Monday, February 25, 2019

Molting Season

—Photo by Sue Crisp, Shingle Springs, CA

—Sue Crisp

A winter’s sunset sets the stage
for nightfall.

Clouded skies boasting a myriad
of vibrant hues,
resembling vintage wines.

Rose, Blush, Chablis,
shot through with a hint of Cabernet.

The perfect combination
for a cozy fire, and a glass
of your favorite wine.

 —Photo by Sue Crisp

—Sue Crisp

Bare branches in the winter are a form of writing.
—Line from Billy Collins poem, “Winter Syntax”

Each season trees, of leaves, are bare,
as nature nudes their branches.
Their rustle no longer heard in
brisk breezes or sighing winds of the
changes brought by approaching winter.
Limbs, a former shadow of themselves are
only a changed part of a
centuries old form
that reminds us of
barren limbs reaching up in the wind, sky writing.

 —Photo by Sue Crisp

—Sue Crisp

Looking for the season past.

Snow has started to fall.

Hail is pinging against the window.

Has finally come to call.

 —Photo by Susan Sigge, Martinez, CA

—Ian Copestick, Stoke on Trent, England

Winter's retreating back to from where it came
The country is getting ready for springtime again
Every evening is a little bit lighter
The sun seems to be shining brighter
I feel almost giddy with relief that winter has passed
And with anticipation that spring is nearly here at last
You'd think by my age, I'd be used to seasons turning
But every spring sees the excitement returning
I never get bored of seeing buds growing from seeds
Or watching the leaves appear on the trees
And I hope that I stay this way until I die
As the earth renews itself, so do I


—Ian Copestick

Life and the passing of time
Are strange, things that were
Once so important that you
Couldn't live without them, now
Mean nothing, or even less
Than that. The woman you
Thought was the love of your
Life, who broke your heart into
A million pieces, now you see
It as a lucky escape. All the
Years and money you spent
As a heroin addict, now you
Wouldn't go near it, even if it
Was free.
I suppose things like this give
Me hope for the future; I made
It through those mistakes, I
Can make it through more, and
As I get older and presumably
Wiser, I think there may be a
Chance for me to make it
Through to salvation.

 —Photo by Susan Sigge

—Caschwa, Sacramento, CA

Sun and soil fed
plucked from its nurturing bed
green, yellow, white, red

Like cigar smoke, its aroma will be shared
with all around you, bringing enjoyment to
some, and upset to others;  just don’t dress
your onions in gym clothes or people will
get the wrong idea

Farmer in the dell
tough meat under flimsy shell
sharpen that knife well



Not so fast!
say counsel for the amalgamated union of dots

You’re going to need to meet with our delegates
and work out a contract before you can claim any
rights to expressions containing IZE, JAYZ,

Let us know when you are ready for a deal
and you can sign on the dotted line

 —Photo by Susan Sigge


Recently the POTUS stood under the official
motto of the USA: “In God We Trust” to
deliver the SOTU Address. One small glitch:
this individual has willfully and repeatedly
broken what he regards as the relatively weak
bond of holy matrimony in favor of the much
stronger lure of personal

GRATIFICATION!!! (deserves special recognition)

In my book, he has forfeited and lost any
credibility, authority, or standing when it comes
to preaching on any subject to anybody else.

Do as I say, not
as I do, and I will keep
God in my speeches



When we go to take a bath we rightfully
expect there to be faucets that let us access
both hot and cold water. And when we take
a drive into town we expect traffic signal lights
to indicate both stop and go. So how come
those geniuses who designed houses only
provided down spouts from the roof?

Duh! We also need
some up spouts mounted to flush
extra leaves away.

 —Photo by Susan Sigge

—Joseph Nolan, Stockton, CA

I want to disappear
Into the boondocks
When I retire.
A place
Without locks,
With keys
Left in cars
All the time,
Atop the visor,
Where everyone
Was ever the wiser
And knew they
Had nothing to lose.
Dogs let to roam
Around the streets
At their leisure.
Kids played outside
At their pleasure.
We never were worried.
Our jobs were secure.
I want to go back
Where I came from—
Back to the boondocks!
But though I’d like
To disappear
Into nostalgic air,
The boondocks
Are no longer there!


