Thursday, April 04, 2019

Grab a Hat and Go!

 —Poems and Photos by Taylor Graham, Placerville, CA


This evening, deer-brush lilac’s all in bloom
so briefly fragrant, it could knock you down.
A ridgetop breeze is sweeping its soft broom.
You signed the papers miles from there, in town.

So briefly fragrant it could knock you down—
the past you loved, the oaks, that land you leave.
You signed the papers miles from there, in town,
you’ll learn to smile at this departure’s eve.

The past you loved—the oaks, a land you leave
to find the place where you’ll begin again—
and learn to smile at this departure’s eve.
Is there a word that signifies amen,

we’ll find a place where we begin again?
A ridgetop breeze is sweeping its soft broom.
Is there a word that signifies amen
this evening, deer-brush lilac all in bloom?


Which hat this morning?
Stiff or floppy? Maybe the dead-straw
garden hat with brim as wide as front pasture,
where poppies will burst from winter
under a broad green band.
Not too much protection from Sun!
Light teases water out of storm-drenched
earth, transforms it to grass and clover
and twining vetch—she wonders
how that particular shade of shadow-blue
would become her? Or maybe the plain brown
of just-turned soil that goes so well
with any kind of green. Choices, choices.
She feels the druid stirring. Grab a hat and go.


On top shelf front closet:
1 shearling trapper cap, 1 mesh safari hat,
1 waterproof western hat, 1 legítimo Sahuayo,
1 canvas rainhat; 1 hardhat—forest or disaster

Ball-cap hanger on back of utility door:
22 ball-caps assorted colors; sample logos:
K-9 Training Seminar; Mountain Bluebird
Trails; Professional Rodeo Cowboys;
ShopSmith; California Native Plant Society;
Tree Swallows Fly

Chair by front door, ready-to-go:
1 straw cowboy hat, 1 felt Stetson, 1 canvas
safari hat, 2 ball-caps: 1 white Graham Canyon
Ranch, 1 orange Search & Rescue Volunteer,
1 OD wool watch-cap; also a pair of rough-out
chaps & a 4-string banjo


That ageless house by the side of country road, half hidden behind rock wall and hedge—it meant good fortune if I caught a glimpse, driving by. Imagine a farmer’s home with girls in straw hats sitting on the porch, the youngest hanging from a lower branch of the big sycamore. A four-square house settled on its piece of land forever unchanging. Each child in straw hat an imago not yet flown, spring blossoms caught under hatband, a ribbon iridescent as bluebird in flight. Yesterday I drove that way. The hedge was gone, the sycamore a skeleton holding its bone-arms up to cloudy sky. Why? Not one leaf left. I drove on by.

every dragonfly
along the way was gone, and
gone the pure blue sky


Dark as a bruise in morning light,
Raven: watchful bar-tender by the creek.
Every winter, water digs its own tomb
in sand-spits graveled over by storm.
Overhead scream of Hawk—
no small life escapes. It’s not Raven’s job.
Druid-stone mossy on its shadow-side—
omen for the eclectic seeker of such sign.
Raven’s found a golden prize—
Ogre Tree Fungus?—a leap of faith:
good grows out of ugly.
For the moment, Raven’s done
with sandbar tending.
He paces like a Human wondering
what to do with his treasure.

          for Cindy

Wind is up again for spring,
wild wind, to fly away her hair.
Horses are part of her blood.

A wild wind sets hair flying
and mane over new green grass,
acres of meadow and trail,

windy mane over green grass
and then untrodden forest paths.
She knew every hidden corner

and the untrodden forest paths
that urged her on, deeper woods
where she could lose herself—

urged on by deeper woods
but there she was never lost,
her horse steady beneath her.

Oh, she could never be lost
to sky and God’s green earth
as wind blows time away.

Acres of meadow and trail,
her horse steady beneath her—
she knew every hidden corner
where she could lose herself
as wind blows time away.
Horses are part of her blood.

Today’s LittleNip:

—Taylor Graham

If pigeons drove the owl from its barn,
shall we invoke Merlin Pigeon-Hawk
to magic the intruders away?
Can he transform them back again to owl?

Let the old hay-door open its mouth
to speak that emptiest word of Night:


Thank you, thank you, Taylor Graham for starting our morning off in the Kitchen with your usual fine poems and pix!

It seems like I’ve made more than the usual number of mistakes lately; the latest was on Sunday, when I spelled Mary Oliver’s name wrong in the caption of her picture! Ouch. It’s bad enough to spell ANYbody’s name wrong, but when you’re trying to pay tribute to someone…  Anyway, I apologize to all of you sitting around the Kitchen table, and especially to Michael Brownstein for besmirching his wonderful post/poem.

Head across the Causeway tonight to John Natsoulas Gallery in Davis to hear The Poets’ Quartet, 8pm; or go to Luna’s Cafe in Sacramento for Poetry Unplugged, with featured readers and open mic, also 8pm. Scroll down to the blue column (under the green column at the right) for info about these and other upcoming poetry events in our area—and note that more may be added at the last minute.

Some last-minute additions to the calendar, three from MoSt, the lively Modesto-Stanislaus Poetry Center ( The first is this coming Friday, a reading at Modesto Jr. College from 6-8pm; see Then on Sunday, Ladies of the Knight will read at Carnegie Arts Center in Turlock (sponsored by MoSt, at And on Tuesday (4/9), Second Tuesday at the Barkin’ Dog in Modesto will present readers from the 16 Rivers Poetry Collective, 6-8pm ( Be sure to take a look at MoSt’s excellent website and the many activities they present, including some charitable projects. And all in the name of poetry!

Closer to home, starting this week, Sac. Poetry Center will be offering its MarieWriters Generative Writing Workshop on Wednesdays AND Fridays throughout April, National Poetry Month. Celebrate National Poetry Month with a new poem!


 Deer Brushing on Lilac (or is that deerbrush...?)
—Anonymous Watercolor

Photos in this column can be enlarged by
clicking on them once, then clicking on the x
in the top right corner to come back to Medusa.