Friday, March 11, 2011

...And Wings To Fly...

Nancy Norton

—Nancy Norton, Healdsburg

A slumbering bumblebee
rests in the sunny cup of a shocking pink Zinnia
within a fence of yellow star stamens,
kicks legs—a black-bristled dog
turns over at the prod of a girl god
keeping all five eyes closed,
dreaming galaxies of pollen-studded blossoms,
atmospheres so thick with nectar honey
that this bee swoons ever back
to buzzy, leg-kicking slumber.


Thanks to Nancy Norton, Pat Hickerson, and Ron Lane for today's contributions! Nancy Norton finds poems and stories during the quiet moments of her life in transit, in flight and in the wee hours of the night. Independent newspapers in Kansas City and Northern California have published Nancy’s nonfiction and reviews of movies and theater. Her one-act play, All in a Day’s Work, won first prize in the NVC Jessamyn West Contest. Her poetry has appeared in CALYX, The Comstock Review, Susan B & Me, a book of women’s writing and photography and online at, and Nancy is working on a collection of poetry and short stories as a continuing student at the Whidbey Writers Workshop.

Here are some more "tree-ish" poems from Nancy, appropriate-enough to California Arbor Day which runs from March 7-14 [see yesterday's post]. Then we have a noir poem from Pat Hickerson, celebrating our Seed of the Week: Strangers on a Train, and a photo-poem from Ron Lane, celebrating, well, spring, which officially starts next week. (Don't forget to set your clocks ahead this Sunday for Daylight Savings Time!) Watch for work from all three of these poets in the upcoming second issue of The Ophidian (O2), due out in April.


         —after “The Freeze” by Joe Stroud
—Nancy Norton

Look at the bone yard
look at this acre
of trunks laid low
by the press of progress
slabs of wood
piled high as a house
earth stained black
with the life blood of
walnut redwood live oak

that once marched
across valleys
flattened by a stampede
of sterile suburbs
one lifetime
of rampant greed
stamped across the land
crushing sacred forests

Look at the
tree bones
tossed into trucks
hauled away
to feed trivial fires
centuries of land memory
dialogues with the sky
in an ember glow

in a cloud of spirits
as if
the Pomo Indians
of Clear Lake Massacre
in a Ghost Dance
igniting dreams
of desiccated earth
drenched in dried blood


—Nancy Norton

It’s a lime green, the kind of green
on which white butterflies alight.
A lite green, as opposed to army green,
with its deadly wash of gray;
as opposed to deep forest green,
with black shadows at its heart.

It’s a green veil screening
girls baring feet, legs, shoulders
for the first time this year;
the green of tender leaves
fluttering in delight
at the warm breeze,
exhaling pure oxygen
in clouds at the sky.


—Nancy Norton

The Queen Anne’s Lace is all stitched up in white
blue Fairy’s Wands are rattling out next year’s
offspring in the hands of enchanted children
bunches of ruffled Daisies have fallen over
exhausted at their crowded summer dance
the Sweet William vanished in a fruitless profusion
of strawberry plants now withered to brown
the peaches are large but sparse on the tree
there is just one more ripe each afternoon.


—Patricia Hickerson, Davis

“From London to Edinburgh
is as far as I go,”
said the jolly old gent
in the red plaid tam o’
as he swilled down the vodka
the scotch and the gin
and peered at the strangers
with an ear-splitting grin.
They all thought he was crazy
but humored the dog
and whiled away the hours
through rain and through fog.

By the time they reached Scotland
they’d had quite enough;
they seized him by necktie,
pulled him up by the scruff;
“Out you go,” they all hollered,
threw him out of the train.
He ne’er knew what happened
so soft was his brain.

So next time you go
through the dark countryside
mind you don’t drink too much
by sobriety abide.


Today's LittleNip:

Endless blue skies
Time to rest
And wings to fly

—Photo and poem by Ronald Edwin Lane, Colfax