Monday, May 06, 2013

On the Edge of the World

Cape Hatteras Lighthouse
—Photo by Cynthia Linville, Sacramento

                (After a photo)
—Jeanine Stevens, Sacramento                             
Breeze moves hair
red as cedar.
Texture melds thickness

mid-waist, blunt cut;
each strand slips behind bark,
old as she is young.

Face like porcelain, but eyes
this warm have origins
in Spain.

Driven out by the Inquisition,
then a boat to Izmir,

a friendly government
providing land, a tree
and one goat.

Now centuries later
in California, she traveled
a long way
to lean by this tree. 

Mist loosens dripping sage.
An echo—
Ohlone Indians splitting canoes.

In her Levi jacket, she turns
west and cradles the wind.


—Caschwa, Sacramento

Along Elk Grove Creek there are
precious bodies of water preserved
for various families of waterfowl

In the dry season these are ponds really, 
rather than parts of a moving, flowing stream

mallards waddle, wade, prance, and fly
this way and that way, pausing on the
water to submerge their head, tail straight up

catching a tasty bite near the surface
often with several ducklings close by

Canadian geese congregate with the ducks
like differently named cloud formations
each moving jerkily, deliberately

following the same currents but
answering to a separate calling

and then there are just two egrets, a snowy
white male, and a gray female which the
Canadian geese no doubt see as grey

graceful beyond compare with limited
edition flights that add to their value

workers and family members stream out
of nearby offices and houses,  venturing
on the walkway alongside the creek

where they stop and stare at the waterfowl
who themselves fix a rigid gaze on the people

—Photo by Katy Brown, Davis

—Kathy Kieth, Diamond Springs

Chicks are in! says the sign out front: bright
letters wedged in between the life-sized plastic
horse and giant dog houses. . .  Inside, yellow

and black chicks flutter in a big metal tub: buttery
dandelion-fluffs scratch through fresh wood
shavings as they peep and jostle, lift stubby wings

to the new season. . .  An old man stands over
them, stares down into this wavy sea, this wiggly
quilt of puffy down, dotted with buttons of black

eyes.  He stands there, then slowly reaches his
wrinkled, calloused hand into the sea of open
beaks and upraised wings, reaches down to lift up

all these eager babies. . .

—B.Z. Niditch, Brookline, MA

Glimpsed a worm
by the May Pole
when I marched
in kindergarten
the wrong way
telling the teacher
I'm going to be a poet
but not grow up
and I'm still marching
on marvelous May Day
as the way is righteous
to protect nature
and shelter the animals
when we need
to take broken wingtips
and heal at our bird houses,
our hands are open
for angelic birds and sun
as it is in their sky opening
for us down here
on earth as poet voices
march for
for justice and peace.

Vetch Festooning Native Bunch Grass
—Photo by Taylor Graham

—Taylor Graham, Placerville

All day the father chips rock,
mortars polished fragments together.
The mother shucks thorns, cuts thistle for stew.

Over glittering shards, meteors
plunge to desert; flyaway spider-lines flung
across cavities and craters, a landscape

worn threadbare to boot-shine.
Shall the child of days, newly fallen
to earth as from a sunrise cliff,

go steel-shod under stars?
he outgrows his shoes.


—Taylor Graham

From the garden of reasons
he walked off a marked path,
climbed up to meadow. Voices
of wind piping, of space,
snowmelt finding its way through
white-bloom hellebore.
At first, his tracks followed
him up the flared fan of mountain;
then fell behind as clouds
gathered over summits, the voices
more insistent; rhythm
and throb of distant thunder.
Ocean's duet with shore
audible, miles above sea-level;
voices of stone skulls buried
under layers of time. He followed
his shadow beckoning
beyond small woods, cliffs
opening on the edge of world.
A door.


Our thanks to today's chefs for a fine potpourri of poems and pix! Coupla news items of note:

As always, you should keep an eye on the green and blue boxes at the right of this column for announcements of all kinds of poet-phernalia. Laverne Frith, for example, has two new reviews in the poetry section of the New York Journal of Books. Lynn Hansen of Modesto has a new book out from Quercus Review Press, and will be reading from it soon at The Barkin' Dog. And Patricia Wellingham-Jones of Tehama has a poem posted on Little Eagle's Re / Verse; she gives us a heads-up that this website accepts previously-published poems. I'll let you find these announcements and much more on either the green box or, scrolling down below it, to the blue box.

Barbara March writes: Check out Three Horse Garden (, part of the 30/30 Project, a fund-raising campaign for Tupelo Press. Think of it as a walk-a-thon. I’m one of nine poets nation-wide who've pledged to write a poem a day for thirty days. Tupelo will post them on their website, one per day during May. I’m seeking sponsors to contribute to Tupelo Press and to cheer me on. To learn more about Tupelo and the 30/30 Project go to:

As you know, SnakePal Patricia Hickerson passed away recently. Allegra Silberstein writes that there will be a memorial service for her at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Davis, 27074 Patwin Rd., Davis, on Wednesday, May 29 at 7pm. Save the date.


Today's LittleNip:

—Patricia Pashby, Sacramento

In he flies,
waiting, waiting,
impatiently waiting
for the game to end—

feast of garlic fries.



Berkeley Municipal Pier
—Photo by Cynthia Linville