—Joseph Nolan

“At the end of the day.....”
Here’s the message
To take away—
Whatever follows next
Is what you’re
Supposed to remember!
How many times have you heard it said?
It’s like, “Listen up, people!
Here comes your social programming!”

At the end of the day,
The sun goes down,
The moon comes up
The stars come out
And we’re expected
For dining, dancing
Singing, shout,
As though we were all happy,
As though we ever were happy,
As though we’re still happy, now,
And knew what it was all about.

At the end of the day
I feel I’d like to crawl away
Someplace dark and warm to sleep
To lay me down, my soul to keep.

—Photo by Susan Sigge

—Joseph Nolan

Something drew away,
Quickly, suddenly, silently,
As though by vacuum,
Which I could not bear to lose.

The world feels so empty
When you no longer feel
Anything more than the
Emptiness of loss.


—Joseph Nolan

In reverent undulation,
A snake will shed its skin,
But not before the new one
Is ready to begin.

Such is the way of change:
Too soon,
And it’s too painful!
Too late,
And it’s too strange.

When it’s time,
Get ready,
Feel the signal:
Might be your early sign
That nature is moving
In its order
Briefly toward disorder
To re-arrange.


Today’s LittleNip:

—Joseph Nolan

Flowers, grass, trees,
Buzzing bumblebees,
Gentle summer breeze,
Days spent at ease,
By these
Will you be pleased
Colored leaves
Signal winter’s coming.


Thanks to today’s Monday crew of cooks in the Kitchen for their fine poetry and photos! I do notice that we seem to be on the cusp of spring; some are saying winter is here, some say she’s done. Well, that’s the truth!

Anyway, Sue Crisp is back with us with her lovely pix and poems; Ian Copestick has sent us two intriguing poems by virtual steamship from Stoke on Trent (including a sonnet); Caschwa has made our recent Seed of the Week, the Haibun, part of his poetry skin, skillfully writing lots of them as we approach the Ize of March; Joseph Nolan sends us smooth elegies on various types of Loss, our current Seed of the Week; and some of Susan Sigge’s additional (wonderful!) photos grace these poems. (See yesterday’s post for more about Susan.)

I don’t usually wax so poetic about our SnakePal Stars, but I do feel gratitude for each and every one of them: poets, photogs, those who send announcements for the calendar; those who send weekly posts and those who are more sporadic; those who live down the street and those from across the county and across the sea. One of my British pals called us “eclectic”, which was my goal scads of years ago when I started this blog. I appreciate poets who write in all sorts of styles about love, politics, spirituality, nature, history; silly poems; serious and painful ones; things and places and people I know or don’t know. Our community has grown over the years, and every day my email brings me surprises—like Christmas! And you’d be surprised how little I censor or reject.

So keep ‘em coming, and know that you’re appreciated. Once a SnakePal, always a SnakePal! All you have to do is send your work to I promise to treat it with care…….

Poetry events in our area this week begin tonight, 6pm, with Poetry in Motion poetry read-around at the Placerville Sr. Center lobby, 937 Spring St., Placerville. Then at 7:30pm, Sac. Poetry Center presents Arturo Mantecon and Ivan Argüelles plus open mic, 25th & R Sts., Sac.

SPC workshops this week include Tuesday Night Workshop for critiquing of poems at the Hart Center (27th and J Sts.) on Tuesday, 7:30pm (call Danyen Powell at 530-681-0026 for info); and MarieWriters Generative Writing Workshop at SPC for writing poems, facilitated this week by Patricia Wentzel, 6-8pm.

“Relax with Tax for Artists & The Self-Employed” with Jon Martin on Wed. night, 6pm, at Cal. Lawyers for the Arts, 2015 J St., #204, Sac. Be sure to register at And Thurs. is Poetry Unplugged at Luna’s Cafe, 1414 16th St., Sac. with featured artists and open mic. 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.

Squaw Valley is tuning up again for their Summer Workshops, and if you wish to attend, March 28 is the deadline for submissions to the June 22-29 Community of Writers at Squaw Valley Summer Poetry Workshop. Info:

Hey! Send Medusa stuff, too!  

—Medusa (Celebrate Poetry!)   

 Elizabeth Bishop
Speaking of loss, check out “Elizabeth Bishop’s Art of Losing”

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in the top right corner to come back to Medusa.