Thursday, April 04, 2024


 —Poetry by Stephen Kingsnorth, 
Coedpoeth, Wrexham, Wales
—Photos Courtesy of Public Domain

As foxgloves climb, their hanging bells,
from lower males to female clime,
invite the bees to raise their game,
and pollinate from first to last.

And ants know forage, aphid time,
to milk the sweet from herded horde,
their honey, mutualism due,
a treasury without the cost.

As woolly bats and pitcher plants,
pistol shrimps and gobies trade,
oxpecker on striped zebra type—
they practise symbiotic art.

So honeyguides know sweet-toothed tribes,
insistent call when buzzing sounds,
and humans access nesting bees,
while birds take break for larvae, wax.
After ‘Aspens’ by Edward Thomas

What does the tree that speaks to me
from Eden through to Calvary,
or that of Life revealed at last,
the Bhodi, under Buddha sat,
or any faith with canopy?
The aspen shimmers with, without   
its solid trunk, true-hearted, stout,
whatever weather, whether seen,
despite, because the busy world
will ever curse, sing, without doubt.
The inn and smithy are long gone,
but still those leaves, whatever done
will weep, speak, mycorrhiza deep,
and still those leaves will never be
for shaking, turn as globe spins on.
The crossroads, place of gossip, choice    
have towered above with unheard voice
of wights and shades amongst the boughs,
in silent witness, industry
of men who likewise fear, rejoice.
Dun turning leaves, our print departs,
though spells are cast in craft and arts,
as when the auxin calls for fall
in sacrifice to birth new life,
when dust-to-dust fresh cycle starts.
And so your aspen, other tree,
will stand as complement, to be,
as city scape or hamlet strife
shout and scream, as wont to do,
free whispers treat of all they see.


I hear far, fore I see its spin,
ascending and descending swirl,
free-scaling notes in rise and fall,
but white light stealing sight from eyes
where curlicues drift, riff twirl in air.

Each height sinks slight then reignites
in upward spiral, tighter coil,
a slight bite further, dare to tear,
eviscerate all fear of drop.

This sprite delights to scare all wights
those ghosts that stalk the earth below,
to fight all drag and pull down low,
release from shades all wraiths beneath.

So if you near its ode to joy
then watch your footing, springy turf
or you might trample, downland earth,
the nesting herald brought to birth.


Cold lover, rime slush hoar,
mother with her polar horde,
white dirty cream, receding snow,
ice retreating, floe thaw flow;
banking clouds, dark cloaked sills,
looming outburst rolled as wool—
will water pour, through glacier,
a cataract fill crevasse space?


Homeland search, fry their eggs,
climb the thunder falling waves,
rush salmon trek, weiry climes,
sunny-side up, spawning, overwhelming cause.   
Skin-stripping claws, waiting jaws,
though death above alevin redds,
instinct impels, propels this charge,
high water kamikaze gods.


The wreckers search the post storm strand,
both eye and ear, revenue men,
and always lurking, pressgang fear,
but shipwreck yields the common touch.
Both cargo and the hulk bear fruit,
the timber, sailcloth, coal and plate,
and even keel set in its place,
a stable board of food, hoard stores.
This treasure chest from tidal horde
will keep the winter gnaw at bay
while we can spar the lighter beams
as coffin rest, bedraggled mates.
The coinage of foreign mint,
but now rechristened in the waves
these strangers face a common god;
we’ll not disguise these wights, now shades.
Their blue-bleached flesh now beached among
gulls, crows and terns, all skua birds,
a thicket, wings and pecking beaks,
that we must brave to feed our own.

Today’s LittleNip:

—Stephen Kingsnorth

Ring, a ring of roses,
posies fail, ward off fleas—
it’s not sneezes, tissues, fall.
Plague’s about, rats roam free,
shiploads travelled down the plank—
of smugglers—stowaways infer,
snug bugs in rugs,
black yak hair stacks.


Stephen Kingsnorth is celebrating nature and its cycles with us today during this, the "cruelest month”, and we send him many thanks over the sea. Watch for more from Stephen in the Kitchen tomorrow.


 —Public Domain Photo Courtesy
of Joe Nolan, Stockton, CA

A reminder that
Julia Levine and Rebecca Foust
will read in Davis tonight, 7pm;
Vincent & Sekani Kobelt will host
their new poetry series on Zoom,
featuring Sacramento Poet Issa; and
today is the deadline for submissions
for Lit Fest 3 in Winters, CA.
For info about these and other
future poetry happenings in
Northern California and otherwheres,
click on
in the links at the top of this page—
and keep an eye on this link and on
the daily Kitchen for happenings
that might pop up
—or get changed!—
 during the week.

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