Saturday, January 19, 2008

Exploding Begonias


—Taylor Graham, Somerset

He says he came here
for the wilderness:
pines and scrub-
lilac in its time,
ephemeral grasses, sky.
Since he settled in
it’s turned
wild on him.

The cabin burned.
Three dry years,
bugs are brushing the pines
brown. Cloud
sets down, snow
so the roads won’t run.
Things go wrong.
He says
he’s leaving for town.

Before last night’s
fall of snow
just yesterday
the first green spades
of lily
shoveled up
from under.

(First appeared in Poetalk)


Thanks, TG! Taylor Graham sent us a poem and wrote to ask what paperwhites are. They're just one of the many forms the narcissistic Narcissus takes, one of the smaller daffodils, with several heads on each stem. They stand out for me because they're among the earliest to appear, and because of their strong scent.

Send your poems and/or photos of flowers, Spring, renewal—all that good stuff—to me at or P.O. Box 762, Pollock Pines, CA 95726 by midnight, Tuesday, Jan. 22, and I'll send you any rattlechap of your choosing, or Katy's calendar.


—Czeslaw Milosz

Transparent tree, full of migrating birds on a blue morning,
Cold because there is still snow in the mountains.


—Czeslaw Milosz

Fog lifted early, I worked in the garden.
Hummingirds were stopping over honeysuckle flowers.
There was no thing on earth I wanted to possess.
I knew no one worth my envying him.
Whatever evil I had suffered, I forgot.
To think that once I was the same man did not embarrass me.
In my body I felt no pain.
When straightening up, I saw the blue sea and sails.



into pastel fireworks at the feet
of the stone Buddha who sits
by the pond. Five-legged

polliwogs still have their
tails: in morning sun they
rise to the surface: watch

the pyrotechnics with under-
water eyes: float on green rafts
of lily pads: drift through pink

and white reflections: wait
to turn truly amphibious—emerge
from one fluid into another—crawl

out and over the roots of the land-
plants into the cool, deep lap
of the Buddha. . .

—Kathy Kieth, Pollock Pines



Medusa encourages poets of all ilk and ages to send their POETRY, PHOTOS and ART, as well as announcements of Northern California poetry events, to (or snail ‘em to P.O. Box 762, Pollock Pines, CA 95726) 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.) Medusa cannot vouch for the moral fiber of other publications, contests, etc. that she lists, however, so submit to them at your own risk. For more info about the Snake Empire, including guidelines for submitting to or obtaining our publications, click on the link to the right of this column: Rattlesnake Press (

SnakeWatch: Up-to-the-minute Snake news:

Rattlesnake Review: The latest issue of Rattlesnake Review (Sweet 16) is available for free at The Book Collector, 1008 24th St., Sacramento, or send $2 to P.O. Box 762, Pollock Pines, CA 95726 and I'll mail you one. Next deadline (for Issue #17, due out in mid-March) is February 15—sooner than you think!

Coming in February: The Snake is still in winter hibernation for January: no readings, no books, no broadsides. Then, on February 13, Rattlesnake Press will roar to life again with a new SnakeRings SpiralChap from Don and Elsie Feliz (To Berlin With Love), plus a new littlesnake broadside from Carlena Wike (Going the Distance), as well as Volume Two of Conversations, B.L. Kennedy's Rattlesnake Interview Series. Come help us launch all of this on Weds., Feb. 13 at The Book Collector, 1008 24th St., Sacramento, 7:30 PM.