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.

Because I have to write something

ANOTHER ZUIHITSU because I have to write something


It’s as if someone is deliberately making things so bad that nobody can stand it. Almost enough to make me believe in the Beast, the AntiChrist, or something like that.


We hoard dark roasted coffee beans in little brown bags in the freezer. I think I have enough now.


I’ve been trying not to look at the news every hour, but I can’t help it. It’s the only way I can participate, living here, in this little green bowl. 


Chipmunks live under the front steps. They scurry out to get food, scurry back in for fear of hawks and weasels and our dog. But they’re never safe from weasels.


A very satisfying conputer game: drag random clusters of jewels into rows and columns on a board laid out in squares. When I place a cluster, I hear a lovely “click.” When I complete a row or column, I hear a very satisfying “ping.” I can’t stop playing this game even though it makes my neck sore.


I had to get coffee beans out of the freezer last night. They were so hard that I couldn’t grind them till this morning. I know that some people don’t like to freeze beans, and some people say one should grind the beans right before brewing, but I don’t care.


I have painted a piece of cardboard with a color called “Tea Room”—one of those small samples of paint available for a dollar at the paint store. When the paint was dry, I drew square tiles with a black marker and installed it in the cardboard box castle we made to illustrate fairy tales for the grandchildren.


The Great Crested Flycatcher sits on a high perch to hunt for insects. If she misses an insect on her first pass, she pursues it in the air. Unless her nestlings object, she offers the whole insect, wings and all. If they do object, she pummels the insect until the offending wings break off.


Many twigs, new-leafed, blew off the trees last night in the wind. When I walked the dog down the driveway early this morniung, I picked them up—at least, most of them—and tossed them back among the trees so they wouldn’t have to dry and turn to dust on the driveway stones.




Since midsummer, fairies with green wings 

twinkle around my eyes all night long. 

They beg me to be invisible, 

offer me fernseed and a cap woven 

of milkweed and thistle fluff. 

The dog is restless when they are in the house, 

and my husband can’t sleep, 

and I can’t explain. The cats 

don’t seem to mind.


Whatever shall we do with realism, 

reason, logic, the sciences that deny 

the way things are? A cloud of demons, 

their sharp laughter, the steadfast angels 

raising their lavender shields. 

Every tree has a soul;  early in the morning

you can hear them singing to the sun. 

Their music wakes the birds. 

Angels are stars, balls of flaming gas. 

Everything is real, but more or less 

than anyone can imagine. 

God is everything. 

Nothing is mutually exclusive.




I have just returned

but before I sleep

I must record.


The moon was dark,

the sky was clouded.

Earthscent was rising


up from the valley

into the cold air

along the ridge.


We came in our silence,

lit the fire in silence. 

When they arrived,


we sang the words

to set them free.

While we waited then


for the flames to die,

while we waited

in our silence


with the long darkness

around us, a pair

of owls called 


from the forest

down in the trees.

A good omen


for the season to come.

The flight home

was uneventful.



~after Emily Carr

Purple pillars and crossings,

fine traceries of lavender 

against blue-black. Just visible

through a window framed 

on the right by a spent

Christmas cactus, a patch of white,

promising gold. 


Where the owl blended 

into the ash at sunset,

there is no owl, 

just a feather-shaded

space where she sat 

regarding the grubby garden 

just out of sight.



Drop your leaves for now.

Stand alone in the cold,

squirrels sheltering

in your hollows.


Under your feet,

forgotten acorns already

swell, each holding

your pattern encased.


Length of day, 

strength of sun, 

depth of rain, 

the air, 


the axe,

your future 


on the world.




Sweet ladies in green, 

whispering secrets, 

flirting with birds, 

drawing sugar from the sky.


Bold ladies in scarlet, 

throwing their favors 

profligate to the winds, 

the soils, the streets.


Skeletons of ladies, 


their knuckles 

in the night.


Generous ladies–

oh how generous!–

filling our mouths 

with blood made of light.



4 little poems


You see what is there:

the dying trees.

What can the sun do?

The wind?



Learn to worship dirt,

to worship water.

Under your feet is

every thing you need.



Do not waste your mind

on the future.

All you have is seed

to plant today.



At the end, abundance

of distinction. Like human

hands, no duplication.

Every loss a loss.

Winter Prompt #13: PRONGS


Winter Prompt #13

We raised our wands and remembered—happiness.

Not easy for us, whose families were marked,

who could do things sometimes with a careless word.


The time Mother made me a chocolate cake

for no reason? Fetching firewood in the forest

with Dad, and he taught me to drive the tractor?


Making love on the stony hilltop, with hawks

floating above us on their way to warmer lands?

I raised my wand again, and again.


All around me those beings of light springing:

deer, otter, fox, crow.  Don’t get mad.  (Easy for you

to say, who can summon the dead.)  Keep trying.


