Thursday, March 20, 2014

The Dandelion of Easy Plains

Blink Admires the Bushtit
—Poems and Photos by Taylor Graham, Placerville


The thinnest glass between cat
and bird; between bushtit and his own
reflection in the window.
Tiny bird I’ve only seen in gossipy
flocks—but spring changes
everything. All afternoon that little
nondescript bird
peck-pecks solo/lovelorn at the glass
by my computer as I
tap-tap words for spring
and Blink our cat lusts to grab him
beak and feathers—this bird
gone mad to kill the enemy/himself.
The thinnest glass holds them
invisibly apart, and safe from spring’s
raw passion to spring.



Four sky-blue eggs
in a nestbox on field-fence; I note
WEBL (Western Bluebird) in the logbook.
We move on. Swallow babies
have fledged from box #5. While you
watch them soaring for bugs above the green,
I sit down in deep spring grasses.
Purple brodiaea and golden fiddle-neck
in bloom—a lovely, hazy-warm
morning. I open the binder to make my
notes. Feel something odd
between shorts-cuff and gaiters.
I’m sitting on a small
snake. You come to look.
“Let’s take it home, put it in our garden.
Gopher snakes are good.”
“What about these tiny rattles?
and the pit-viper head?”
It’s just a baby, and didn’t seem to take
offense—not like the other rattlers
I’ve met on this bluebird-trail. We leave it
to its lovely warm spring morning.



That land’s stunted in its womb, pressing
out rock like shell casings, eroded
by floods down the tilted creek; thin-skin
soil for unthrifty oaks on twisted roots.
Man’s no more than the dandelion
of easy plains, a break of willow.
I seek the borderland gap for coyote
dark before dawn, and night
looses its imperfect span of silence.
Now the small hawk screams low,
chasing plumes of sky. Reality’s angel-
choir, invisible birds start singing
from the wind’s scroll. Bone, rock, sinew,
and soul hold what the flesh won’t.   



It started out by hammering. Hard, aching
work with a sing-song refrain.
His arms developed rhythm like an urge
to speak; each hammer-stroke a syllable
wishing to become a word. The ache
moved muscle to brain, accents colliding
with each other, German with Spanish,
Latin, Old Provençal. His head throbbed
gibberish, nursery-rhymes in tongues
he’d never heard, playing leapfrog
with English. Sleep came hard, broken by
hypnagogic startles. One morning he
woke, hair at attention, reaching for sky-
messages, words out of dream, the hammer-
stroke rhythm demanding dance and
song. No matter the words, call it a poem.



what they call the sterility
of winter, someone lit a thousand
white candles on the rhubarb we planted
last summer. And o the green
contours of clover covering the ground!
In this garden there is no fall
from good graces.
No more gunshy at the crack of dead
branches—now I must rifle
through a thesaurus
just for the words of this morning.


Today's LittleNip:

Spring is nature's way of saying, "Let's party!"

—Robin Williams


—Medusa, thanking Taylor Graham for today's sumptuous fare, and wishing us all the best of the Vernal Equinox!

Rhubarb at the Graham's