Monday, June 24, 2024

Flowers in the Woods

 Good morning!
—Public Domain Photo Courtesy of Medusa

* * *

—Poetry by Nolcha Fox, Stephen Kingsnorth,
Victor Kennedy, Sayani Mukherjee, Caschwa,
and Joe Nolan
—Public Domain Photos by Joe Nolan
and Medusa
—Nolcha Fox, Buffalo, WY

Long before it reaches
out with scratch you,
you can hear the darkness
of the woods surround you
with a hissing sound
that raises hairs
upon your arms.
You walk more quickly,
break into a run
as if a run was what
your feet were meant to be.
Cold sweat runs down
your cheeks, your chin,
you know you’re in
for it unless you pick
up speed. Indeed,
you’re in the house.
You latch the door.
Now you can breathe.
You peek out curtains.
You expect to see a beast.
You look into the beady
eyeballs of a

 —Public Domain Photo Courtesy of Joe Nolan

—Stephen Kingsnorth, Coedpoeth, Wrexham, Wales

Deflected, echoed, tree by trunks,
most masked by thickets, thickset shrubs,
cue clouded cover, canopy,
but bound by buffet, brushwood’s sway,
bough bow limbs lurch, low bend the knee.
Beware rough bark, like snap yap dogs,
sense snarl, howl, growl, imagined whines,
how can these sounds seem dark, save mood,
for pitch is not illumined tone.
but resonance that we supply
sonorous deep, without bell toll?

Wychwood of tempting candy peal,
that waking kiss or breadcrumb trail—
those nightmares laundered through deep sleep
as if our frights, rescue, conjoined.
Is it the tales of yore, our lore,
the grimmest which, so fairy called?
Is it to exorcise that steer
we exercise, rehearse their name?

So rustle, breeze, cracked greenstick tears,
those tiers of fear, of Babel din,
those masked, well-hidden, concealed tears,
confessional from undergrowth.
Our footsteps crunching over twigs
is isolating, if at night,
as moonlit shadows trail our own—
no comfort, seeming not alone.

But look, hear, listen in the woods—
its mycorrhiza underground—
some birdsong, creepers, nuthatch search,
leap squirrel, badger, even deer—
but fallow, not the stag with bark—
and find diversity at work.
Less forest as a dapple glade
with music for a classic taste;
here shades mix with a brighter note
leave groundwork of a golden fall.
To me the screech owl natural,
like stretch of bat wing, pipistrelle,
as hungry hedgehogs snuffle through
the peaty past, harmonious,
key only dark sounds, semitones. 
 —Public Domain Photo Courtesy of Medusa

—Victor Kennedy, Maribor, Slovenia

When I held her in my arms
I felt that something had gone.
She was still warm, but still.
I was young and it was my first encounter with death.

Since then, I’ve met death often,
pets, parents, friends.
After the last breath comes a stillness
and life is gone.

I feel that absence too
in people who are still alive,
but something is missing:
love, joy, desire.

I feel it in myself,
something slipping away,
love of music, of connection,
curiosity, novelty, interest.

The God of the Waxing Year’s battle
draws to its inevitable end,
but I struggle on, writing down memories,
trying to find meaning in them.
—Public Domain Photo Courtesy of Joe Nolan

—Sayani Mukherjee, Chandannagar,
W. Bengal, India

The maple trees told me it's in the ashen branches
Where the squirrels hide
Their little child-soul set afar from human conditions
I surmise the longing of things
From near and far
Where the river is spread out against the sky
The night stars are falling around
I saw in a sleep
The jumpings and quiverings of non-living things
Stay in my mind like a biscuit parchment paper
I blew the dandelions too loudly
Alas they catch the midheaven star
The North node of all our dreams where they shine
I now think of the maple trees
The red apples sodden
With arched bow whites
I know not what to name these
Perhaps they carry their own destiny
A hidden blush of lost stars and milkyways
I breathe in thee. 
 —Public Domain Photo Courtesy of Joe Nolan

—Sayani Mukherjee

A lonely cottage by the river wall
The sun-scooped daisy under my beige wall
A pointed facade, a long overturn over there
To mend and bask the town meadows
As I lay dipping in the river
I hear cascades over my rimmed lens
A lovely blossom it was, it lay open dust
The moonbeamed sun is lowly now
To hung the home-grown lilies
The blue painted carpenter sang a choir
A thousand lullabyed biddings
For the village was aglow in the pure love. 
 —Public Domain Photo Courtesy of Joe Nolan

—Sayani Mukherjee

The drunken swiftness of the waves
Calms me
From a reverie of unpredictable marches
A lost song of victory and losses
As she possessed the divinity of all things
Things high and low lay bare
The stratum of bounty Hastings
The unnameable spoken mantra, the soma of life
Lying all over the fringe of all things
Knitted in a divine mastery
I knew the ancient waters, the green scenery
As the rivers co-mingle with the ever-chanting song 
 —Public Domain Photo Courtesy of Joe Nolan

—Caschwa, Sacramento, CA

got a lot of plants
the work of my son and me
but there’s a dark cloud that mires
the delight of victory
the weeds are winning

Dandelions on
the lawn, uninvited guests
dark sounds fill the morning air
didn’t come at our behest
the weeds are winning

Grandpa Weeder works
one at a time, all day long
push down, pull up, toss in can
not a lovely dark woods song
the weeds are winning