Late that summer night, climbing over the locked gate,

crossing the railroad bridge, silence everywhere,

rounding the darkest corner, fine rain


clinging to the pines, then the circle of light

around the lamp in the parking lot.  Exspecto

again, and from the tip of my brittle pine wand—


(Ah!  That’s why it chose me!)—

a meadow vole rises, carries me

to safety under the long wet grass.



I spat into the tube and sent it off

and now I know:  I descended from a

crabapple tree. A nettle by the river

was my grandfather, but the oak I call

Grandmother is not an ancestor at all.

The snapping turtle I moved from the road,

the wolf spider I met in the garden

scurrying away with her white egg ball,

are second cousins. I am part fox, stillness

on the edge of the meadow. I am part

owl, passing on silent wings. I am thrice

removed from an otter, four times from a deer.

Catbird is my brother—I knew it all along.

We sing the same cobbled-together song.

November Writing Challenge # 13-15

. . . because I’ve been thinking about it for a few days. With sincere apologies to the ghost of Samuel Beckett.



Walker: tall & thin … he has salt & pepper hair … he walks, gazing up & away from the road, always … never looking ahead, behind, or down


SCENE:  A road, with a single evergreen tree just to the left of center.  Bigfoot is sitting on the ground under the tree. Walker enters and stands beside Bigfoot.


8767 (cat typing) Bigfoot:  Nothing to be done.

Walker: Oh, well, but perhaps. . . Have you seen her?

Bigfoot:  No. Have you?

Walker: I have not seen her.

Bigfoot: She is not in the sky. I do not believe that she is in the sky.

Walker: The last time I saw her, she was in the sky. It was a sunny day, a shiny day. Five crows flew together across the road, flying in the same direction. North. The wind was from the south.

Bigfoot: What was she doing then?

Walker: With the crows. She was flying with the crows. Her arms were outstretched and her hair was flying like crow wings.

Bigfoot: Will she come back?

Walker: She will come back, so I am watching for her. All the time I’m watching for her.

Bigfoot:  I, too, am watching. Not in the sky. I am not watching in the sky.

Walker:  Are you happy now?

Bigfoot: Now? No. I am unhappy. Since the wind shifted to the south, I have been unhappy. The south wind carries the scent of oranges, and the scent of oranges always makes me cry.

Walker: Ah yes. Oranges. But is there not a scent of lemon?

Bigfoot:  No lemon. Not yet. Not this time of year. I’ve been thinking about killing myself.

Walker:  Will you do that?

Bigfoot:  Perhaps. Perhaps if I do not see her. Or if I do not see the crows. Or if the wind does not change.

Walker:  The crows will return. I am sure of that. Crows always return. Perhaps they will not be the same crows, but they will be crows,, flying hard through the sky. When the wind changes, you will see that there will be crows.

Bigfoot: Then perhaps I can live.  He stands up.

Walker: Will you go on?

Bigfoot: I might stay here. I might go on. Are you going on?

Walker:  Yes. I am going on. It is time for me to go on. The wind is changing.

Bigfoot:  Is it from the north?

Walker:  No. It is not yet from the north. This wind is from the south west. Tonight, maybe tomorrow, the wind will blow from the north.

Bigfoot: I think the smell of oranges is diminishing.

Walker:  Then perhaps you can live.

Bigfoot: Then perhaps I can live.

Walker:  Are you going on then?

Bigfoot:  I think I am not going on. I think I shall stay here. He sits down. I like this tree. There is an essence of life in this tree.  Perhaps if I stay here she will feel encouraged to return. Or the crows will be encouraged. In the meantime, nothing happens but the scent of oranges diminishing.

Walker:  Perhaps you could go on.

Bigfoot: If I go on, will something happen?

Walker:  Your feet will move. That is something.

Bigfoot:  But is that enough?

Walker: I do not know if that is enough for you. For me it is enough.

Bigfoot: It would not be enough for me. I shall stay. Until the wind changes, I shall stay.

Walker:  Do you have an umbrella?

Bigfoot: I do not have an umbrella. Should I have an umbrella?

Walker: Yes. You should have an umbrella if you will stay until the wind changes.

Bigfoot: For what reason?

Walker: When the wind changes, you may open the umbrella and the changed wind will take you somewhere else.

Bigfoot:  Is something happening somewhere else?

Walker:  Sometimes something is happening.

Bigfoot:  I do not have an umbrella. Perhaps I should go along. He stands.

Walker:  We could look for her together.

Bigfoot:  I could look on the ground and between the trees.

Walker: I will continue to look at the sky. I think she will come from the sky. When the crows return.

Bigfoot: When the wind changes.

Walker:  Yes. Shall we go?

Bigfoot:  Yes. Let’s go.


They do not move.