Thursday, April 25, 2019

The Word Continues

—Poems and Photos by Taylor Graham, Placerville, CA


In the nature of beasts, a donkey
broke free of his fences to forage fields
and woodlots in a season of ice.
Arriving in town, he was caught up
with townsfolk hurrying toward some
unspoken destination. With holly sprig
in his mane from journeying brush
and hedge, he looked a festive beggar
in the rushing crowd. Hooves
up stone steps to an edifice. From its
vestibule he could see the hall a-light
as if with candles but all fluorescent;
exchange of paper, crisp or tattered,
all printed a cheerless green.
Fall of dead leaves, no sweet scent
of growing grass inside the walls.
Donkey keeps moving along


He had a tag on his collar
when you saw him running free, edge
of blacktop, mountain-road dark,
Mars hanging red in the night.
You stopped, wrote down the number
on his tag. And then he
disappeared again into dark of ridge
and canyon where dog-license
has no purchase.
You wake in the night listening
for coyote, cougar, the owl’s wild call.
At dawn you search for dog-
prints in dust. In spite of leash laws
and metal tag,
a dog running free. 

      a Zejel

Beyond the classrooms there’s no fence
where forest rustles every sense

letting kids roam among the pines,
a path that each day realigns
itself, shifting shadow designs
where forest rustles every sense.

And here’s a tepee, built in style
of who lived such a long-long while
ago, for musings that beguile
where forest rustles every sense

and there’s a hobby horse to ride
imagination, right beside
the tepee. Questions still abide
where forest rustles every sense.


Someday the woman across the road
will no longer appear in her muck-out boots
to pitch hay to her sorrel mare, who
will be long gone; and the dark curly-headed
man will be gone too, with his shepherd-
dog who loves to chase sticks over grass
by the frog-pond. But wild turkeys still
find paths down the hill’s rocky backside,
where yesterday I found three
savaged turkey eggs and an empty nest,
and the raccoon, the skunk, the fox—long
gone—will still be hungry for a fresh
nest of wild turkeys still surviving.


A twig sticks out of the nest-box entrance hole. I can’t look inside to count eggs or birdlings when they hatch. But that twig tells me it’s a wren nest packed so full, I couldn’t see anything but jackstraw twigs if I peeked inside. I’ll catch surmises if I see the wren bobbing in and out of the box carrying more twigs to fortify—conceal—her nest of eggs, her babies safe from being caught by a jay, a snake, a cat.

soon, glimpse of young wrens
on the woodpile, and phrases
of sweet bubbling song


A smoking pile, a fallen spire
on the other side of the globe—a world
in mourning.
Decades ago, I lugged my suitcase
heavy with Royal manual portable, study-
year abroad; sidewalks
from train station to Métro, great historic
sites. Stone wings
and sleepless gargoyles,
a holy flame inside the cathedral.
Its towers. Quasimodo. Could an inspired
pen ensure immortality?
Yesterday I sat at my Royal 
on another sidewalk, keystroke by heavy
keystroke composing poems
for passersby.
The word continues. What brings a world
back together, if only briefly? Loss.
Must spirit catch fire,
disperse like ash over the countryside?
What remains? Rebuilding,
telling the story again,
with a new chapter. Faith, hope, love.
In our selves, the brightest flame.

Today’s LittleNip:

    for Margaret

I with litter-bags, my dog with saddlebags,
she with her horse and 12 pack mules—
hauling trash out of the wilderness.


—Medusa, with a warm spring thank-you to Taylor Graham for the wilderness she brings to the Kitchen today, this week of the Earth Mother!

 House Wren Nest
—Anonymous Photo

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.