Thursday, September 20, 2018

Spirit Lifting

—Poems and Photos by Taylor Graham, Placerville, CA

    a found poem   

What blows up and away?
a flurry of leaves blinding fish,
arrows in the forest.
Wind & the rain ladder, pine branches
 measure time.
A tick of light refracting on water
to the shore.
What drives all creatures—
feathers and color,
shape, the loss of nothing.


at the slightest breeze
pepper tree dances in her
amber-golding leaves

hummingbird shadow
in privet, its flowers gone
quick as illusion

between cloudy dawn
and walking back up the steps
a spatter of rain


The full September moon is rising
swollen over our parched foothills field—
a harvest moon quite near to bursting.

Moon, agency of change. Imagine
ocean groaning with its green tides,
but that’s so far away. Here, tiny frogs
in their yellow britches are singing

in a watered garden to the harvest
moon. And in the kitchen, a cat’s-cradle
spiderweb hangs silver in moonlight,
the silver spider waiting for a moth,

waiting patiently for harvest, O moon.


Autumn’s coming, time for the eggs
of Argiope aurantia to hatch. The common
black and yellow garden spider, zipper spider,
writing spider. I think my garden’s too dry,
too prosaic for such a creature. I haven’t seen
a single web in our garden, much less one
written with white silk in bold zigzag lines
of M, W, V, maybe even Z. Stabilimenta
is our human term, but who knows Argiope
describes her script. It’s a writing foreign
to my garden. Surely I’d notice a large brightly
colored spider sitting in the center of her
written web, waiting for her spiderlings to
appear, to write their own life webs.  

    a found poem

Frogs are known for magical properties—
a frog might be carrying a spell or a curse.

Students released them into the wild,
a variety of buttercup known as frog’s foot.

You can tell the weather by the color of a frog.
A frog croaking at midnight means rain;
croaking during the day, coming storms.

A dried frog in a pouch will prevent seizures,
a live frog in your mouth will cure thrush.

Think how tadpole transforms to frog,
an awakening, a leap into your creative power.
It’s a bad idea to kill a frog.


Sundown, a soft ticking from the oaks as I pass the wellhouse. My dog’s off checking another critter hole, ground squirrel burrow, the whole field’s riddled. What do they eat, this withered time of year? And what’s that ticking, lisping from edge of oaks? A rush/flush of wings, there they go, a flock—bushtits! Tiny nondescript insect-eaters I can’t ID by sight, just behavior. West beyond our hill of oaks, brilliant orange & blue striped sunset. Overhead, cloudless sky. Do bushtits forecast weather by western stripes of cloud? They must be headed for a night-tree. Almost fall, the nights are cool.

these tiny drab birds
invisible in a tree
huddled with their flock

Today’s LittleNip:

—Taylor Graham

silver glint of sun
falling, a leaf—no, white moth
spiraling down, up
on September air, spirit
lifting which still will not fall


Our thanks to Taylor Graham for today’s fine poems and photos of that which she found in the foothills! Today at noon, Third Thursdays poetry read-around meets at the Central Library; then tonight there is a choice of Poetry Unplugged at Luna’s Cafe in Sacramento at 8pm, or Valerie Wallace and Carol Lynn Grellas (plus open mic) at John Natsoulas Gallery in Davis, also 8pm. Scroll down to the blue column (under the green column at the right) for info about these and other upcoming poetry events in our area—and note that more may be added at the last minute.


 What blows up and away?
—Anonymous Photo
(Celebrate poetry!)

Photos in this column can be enlarged by clicking on them once,
then click on the X in the top right corner to come back
to Medusa.