favorite 2012 Spring Poetry Runoff poems

Hello, WIZ Readers and Contestants!  Thank you for your excellent participation in this year’s Spring Poetry Runoff Contest and Celebration!  It’s time to put on the mantle of poetry judges for the next seven days–part of the informal, just-for-fun nature of this contest.  But rather than limit each judge (that’ll be you) to just one vote, we’re asking each voter to choose her or his 3 (count them: one–two–THREE) favorite Spring Poetry Runoff entries of the 31 contest-eligible entries that came thundering down from the heights this spring.   The poll opens today and runs until 10:00 p.m. (Utah time) midnight Wednesday, June 6.

While readers and participants choose the winner(s) of the Spring Poetry Runoff Contest Popular Vote Award, WIZ admin will be choosing the winner of the Spring Poetry Runoff Admin Award.   Winners of both awards will be announced in a post on or shortly after Thursday, June 7.  The winner in each category will receive his or her choice of The Scholar of Moab, by frequent WIZ contributor Steven L. Peck, (Torrey House Press, 2011) or the distinguished new anthology of Mormon poetry, Fire in the Pasture, edited by Tyler Chadwick (Peculiar Pages, 2011).  Tyler has also contributed work to WIZ.

Rules for voting (PLEASE READ AND FOLLOW CAREFULLY!!!):

1.  Each voter should select his or her 3 favorite poems of the 31 eligible. Please, participants–enter three choices for your favorite poems.  It’s more sporting than just voting for your single favorite poem, and it provides our poets feedback for their hard-wrought words.
2.  Each voter can vote only one time–no ballot-box-stuffing shenanigans, please.
3.  Voters are encouraged to read every poem before voting. Please note: Click here to see a complete list of contest eligible poems, then left click on a poem title.  This will open the complete poem in another window. Alternatively, to read all the poems, you could go to a Google docs page here and click through the links.
4.  Participating poets and WIZ readers may encourage friends and family members to read and vote.
5.  All participating poets are encouraged to vote whether their poems were published in the contest category or in the non-contest category.

Instructions for voting:

Click on the small square box next to the name of the poem that you wish to choose.  A green or black check mark will appear in that box.  If you accidentally check mark the wrong box or change your mind, simply click on the box again and the check mark will disappear.  After you have check-marked your 3 favorite poems (you will see 3 check marks on the page), click on the “Vote” box at the bottom of the page.   Clicking on that box will end your voting session, so be sure you’ve finished voting before you click “Vote.”  To see the tally of votes so far, click “View Results.”

[poll id=”6″]