Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Hum of Bugs, Cluck of Hen

Bee with Red Legs
—Photo by Katy Brown, Davis

—Tom Goff, Carmichael

Tennyson…the murmuring of innumerable bees.
Hmmm…all those bees, amid the bending stems,
buzzing in the poppies’ buttery cups, but—innumerable?
Unnumbered by me, here drowsing prone in grasses
among sussurations and simperings of the tree-breeze,
tree-breeze, fig-breeze and almond-breeze
because minus bough and branch
the stir and whir of the murmurous light wind
brigade passes unmarked, since unmurmured
or muttered of.

Let’s see…back to the innumerable bees bumbling,
no, the bumbler is innumerate me, fumbling
with dumb fingers the count, though finger-counting
once was my forte, fingering and muttering
half-mutely-uttered numbers, humblingly mum
to me since never even my mom spoke to me
of sweet numbers, no, not if numbers
meant poetry…


—Michael Cluff, Highland, CA

I is mad at A
and all those
who took
their vows, even Y
and sometimes X
but most especially U
for taking A to C
to decide if R and U
were splitting her off from Q
her constant love since the
Gothic 8 replaced 2 as a couple
with W
the double U
that upset I in the first place.

Yet trying to
split LMNOP up
is the hardest task of all
as I and U
had fought over for many centuries
especially since Z
is always the laggard
A or even B
and D, G, T and V,
(well V maybe V) will never be.


—Michael Cluff

On the other sides
of hotel walls
the noise of people
you will probably never meet
intrigues so much
one may put
clear drinking glass to ear
and drink in what
one cannot normally discern
or hear.

A surprise may be in store
or disguise even repulsion
but I always hope
it will be something
kindly disposed
towards my various kinds
or even, just maybe,
yes ‘lil ole' me.


(for Julian May, after her Galactic Milieu Series)
—Ann Wehrman, Sacramento

sounds that are not sounds, but thoughts,
just at the edge of my awareness,
emotions, expressions, prejudices
ideas, passions, fears, plans, subterfuge,
what my neighbor is thinking
what the girl down the hall wants to do
what her boyfriend feels
what the old woman in 301 wishes
would happen to everyone so that
she could get some sleep

these thoughts are feathers
smudges, unclear, persistent, human
softer than tinnitus buzzing in aging ears
more real, needier, more unsettling

do I try to bring one, or all, into focus
or shut them out, just live my own life?
the question is moot—
were I to lose the hand at the end of my arm
I would still feel its phantom presence, phantom pain
alone, walking through my days and nights
I still sense your thoughts, feelings
still share mine with you


—Taylor Graham, Placerville

Here's your proof of day-labor—
brass cast into bells at the foundry—
its crucible dreaming now in embers.
Beyond the door, the crossroads
for this evening-moment
deserted, remembering the creak
of wheels, tattoo of hooves, voices
of tradesmen—echo of a murmur now.
A little farther down the road,
squash and corn are ripening, a kitchen
garden almost hushed of bees. Soon,
vapor will be rising from the river.
It's your time for words. On this
evening, you might be translating
Eibenholz, the yew tree, come
to English through Proto-Germanic,
borrowed from Gaulish—all those
distant whispers on the tongues
of time and wind.


—Taylor Graham

in-house with hum of bugs,
a furred purr, and
out the window, thrumming
bird, and cluck of hens
mulling mulch under shrubs,
fluff and dust, slugs in muck,
snuff-huff of Boog (a dog),
mosquito-mumb unmuffled,
no hush, but luff of lungs,
chuff of blood, all sounds
that rush and hubbub brain
upside the skull, vowels
that burst and gust
against palate, unfurl
tongue murmuring our
Ur-lust words to sing
the unsung.


Today's LittleNip: 

Love: Where I erase myself.

—Stephen Dobyns



Thanks to today's contributors (our Seed of the Week is "Murmurous"), and to Brigit Truex for sending us a clue about where she was featured yesterday—yet another cool resource for publishing poets. And yes, that includes YOU!

Butte Meadows Man
—Photo by Katy Brown