Friday, March 06, 2020

Reports from the Wild Garden

—Poems and Photos by Taylor Graham, Placerville, CA


Through his windshield he gazes past the green
of forest ridges to the snowy peaks.
He used to walk there. Yes, he’s been, he’s seen.
Through his windshield, he gazes past the green
of farmland, city, all that comes between.
After long life, what is it he still seeks?
Through his windshield he gazes past the green
of forest ridges to the snowy peaks….


Who’s crowned with horns to do a cloven dance
atop a gouged-out hill those miners left?
The king of wasteland. No old-time romance,
but high above the town he guards his cleft.

Just a gone-wild Goat
living free on that scrubby hill
we ruined. Oh, but they say
there’s still gold there.

And so a Goat must guard his throne as if
Man might lay further waste to good wasteland.
What’s left of time and space for a wild Goat
who’s crowned with horns to do a cloven dance?



She makes gardens of everything—
a patch of pasture fenced below
the solar panels, waiting spring
while chill winds through the grasses blow

and soil’s to turn for her to sow.
She makes gardens of everything.
The shadow of a passing crow
recalls the bounty summers bring.

An old straw bonnet of sunlit wing
with a green sprig—oregano—
she makes gardens of everything,
though frost is what these mornings know

and not much blooms but afterglow.
The words of harvest poems sing
like plumping peppers row on row.
She makes gardens of everything.


The last skeleton tomato-vine is gone
from the garden. Time to pull winter weeds
and turn soil. A cool ghost-breeze rises.
Thin as sapling willow, an old woman wanders
the land. Dead these dozen years, she’s
looking for her garden, transplanted as her oaks
grew too tall, shadowing the rows.
She tips her bonnet against slant of cold sun.
Are ghosts so sensitive to sunlight?
I’d ask her what to plant this year,
but she’s gone, rummaging her old rose
garden. It’s too shady now. too.

           Wakamatsu Farm

A late-February hike—you in boots and
ballcap for a bonnet, two
cameras to record what’s thriving or—
dead junco by the trail.
Except the flowering trees, only
filaree’s in bloom this chilly morning.
Green is everywhere.
How buckeye saplings have grown
in all directions from the mother tree!
Just now, new seeds sprouting,
kingdom of buckeye rising. And wild
lettuce lush under oaks; gold
miners ate it to ward off scurvy in Forty-
niner days. They were busy here—
off to our left, they dug and ditched,
piled rocks, ripped off topsoil, a
quandary of watershed they left. Land
restores itself as it can. Here, fresh
scat on the trail—fox, coyote—
telltale black fur, what prey is that?
“unknown” in your notes so
very meticulous. Under boardwalk, is
water still in the creek? We need
X-amount of rain to get out of drought.
Yet the land survives, starting from
zero, or from right here.


Gray cat cavorting
on loose dirt at critter-hole—
pause and listen, sniff,
roll around in ecstasy—
is this dust bath or war dance?

Today’s LittleNip:

—Taylor Graham

look under the oaks,
miners lettuce everywhere—
green elf umbrellas


Our thanks to Taylor Graham for this March garden report from the wilds of Placerville! Today she sends us forms that include a Triolet, Dorsimbra, Quatern (“March's Straw Bonnet”) and Abecedarian (alphabet poem), plus Haiku & Tanka—all from that hand of hers that’s so nimble with forms.

For up-coming poetry events in our area, scroll down to the blue column (under the green column at the right) for info—and note that more may be added at the last minute.


It’s time for more contributions from Form Fiddlers! Each Friday for awhile, there will be poems posted here from some of our readers using forms—either ones which were mentioned on Medusa during the previous week, or whatever else floats through the Kitchen and the perpetually stoned mind of Medusa. If these instructions are vague, it's because they're meant to be. Just fiddle around with some forms and get them posted in the Kitchen.

This week, Carol Louise Moon sends us a Triversen, the triple-verse-sentence which is a poetry form created by William Carlos Williams. Each stanza equals one sentence, approximating a breath-length. Each sentence breaks into three phrases. The poem totals 18 lines. Second and third lines of each stanza are indented. Check it out at OR

(Lewis Turco’s
The Book of Forms (Revised and Expanded) is a long-time favorite resource for forms. It’s available on Amazon.)

