Wednesday 27 October 2010

Where I Used to Live by Taylor Graham

I’d walk the ridgetop into sunrise,
surprise overnight cobwebs, gold-filament
woven in black-oak.
Evenings I’d hike to a manzanita clearing
and climb the boulder overlooking
canyon, bedrock mortar slipping
to sleep above a nameless creek.

I’d listen for the spirits of the people
who lived there and moved away.

In this new place, how do I find sunrise
under Stone Mountain? Daylight
strikes on chert, not granite. Sun sets
out of sight. No canyon overlook;
a winter creek washes out the fences.
Spotted towhees flit in and out of windfall
from the last big storm.

People used to live here and call it home, and
then moved on. I listen for their spirits.

Taylor Graham, California, USA

Sunday 24 October 2010

Oak by Gill McEvoy

As she polishes and buffs the grain,
the golden wood, the strong fine lines,

she almost hears its yellow leaves
mutter in an autumn wind:

growing beside a lake, an oak,
this table forming in its solid heart.

Wednesday 20 October 2010

Finalizing Our Aged Property by Rae Spencer

The exhausted land reclaimed
Our fence-line
Time blanketed
Obscene barbs
With perfumed honeysuckle

A million twining flowers
With steely resolution
Wrested rusty strands
Toward the soil

A war of decades
Waged on a suspension bridge
Sagging posts and braided wire
Fatigued by the surprising weight
Of so many fragile vines

At last the posts cracked
In surrender
Gave up their substance
To termites and rain

And our boundaries
Crumbled into joyous ruin
Nothing left of fences
To say where we should end
And something else begin

Rae Spencer, Virginia, USA

Saturday 16 October 2010

Cultivating (Preserving) by Scott Edward Anderson

Dwelling as preserving
is cultivating.
Dwelling means knowing
what inhabits a place
and understanding that
which belongs to a place.

We cultivate what grows,
while building things
that don’t grow.
We seek the organic
in our own creations,
which are inorganic.

Imposing our will
on the landscape,
we can remove either
that which promotes capacity
or that which prevents capacity.

We are tenders of the garden,
we tend what needs tending
(heart or "langscape")
What we save remains—

Wednesday 13 October 2010

i stitched my arms to my sleeve so’s by Blake Ellington Larson

i could wave my open heart in
mid-air above my hang’d head

i found a map i made from apples

the how-to-manifesto described
a secret box of postcards

i collected enough stardust to
whisper your name

i raced your camouflage melodies skyward

on full moons i’d
gather less magnetism

but i taught daffodils to bloom

and dried leaves in honor

of your passing ghost

Blake Ellington Larson, California, USA

Wednesday 6 October 2010

October ‘08 by Russell Jaffe

In a dream, we flew. Our fingers
were out like needles, and we

drifted up as we looked at them.
Weeks ago, we stood in an apple

orchard and condemned that city from
which we couldn’t afford to leave,

I climbed in my nice shoes and the
wet bark scraped and marked my

pants and purple sweater. As you smiled
big up at me, I tossed the apples down

and you caught them, smiling and wincing,
the tiny marks around your eyes disappearing

under the fat, green apples that padded the ground
like cork hitting a plaster wall. You asked me:

what if I had to take a bite from every apple in
the orchard?

You chewed an apple loudly.
The orchard went until

the forest abruptly stopped it, and the hills
of New York went off until they were smoky

and gone. All those trees had all the apples.
We came across rows of peppers growing

and, looking down at them, I pointed spiky
and told you what kinds of peppers they were.

The rows led right up to the apples on the ground
and in the trees, and you smiled and walked,

and I hated that I had to pay for all this.
The air had just the right bite to it.

I can’t even imagine those apples,
emergency red and green as the outskirts of a bruise,

the orchard itself: the number, the amount, is imaginative and lofty.
None of us can even imagine how deep we’re in

Russell Jaffe, Iowa, USA

Sunday 3 October 2010

Flightpaths - 1913 by Dick Jones

The strangest of times: a skein of geese
crossing the bedroom window, heading west
and no body of water within seven miles.

I am playing the pagan - lying late amongst
the Sunday morning bells.

Heaven is a cloudless sky
in late September, harvest past,
leaves on the turn.

At first I think I hear the binder,
wheels beating, turning at the headrow,
but the fields are bare.

Such a beating, a clattering.
More geese searching for a lake
in this land of furrows? Or
the rector in his Wolsely
come to seek me out?

And then my window darkens
into the shape of wings, jagged wings –
Weston mill uprooted, reeling across the fields?
Certainly a hurricane of sorts in the throat of this beast
squatting low over the beeches,
dabbling its feet in leaves, roaring
in a black updraft of rooks.

An aeroplane, fearful in the untried air –
nothing like the rising bird
it mocks, This is a man,
dressed in wire and canvas,
climbing out of the long grass.
This is a godless man ascending,
out of the dust, towards the light.

Dick Jones, UK