Tuesday, January 24, 2006

For the Birds

—Lara Gularte

She follows ghost ruts of extinct wagon roads,
finds her husband, her mother, her baby.
They make their way single file
along the night trails of her memory.

Bent to the ground with age,
with the death of everyone she knows,
she walks slowly over the pasture.
Near a stand of oaks
through vein work of branches,
the sky sends signals to her eyes.

In a field wrapped by drooping barbed wire
where death perches on fence posts
she goes down on her knees,
with the wild mustard and gopher holes.

The snake tenses its muscles
as she waits,
on the other side of cold grass.


Thanks, Lara! Lara is one of the North Valley poets who have kindly sent poems for the next issue of Rattlesnake Review, due out in March (deadline Feb. 15). This issue will include lots of work from the poets of Chico and points north, including the Skyway Poets. Tune in to see some glorious poetry from people who live in the "upper end" of California.

Northenders are lucky to live near the bird sanctuaries up there, and this is the time of year to see all our feathered friends. This weekend, for example, is the Snow Goose Festival (1/27-29) at the Chico Masonic Family Center, 1101 W. East Ave., Chico. Sign up for more than three dozen field trips and workshops offered by the organizers of this family-friendly seventh annual event. Info: 530-345-1865 or www.snowgoosefestival.org.

Or this same weekend, head down to Mare Island for the San Francisco Bay Flyway Festival, featuring sunrise and sunset marsh tours and walking tours of the naval shipyard. The event is based in Bldg. 897 at Mare Island, near Vallejo. Info: 707-649-9464 or www.sfbayflywayfestival.com. This weekend is for the birds!

—Alfred, Lord Tennyson

He clasps the crag with crooked hands;
Close to the sun in lonely lands,
Ringed with the azure world, he stands.
The wrinkled sea beneath him crawls;
He watches from his mountain walls,
And like a thunderbolt he falls.


—F.S. Flint

Under the lily shadow
and the gold
and the blue and mauve
that the whin and the lilac
pour down on the water,
the fishes quiver.

Over the green cold leaves
and the rippled silver
and the tarnished copper
of its neck and beak,
toward the deep black water
beneath the arches,
the swan floats slowly.

Into the dark of the arch the swan floats
and into the black depth of my sorrow
it bears a white rose of flame.


—Carl Sandburg

Let the crows go by hawking their caw and caw.
They have been swimming in midnights of coal miners somewhere.
Let 'em hawk their caw and caw.

Let the woodpecker drum and drum on a hickory stump.
He has been swimming in red and blue pools somewhere hundreds of years
And the blue has gone to his wings and the red has gone to his head.
Let his red head drum and drum.

Let the dark pools hold the birds in a looking-glass.
And if the pool wishes, let it shiver to the blur of many
wings, old swimmers from old places.

Let the redwing streak a line of vermilion on the green wood lines.
And the mist along the river fix its purple in lines of a
woman's shawl on lazy shoulders.



Medusa encourages poets of all ilk and ages to send their poetry and announcements of Northern California poetry events to kathykieth@hotmail.com for posting on this daily Snake blog. Rights remain with the poets. Previously-published poems are okay for Medusa’s Kitchen, as long as you own the rights. (Please cite publication.)