Thursday, May 16, 2019


Clarksville Clock
—Poems and Photos by Taylor Graham, Placerville, CA


An old barn becomes a ziggurat—monument
of something past—caught upside down
on skating pond at warp-end of winter, tipping
slant of light. Slab-ice mortared by freeze
and thaw, thinning, edged with trodden snow,
breakup, mud. The mess and charge of seasons,
an ageless spell—is it changing now
so quietly we hardly notice? Will the pond
ripple again with dreams of small boys fishing?


Twigs, moss and grasses
with a fluff of soft beige fur
woven together
with segment of cassette tape,
a spring song waiting for wings.



Mother Turkey wanders alone
back and forth above the creek, past the once-
upon-a fox den abandoned since the cry
that was a scream like I’d never heard before
the morning I saw a fox-kit plastered
to centerline of our two-lane country road.
In my mind the cry was Mother Fox for her babe
just as Mother Turkey seems lost on our land
since her nest—so cleverly hidden
under a slash-pile—was raided, nothing left
but three broken eggs. What Mother-
Goose rhymes might Mother Turkey and
Mother Fox tell their children? that it’s tough
to be a mother in or out of the wild.


In the midst of May
from lavish green, persistent
call of mourning dove,
from an old bridge still standing
where the townsfolk used to cross.


Part of the old Lincoln Highway—12-ft wide concrete coast-to-coast, just a dead-end vestige here in the ghost town of Clarksville. You won’t see it, speeding by on Hwy 50. Today, 1st Saturday in May, is the only day of the year when we living guests can cross the bridge. I step out of the way to let a wagon go by, drawn by a hitch of black Percherons, shades of when Clarksville was on the main route, with Wells Fargo and schoolhouse. Heading there, I pause to read a plaque on the concrete tee-beam bridge (1918), and note how willows and a great live-oak are thriving in the creek bottom. This is a creek of my childhood, this kind of slow-moving water, as if life didn’t have to travel at 80 mph to get where it’s going.

follow the black horses
over this bridge to the past,
to the ghosts of May


Thin ice for hoofbeats
on dead-end pavement—live horse
and rider Express
delivering the mail here
once a year to waiting ghosts.

Today’s LittleNip:

—Taylor Graham

Where did he come from,
what was his history before
he came here asking
a friendly greeting, a hand
reaching for his warming purr?



Thanks for your poems and photos today, TG! Some of her photos are about Clarksville Day 2019, which was held on May 4; for more about that, go to And for continuing El Dorado County poetry news, check Taylor Graham’s Western Slope El Dorado (

Taylor has a new book coming out from Cold River Press, entitled Windows of Time and Place. About it, D.R. Wagner says, “Written during her tenure as El Dorado County's first Poet Laureate, this is a magnificent look into life in the Sierra Nevada foothills.” 110 pp, perfect-bound. Congratulations, TG! 

PLUS: Taylor Graham and Katy Brown are feverishly lining up poets to read at the 4-day WakamatsuFest150, the 2019 Sesquicentennial Wakamatsu Farm festival which will take place June 6, 7, 8, and 9, sponsored by, among others, the American River Conservancy. There is a lot of information online at, including their fine WakamatsuFest150 Commemorative Festival Program:, which includes haiku from some of our poets up here in El Dorado County. So check it out, and save the date. Remember: there will never be another sesquicentennial for Wakamatsu Farm!

In addition to featured speakers and open mic at Poetry Unplugged at Luna’s Cafe tonight in Sacramento, 8pm, Third Thursdays at the Sacramento Room of the Central Library will meet at noon today: bring your favorite poems (by a writer other than yourself) on the subjects of Spring, Work and/or collective celebration. Then tonight, 8pm, head across the Causeway to Poetry in Davis for a book launch at John Natsoulas Gallery for Pos Moua’s Karst Mountains Will Bloom. Readers will include the poet, Pos Moua, plus Sandy McPherson and Gary Snyder 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.

—Medusa, celebrating the poetry that springs from our past!

 The Cover of Taylor Graham's New Book 
from Cold River Press 

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.