Friday, November 13, 2020

November Shivers

—Poetry and Photos by Taylor Graham, Placerville, CA
—And scroll down for Form Fiddlers’ Friday!


A shiver in November air
what’s here-now in balance
with what’s before and after

the wind-blown dead leaves
the 2 deer moving carefully
through end of mating season

as we vote back or forward. 
Wakamatsu Farm, Placerville


Green tomatoes on the sill.
Do they mourn the end
of garden?

Our deck is damp with drizzle.
When might fire season
ever end?

Dark-eyed juncos have arrived.
Does this mean winter
has found us? 



In these troubled times I might ask myself
what’s wrong in the world, just ask myself…

I walk our oak woods and, where they cut trees
to save our powerline from wind gust, ask myself.

I turn on the toaster oven, light the lights,
and question the cost in sawdust—ask myself?

When I drive to town on some small errand,
how much gas do I combust? Ask myself.

Who am I to use up our world because
I’m made of star-dust? Ask myself. 



Grandson and his friends from half a state away, city-boys for impromptu summer camp on our Sierra acres. Grandpa camp leader/forest ranger at home with pine, cedar, oak, and pre-teen boys. I was camp cook and factotum. We set them up at Charlie Camp a quarter mile out the ridge. Their store-bought camo soon improved by crawling through manzanita thicket on compass course, and overnight wilderness pack trips— grumbling: backpack too heavy, the trail too long…. Decades later, I think of the boy who ventured from Charlie Camp to Special Ops—

with kids in camo
you never know—yes, it was
a real good summer. 



The landscape’s gone—
the one once drawn
for ever, sure as dawn
after a dark night.
2-lane highway right
beside the endless sight
that used to cheer me—
cottonwood tree
and miles of empty.
Today I drove that way,
the landscape gone away.
Just pavement gray
and houses houses, more
houses curb to door.
Earth nothing but a floor
for walls. No, earth
may still be there. Rebirth
possible? Understand,
all things change. The land
in camo, waiting dawn
of what? pavement gone
and grasses, trees,
green-gold tiding seas
in a changing breeze.
Meadowlark says Please? 



The cat is ruining the couch,
old leather hulk that takes up room
by the window where songbirds bloom
and where, of course, she likes to crouch

and sharp the claws that make mice ouch!
Our cat shreds leather with those claws.
She shreds and purrs and kneads with paws
till towhee flies from deck to tree—
our cat is longing to be free!
She’ll wreck the couch, and just because. 

Today’s LittleNip:

NOV. 7
—Taylor Graham

Fireworks in Berlin,
church bells ringing in Paris,
Canada is thrilled—
cheering both sides of the sea,
sun is breaking through our clouds.

A happy, lucky Friday the 13th to everyone today, including our lucky Taylor Graham, who has sent us a Ghazal (“I Ask Myself”—more by-the-rules that last week’s Ghazal, she says); an Espinela (“Claws vs Leather”);  a Sevenling (“Sevenling…”); a Quinzaine (“November Questions”), plus a Haibun and a Tanka. Photos are mostly from the Wakamatsu workshop in Placerville last Sunday. [As for the Election Observer pic down below]: this year, aren't we all election observers?

And now it’s time for…


It’s time for more contributions from Form Fiddlers, in addition to those sent to us by Taylor Graham! 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, by golly! (See Medusa’s Form Finder at the end of this post for links to definitions of the forms used this week.)

Today we’re fortunate to have a return of J.I. Kleinberg, who visited the Kitchen a couple of years ago, and now is back with her picture-poems which are of the Found form—sentences cut from newspapers and magazines, etc. and arranged visually on pages or as regular poems. (See OR for more!)






 A Pale Wind
—J.I. Kleinberg, Bellingham, WA

—J.I. Kleinberg

Like Barbarians
—J.I. Kleinberg


Snow Silly
—J.I. Kleinberg

Narrative Rite
—J.I. Kleinberg


Last week’s Fiddlers’ Challenge was the Quinzaine, and Caschwa (Carl Schwartz) went to town on it (as we used to say), sending two Quinzaine Chains:

—Caschwa, Sacramento, CA

I lost my glasses again.
Is it obvious?
On my head?


Now Who is on second base.
And did he get there
standing up?


I passed all of my classes.
Maybe I should have
stopped, gone in?


Windswept leaves fell to the ground.
Did you hear their doomed
cries for help?


I am struck with your beauty.
Can you excuse me
while I stare?


The river park is quiet.
Are there hidden traps
just ahead? 



All of us are God’s children.
Or does that stop once
we are born?


Trees survive adverse weather.
Can they tolerate
people, too?


The volcano is ready.
Are we quite able
to react?


A mountain road is sloshy.
Will going slow be
safe downhill?


Nature pictures are awesome.
Can we go back and
take some more?


We all agreed to do this.
Does anybody


You present with broken leg.
Why must they ask you:
does this hurt? 

Here is a Naani Chain from Caschwa:


after 4 years waiting

statutory quarantine

kept us breathing

a while longer


trombone slide extended

all the way to 7th position

E or B

make it sound natural


learning to play piano

gyroscopic balance

of all those notes

on the great staff


ever present valve oil

the smell of trumpet music

penetrating centuries

of sheet music

And a wee Alouette:


an oxymoron
compromise foregone
nothing civil about war
no one will heed your
civil procedure
when tempers are more than sore

Many thanks to our SnakePals this week for their brave fiddling! Would you like to be a SnakePal? All you have to do is send poetry—forms or not—and/or photos and artwork to We post work from all over the world, including that which was previously-published. Just remember: the snakes of Medusa are always hungry—for poetry, of course!


See what you can make of this week’s poetry form, and send it to! (No deadline.) This week's challenge is the QUATERN; see


MEDUSA’S FORM FINDER: Links to poetry forms mentioned today: 

•••Found Poem: OR
•••Ghazal:  OR  OR  OR


Watch your step!
—Public Domain 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.