BUTTERFLY EFFECT

BUTTERFLY EFFECT

This one from the milkweed growing against

all odds on the edge of my driveway or

one of those rescued from a predator

in Polly’s patch. Remember the story

that one might change the weather of the world?

Maybe not the movement of its wings.

Maybe just the vision: that brave orange

and black animal, fragile against a leaf,

blown across the sky, what it’s like to change

that way, and who knows who, seeing it, will change?

TWO WAYS OF LOOKING AT DISASTER

TWO WAYS OF LOOKING AT DISASTER

1.
It’s a recipe they’ve been cooking up
for ever so long.
Leaf through a shiny magazine,
pore over today’s headlines
and tell me I’m wrong.

They whipped up 
like a glop of imitation cream
the illusion that rich means good, 
then spoonfeed up the iffy dream
that anyone can have it all.

Lesser creatures never matter
birds and forests, air and water.
They keep stirring fast and faster—
cooking up yet more disaster.

2.
Caterpillars ate every leaf
on every oak and moved on
to the popples and pines. 
They poured over one another,
creatures of bristle and hunger,
objects of an inner recipe
that transforms leaves into frass 
and shed skins and cocoons 
of iffy goo and moths and
more caterpillars.
	                Today
the oaks are showing
what can be done.
Every twig, sports a tiny leaf or bud.
Every twig. Every single one.


BEARS

BEARS

1. 
Now come the bears.
They’re everywhere.
They’re fed up with our cars,
our hayfields, our guns and dogs.
They’ve studied our weaknesses.
They remember when we worshiped them,
when they ruled our deepest dreams.
They are hungry again.
They have demands.

2.
"Should you be worried?" 
the media query, their hysteria 
palpable through the screen.
Monkey pox, Autumn surge, 
flood and fire, Putin’s bombs. 
And I answer, No.
Since they are back,
I have a single holy fear—
Will I be eaten by a bear?



the world, the flesh

An unexpected poem.

        the world, the flesh

They did it to me when I was too young
to resist: in my name they renounced 
my skin, my heart, my lungs,
my sex, my brain, my little fingers. 
They renounced my senses, 
my fears, my hungers, my animal urgency.

They renounced the world. 
The deserts and trees, mountains and seas,
everyone who crawls and swims and flies:
denizens of the dirt, tigers and dogs and whales.
They don’t have souls the story goes,
and all that matters is what isn’t.

When the trout lily leaves emerged, 
when the bears came out of their winter dens,
when the buds swelled on the maples,
every spring we remembered our renunciation. 
How strange when the empty tomb
recalls the garden and the flesh. 

I repent. I reclaim all I was taught, 
along with the devil, to renounce. 
Beginning with this patch of ground 
where rotting trunks flower out their fruits,
where robins overturn the unraked leaves
and acorns sprout along the edges of the unmown grass.



Words again: a Story

tunnel

make 

gasp

pound

wave

turkey

blow

haze

 

A STORY

Our grandchildren found a baby bird 

in the driveway. 

What is it?

Where is its Mommy? 

 

In this hazy time 

when every little sorrow strikes a blow,

when the news pummels and pounds,

what is Daddy to do with this scrap of life

gasping in his hand?

 

The mouth of the dark tunnel

has narrowed again.

So many mommies, daddies,

so many lost, so much is lost,

and what sense can we make?

I used to tell myself I was a poet.

 

It’s a little turkey. 

Let’s put it in the long grass by the brook

where sometimes we see them pass. 

We’ll put some corn around for them to find.

Now wave bye-bye.

One way or another, this will resolve.

 

We saw them the next day

he told me. A parade.

Two hens with six poults

and a tom and a hen with one poult

scurrying between them.

The kids agreed that it all worked out fine.

 

We can tell ourselves stories, can’t we?

They all lived happily. . . 

Can’t we tell ourselves stories like that? 

Perspective

PERSPECTIVE

Oak and Ash and Birch breathe their gold.

It sifts through their twigs and branches 

over our cars and lawn furniture.

Oaks and ashes and birches think

life is worth continuing. They want

to make acorns and winged seeds

and tiny cones. They want to make

food for turkeys and squirrels and jays.

If they told you the Council of Trees

had decided to fill this year with abundance,

if they told you they had decided

this was a good year to cover the wounded

Earth with their love, to spread their gold;

if they told you that you, too, could participate,

wouldn’t you say Yes? And here you are!

Every sneeze, every dribble, every gasp,

they tell you, is a price you can pay.

OPEN STUDIO POEM #15

OPEN STUDIO POEM #15

leaves

haven

susurration

possibility

 

When the days lengthen,

the cold strengthens

but the light too grows strong—

apricity on a frozen day.

 

Last fall the young oak kept

its leaves. It stood, susurrating

in the shadow of its mother,

collected light feeding the roots.

 

We live these days

in a haven of possibility.