Thursday 26 May 2011

Time Travelling by Peter Branson

“Bird species are disappearing at a scarcely conceivable rate.”

(‘Muscicapa Striata: The Spotted Flycatcher’)

Each spring as you stack up they journey north,
re-lay that nest in your old garden wall.
You catch them at their ease, such elegance;
ash brown above a creamy dappled breast.
They dart and twist, snap insects on the wing,
turn deftly back to where they started from.
Eggs warm to touch, as sheer as porcelain;
flecked shades of gilded bronze, the Midas brush.
Each year they leave, conceive strange distances,
exotic latitudes you’ve never seen.
You’ve flown and your old habitat’s turned down,
six houses scheme. No summer guests these days.
That’s progress, you concede, fast in the fourth
dimension where your travellers still breed.

Peter Branson, UK

Friday 20 May 2011

Tree Dream by David Chorlton

In the dream all that remained where the tree had stood
was a stump that marked
its former place at the incline
on which a trail curved back as it climbed
through white stones and grass
from the streambed to the deserted mine
and up into the stars. In the dream
some friends who had never seen the tree
when its roots ran deep into the earth
came to the spot on the occasion
of a loss so great they knew nobody would recover
the boughs reaching high
through all the seasons and thousands of leaves
opening and turning in the forest
as they had fallen and opened
for longer than anyone has been alive.
In the dream they knelt
and raised their eyes toward the sky.
In the dream there was such grief. There was
operatic weeping. There was
black, black mourning. In the dream
it was only one tree.

David Chorlton, Arizona, USA

Monday 16 May 2011

Of Warbler and Quail by Rae Spencer

Drab little she in the brush
Muttering her song to lure
Someone else

But only I respond
Drawn across the dune
To listen closer

As a child I spoke to quail
I whistled out their bobwhite name
To hear them shriek it back

But this little warbler
Outside my beachfront door
Her accent slips my ear

Measures of water wisdom
Refrains of woven nest
Codas that fall silent

Because I have come too near
To understanding
What is lovely on this shore

Of daily tide
Of sandy soil and storms
Of quickening flocks

That speak their sea-swept names
In secret tangled tongues
Of salty sail and oar

And then they fly away
While I struggle, yearn to say
What I remember of briars

Of dry summer streams
And winter dreams
Of silent quail

Hungry among the thistle
Of home, my distant valley home
So many years from here

Rae Spencer

Friday 6 May 2011

In Memoriam by Nadya Avila Chant

You are text and subtext, my sound and my caesura,
The verdant meadows of adolescent summers,
And the fallow fields of a dreamless winter.
You are sigh and gasp and bated breath and I
Your restless child and somnolent woman.
You keep a home in the curve of my earlobe,
In the scar on my wrist, in the white of my fingernails.

Nadya Avila Chant, Utah, USA