Morning Glories, known
to be photogenic plants
vining everywhere there is
handy pathways for the ants
the weeds are winning

Oleanders, ugh!
toxic root, stem, and leaf, too
paid a service gobs of dough
to remove all, but they
left one here, wouldn’t you know?
the weeds are winning 
—Public Domain Photo Courtesy of Joe Nolan


drown spelled backwards is:

bump stock spelled backwards is:
Weapon of Mass Destruction

campaign donation spelled backwards is:
lobby influence

unreported income spelled backwards is:
primary support for Supreme Court Justices

Civil War spelled backwards is:
Survival of the Fattest 
 —Public Domain Photo Courtesy of Joe Nolan


why is it that the parlors
of tattoo artists seem to
feature more bare bones
than painted skin?

it follows to reason that
cemeteries for tattoo artists
would bury everything
except the bones, leaving
them above ground for
full viewing

maybe there are some people
(start with me) who would
prefer that the implements
used to paint the tattoo not
descend all the way down
to the bone 
 —Public Domain Photo Courtesy of Medusa


people ask me what January 6th means to me
to which I reply that it was a very, very dark
time in my life; they like and accept that short
answer and ask me to elaborate, to which I reply
that was 8 days before I was born

then comes the spin, that was not the answer
they were hoping to hear, they wanted me to
list all of the bad people and bad acts from
that fateful date, and my answer didn’t touch
on those. However, my answer aptly did
fulfill their hopes, if one knows how to employ
the poetic device of metaphor

a very dark time could be likened to the black
blindfolds worn by the people responsible for
vetting the nominees to be the 45th President;
if only they had done their job competently and
faithfully our nation might have been spared
quite a bit of pain and suffering

so I’ll stick with my original answer, and if
someone doesn’t understand all that it means,
they need to read more poetry
—Public Domain Photo Courtesy of Joe Nolan

—Joe Nolan, Stockton, CA

Listen to
A lantern
In the corner

Shining sound
That lights up
Like a flute

A canopy
Shading a
Bright, sunny day,

Still haven’t
Gone away.
 —Public Domain Photo Courtesy of Medusa

—Joe Nolan

The osmotic pressure
Of mass consent,
Like a tsunami,
Pushing information
Through all
Brain-cell walls
By signals sent from cell-phone towers,
By the power of 20G,
Would infiltrate our dreams
With images of Grand Kum-Bah-Yahs—
Dancing around bonfires
Burning away all dis-consent
Leading us into the hive
Or the borg
Or the new, universal religion
Where man is god and
Earth rules over us all,

Would replace fraudulent elections
Conducted with black-box
Digital voting machines
Hooked up to the internet
In which votes could be flipped
From any location on Earth
With just a tapping of keys.

Pressure would build
Beyond all control.
Incumbents’ heads would roll.
The same information
Would block all disinformation
Resulting in nearly
Universal acclamation
Of new candidates
Who’d won our hearts and souls
To lead us into damnation
Under a one-world-government  
 —Public Domain Photo Courtesy of Joe Nolan

—Joe Nolan

The king wants to always be king
No matter who kneels at his throne.

So does Xi Jin Ping.
He changed the rules
To be leader for life.

Deng Xiao Ping
Put term-limits in place
To time out
Hungry kings,
But another hungry king came along
And turned back the clock to the time of Mao,
When latter-day emperors
Could be so forever.
 —Public Domain Photo Courtesy of Medusa

—Joe Nolan

My favorite furry creature
Is my sweet dog, “Mister Sam.”
Although she is a lady,
She thinks she is a man.
She practices her manners,
But her friends think it’s a scam:

“How could you be
So eager to please?
It’s shameful for a dog
To beg on its knees.”

“It’s because
I love my man!”

She’s just as strong
As any dog
And loves to run
When she’s set free,
Released from her leash.

It doesn’t matter
Which she
Thinks she is,
I love her.
She’s my darling bitch.
I run her when I can.
 —Public Domain Photo Courtesy of Medusa

—Joe Nolan

God bless you
Dear friend,
God bless you!

Or maybe you’re
Blessing me?

Maybe you’re not
In some bardo
Or suffering

Maybe you came
To visit—
To smile
With your biggest

Maybe your spirit is free
As it always used to be
When you were
Still here
With me.


Today’s LittleNip:

Where flowers bloom so does hope.

—Lady Bird Johnson


Our thanks to today’s contributors, and a fine showing it is (some of them on our Seed of the Week, Dark Sounds in the Woods).

In addition to the readings coming up this week, don’t miss the annual Ekphrastic Art, Poetry & Jazz Night in Carmichael on Friday; and on Saturday, both the 3rd Annual Calaveras Poetry Festival: A Cavalcade of Laureates in Murphys, and the online Sierra College Intro to Eco-Poetry. Click on Medusa's UPCOMING NORCAL EVENTS ( for details about these and other future poetry events on the calendar this week.

Tim Kahl’s new book,
Drips, Spills, Bursts, Tangles & Washes, will soon be available from Cold River Press. Info and order it at


 —Public Domain Photo Courtesy of Joe Nolan

A reminder that
Sacramento Poetry Center
will feature Bob Stanley,
Lawrence Dinkins,
and Mike Shea
tonight, 7:30pm.
For info about this 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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