Here is Carol Louise’s Triversen:

—Carol Louise Moon, Placerville, CA

I wonder at you
  wondering where the bees
    will land in our garden.

I note your small hand
  held by your otherhand
    to hold yourself back.

You tuck your excitement
  of discovery and awe
    just below your chin.

I watch your eyes move
  to move the bee to a
    flower of your choosing.

Your pursed mouth pouts,
  your chin drops to your chest
    showing disappointment.

Your eyes glance my way,
  pleading to follow the bee.
    We rise from our knees.


Shingle Springs Poet Sue Crisp says she’s “found myself addicted to writing in the Shadorma form. It’s simple and has a nice ebb and flow to the lines.” We've talked about it in the past; Shadorma is a Spanish 6-line syllabic poem of 3/5/3/3/7/5 syllable lines respectively. Here are three Shadormas from Sue:

—Sue Crisp

She looked back,
No, there was no trace.
No footprint,
No bent grass,
As though no one had passed through.
She left no shadow.

* * *

—Sue Crisp

Head bent low,
Sun streaking her hair
With hints of
Auburn hues,
Sifting through sand for treasures
Missed by other hands.

* * *

—Sue Crisp

Head held high,
Nose testing the air,
No scent found,
A good sign.
Now her fawns can come forward
And graze on the green grass.

* * *

Also, as Sue says, "you can link multiple Shadorma (shadormas? shadormae?)", as in her example below:

—Sue Crisp

She throws birds
at the school children
on playgrounds
made of steel
who run intense spirals to
the chain-link fencing.

Sad teachers
watch as they spiral
into air
like reverse
helicopter seeds searching
for their maple trees.


Sue also send us a Rannaicheacht Ghairid (ron-a'yach cha'r-rid). See for the design of this form: 

—Sue Crisp

Little bug
living in my mother’s hat,
have you no where else to go?
Oh, I know mom would like that.

You cannot
stay here in your secret spot.
There is danger if you stay.
Easy prey, you will be caught.

Go somewhere
you will have space to share.
A place to be safe and sound.
A space found by the old stair.

Somewhere dark,
very cool, a little stark.
Find others there of your kind,
of like mind, little bug.


We keep talking about all these Irish and Welsh forms; here is a site that talks about the history of poetry and forms in Ireland:

Bumfuzzled by rhymes? Check out Daily Writing Tips ( for a good explanation of different types of rhyme.

Speaking of rhymes, here are two sonnets from Carl “Caschwa” Schwartz:

—Caschwa, Sacramento, CA

there was a man from Limerick who wrote
about two thousand people on a cruise
that tossed and turned and failed to stay afloat
no cares from that because there was free booze
oh no! I fear you won’t embrace my hug
unsteady as I am upon my feet
a faster tempo lets us cut a rug
you’re good, I know that you won’t miss a beat
so won’t you come and join me in the sea?
the view is great, untouched by human hands
we’ll spend some time together, you and me
and dance beside the ever playing bands
atop a rock we’ll sit and wait for help
if no one comes, at least there’s always kelp

* * *


the end of the book seemed far away from here
to skip a page or two would show more gold
the sense and gist would only disappear
as news that’s left unlit, below the fold
a tale not fully read can still be told
such tomes stack tall in every town’s library
your brain won’t grow each time a joint is rolled
besides, it’s fun to keep some facts contrary
put down the book, we’ve no more time to tarry


Today’s Bonus LittleNip(s) for Fiddlers Everywhere!


there is a free parking zone for
poems born, but never aged, the
hearse will stop here every day,
never have to feed the meter, and
the rhyming police only fire blanks

* * *


I received a message from
a carrier pigeon recently
saying that technical support
for Old English was about to
expire, but if I acted soon
enough, I could sign on for
state-of-the-art support for
Modern English. Maybe I’ll
just keep on making my own


—Medusa, with thanks to Taylor Graham and other Form Fiddlers for their contributions today!

 —Public Domain Photo Courtesy of Joseph Nolan

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.