Monday, June 19, 2023

Woodsy Walks

—Public Domain Photo Courtesy of Joe Nolan
—Poetry by Nolcha Fox, Stephen Kingsnorth
Joe Nolan, Sayani Mukherjee 
and Shiva Neupane
—Public Domain Photos by 
Joe Nolan and Stephen Kingsnorth
—Nolcha Fox, Buffalo, WY

I wondered why my woodsy walk
was never quite the same.
Each day, the path seemed freshly raked,
the trees displayed new leaves,
the bushes sported flowers
I had never seen before.
Perhaps my thoughts prevented me
from taking in the view,
so every walk presented different
scenes to my befuddled mind.
One evening walk I heard the rustling,
dragging, and the whispers.
I turned to see the trees change shapes
and walk to new positions.
Bushes sprouted flowers strange,
and followed after trees.
As they moved, they raked the path
destroying all my footprints,
so that another person wouldn’t
follow in my steps.
I thanked the woods for its display,
for colors and for shadow,
and promised I would never tell
a soul what I had seen.
—Public Domain Photo 
Courtesy of Joe Nolan
—Claire J. Baker, Pinole, CA
         for Elizabeth Rothschild*

Liz walked
in mountain woods
so freely and long, soon
mystical woods walked within her
and stayed.

*An esteemed hike leader with the
Sierra Club, Elizabeth had escaped
to London from the holocaust.
—Public Domain Photo Courtesy
of Stephen Kingsnorth 

—Stephen Kingsnorth, Coedpoeth, Wrexham, Wales

The timber brings its resonance,
from floor to ceiling, block to beams,
piece mantel, table, cupboard, chairs,
maple, close-grained, turning legs,
with open oak for wider chests.
Horse chestnut, candelabra ware,
some softwood whittle. chip carve hard,
ash even in the pre-laid grate,
awaiting rise from dieback fate,
just as the elm recovered, back.

Shelves, walnut, cherry, books well-leaved,
kitchen dresser, blue willow draped,
with crack of saucer, cup and bat—
outside the pane, by wicket gate,
pussy, cat, under-milk-wood-kin.
Here’s aspen shiver, trembling wet,
and hazel quivers near the drain,
as if divining well-sourced flow,
beyond both burr and knot of pine,
red rowan for the mystical.

As poplars sentry by the wall,
sycamores copter from above,
amongst the rise and fall of whirl;
a canopy of arching larch,
as alder, elder family.
Beyond the pale, spruce picket fence,
bronzed copper beech, mixed silver birch
and layered hedge to stop the sheep,
less lambs spring from the ha-ha up,
then bypass Great Hall, gatehouse call.

Our front door plane, near walking sticks,
the boxwood treen of ornaments,
such spindle of the bannisters.
mahogany, against the grain,
theses are the woods I hourly greet.
Here’s native cottage, known for holm,
with love spoons hanging from the wall,
as crafted cross nailed over all;
this is my arbour, nesting site.
Hear, daily, I walk in the woods. 
—Public Domain Photo 
Courtesy of Joe Nolan
—Joe Nolan, Stockton, CA

Wrenches become fingers
For a man who plies his trade.

Spiders swing
From strings
They make,
On which they
Catch their prey.

Birds’ nests
Make a home
From fallen twigs.
Watch a bird’s eyes watching,
Sorting sprig from sprig
And how they fit!
It’s intricate.
You have to admit—
They’re better at it
Than you’d be,

Pliers become fingers
To a man
Who twists on bolts
All day long.
It’s his job.
Skill accrues from day to day.

Things are made this way,
By little elves
And skillful men
Who build things up
From nothing,
Just like little spiders
Who spin webs
To eat for free. 
—Public Domain Photo 
Courtesy of Joe Nolan
—Joe Nolan

Stars compound
Into clay,
Summon bees a-buzzing,
To work the live-long day,
Surprising bright-lit flowers
With unbridled attention
To pistils and stamens,
Their pollen,
Flown away—
All to make sweet honey,
The siren call of bears
Who withstand a dozen painful stings
On a swollen nose
Just to taste.

—Joe Nolan
A spinning disco-ballSpread light-beams Into space,Summoning dancersTo bump buns and elbowsOn a dance floor.
They grew fatuous.Money was easy.Soon they grew greedyAnd wanted more.They grew to love the taste of grease.Soon they went straight for the bone.A dance-floor made them feel Less alone.Cocaine could bolster their mood.
Polyester playthings--Brightly colored,Dimly lit,They swallowed it allAs though it fit,As though there would be no tomorrow--Unlimited pleasure,No regrets.
—Public Domain Photo 
Courtesy of Joe Nolan
—Joe Nolan

The perfection of a dream,
To discover how it feels,
To let it become real,
To give it space on a floor,
To let it open its door
To enter the world,

To surround it with a magic circle
That protects it from
Things that object
To its existence,

To give it room to grow
To set it on its purpose
To discover its true meaning. 
—Public Domain Photo Courtesy of Joe Nolan
—Sayani Mukherjee, Chandannagar,
W. Bengal, India

Tabloids on the east side
I keep looking at the mirror
It knows
How things work
The atoms of the human soul
An incense of intention
It keeps buzzing
In my head
The heads and tails of things
Silvery paws
Un femme
A Red Cross on my bosom
Innuendos everywhere
It touches with God's mysteries
I keep chanting Him
The unnameable divine light
Above heads
The mirror knows
How things work
A silver spoon


Today’s LittleNip:

—Shiva Neupane, Melbourne, Australia
When I was young
I used to walk in the rain.
As the rain pitter-pattered on the ground
I became addicted to petrichor.
The smell of rain
Made me a pluviophile
Forever, not just for a while.
The monsoon of nostalgic elation
Evoked my memories and freedom.


Good morning, and thanks to today’s contributors for their thoughts on, among other things, our Seed of the Week: A Walk in the Woods. Be sure to check each Tuesday for the latest Seed of the Week.

Sayanı Mukherjee, a frequent visitor to the Kitchen, has a collection of poems,
Ode to Meraki, available on Amazon at Congratulations, Sayani!

NorCal poetry events start off this week with the Poetry in Motion read-around in Placerville this morning, 10:30am, and continue tonight with Michael Todd Gallowglas and Mario Ellis Hill at the Sacramento Poetry Center, 7:30pm. On Thursday, Lara Gularte will be facilitating an Ekphrastic Workshop, this one in Rancho Cordova in conjunction with an art and poetry show next October. You’ll have to register for this one: click on Medusa's UPCOMING NORCAL EVENTS ( for details about these and other future poetry events in the NorCal area—and keep an eye on this link and on the Kitchen for happenings that might pop up during the week.


—Public Domain Comment Courtesy of Joe Nolan

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