—Taylor Graham, Placerville
First day of spring.
The world was wild, bright with new
my dog was sleep-walking
on the trail, sniffing grass that's never
always been so green. An old dog,
full of dreams.
“Track Cathy!” I reminded him, again.
He stopped and shook
his head as if to clean out cobwebs,
memory, the spirits of sleep—
fully awake, searching frantic
for the trail he'd missed,
he led me under oaks to a grassy knoll.
There, a slab of rock
with three smooth holes that held
just enough rainwater
for a dog to drink.
Bedrock mortar, grinding-stone
of people gone long ago;
holes full of nothing but new spring-rain
and years and years of leaf-fall,
water for an old dog in his sleep-
OUT OF THE DARK
the neighbor's peacock?
as from the east
a stock-prod of light
stuns, explodes in rays
sudden as forsythia—
the overwintered sun?
What hex-sign can save us?
Spring is a bitch
coyote with new pups famished
for milk, herself famished for meat
to make the milk, our sheep
grazing pasture that will never
be so lush in summer.
Spring is my sheep dashing from field
to lawn and past the gate, coyote
fast behind them disappearing
in sable shadow. Spring is a brief
wild time of disappearances.
—Katy Brown, Davis
A scarf of clouds over Stone Mountain tonight
Do you remember when we danced in the meadow:
On the eve of equinox tonight I think of you,
Perhaps it is like this: the image fading and fading
shadows swirl over emerging grass.
—D.R. Wagner, Elk Grove
When we entered the compound
We were shown to the rooms
Near the playgrounds and the ponds.
There were a variety of rare ducks
Swimming and the morning had a most
Beautiful sunrise about it, green and violet,
The softest of pinks and golds.
We were led to where the center for sleep
Was located. It was here that the researchers
Said that had found the lost hour.
This is where the children were
When we entered. They were
Floating fog-like just above their sleeping mats.
This seemed impossible.
“They are all dreaming a common dream,”
The shorter of the two men told us.
He wore strange eyeglasses in which
The frames around the lenses seemed
To be a constant motion of color.
“When they do this, the world changes.”
“Those ducks you saw coming in, indeed,
The pond they were swimming on isn’t
Really there,” he said, letting his hand
Float above the sleeping bodies of the children.
“Time is so much longer in the very young.
They can easily create such places as this.
This is the first time however, we have seen
Them float like this. We hypothesize
This happens often. We further believe
That if enough children share a common
Dream it will remain for a substantial time
In the waking world. We call this 'The Lost Hour'
By now, the children were waking. They had settled
Back down to the floor upon their sleeping mats.
“Look outside at the pond and the ducks now.”
We opened the door and looked out the door.
A gray, slightly foggy morning was in progress.
The pond, the ducks, the beautiful colors of dawn
Were flickering, strobe-like in the air. They disappeared.
“The Lost Hour,” the taller researcher said. "Live in it.”
Like the Spirit of Love felt everywhere;
And each flower and herb on Earth's dark breast
Rose from the dreams of its wintry rest.
—Percy Bysshe Shelley