Category Archives: Nature poems

Civilization

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I awaken to the insistent music of the morning. The cacophony of bird voices is disrupted by the squeaking of gears of the gravel truck climbing the mountain road past my house. Steam rises from the hot pool echoing the venting of Colima volcano, peeking over the shoulder of the mountain known as Señor Garcia. He has on his cloud sombrero today, which promises rain.

Crisp air of morning.
Mournful chorus of dog howls
echoes siren’s wail.

The NaPoWriMo prompt today is to write a haibun that takes in the natural landscape of the place you live. The WordPress Daily Prompt is disrupt.

Simultaneous: NaPoWriMo 2018, Day 10

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Simultaneous

Galaxies spin out of sight
far out in this selfsame night
where I attempt to journey in
to universes within my skin.
Whole worlds inside that I can’t know.
I feel sometimes they guide me, though.
How else explain my need to range
into environments more strange.
Like many, thinking I’m unique
when many others who also seek
share a larger journey all,
trapped together on this ball
that spins our world through time and space
taking us all to the same place!

For Napowrimo.

Fruitless

 

 

Fruitless

I’m a branch of the family wild and free.
My branches are wide but there’s no fruit on me.
My roots go down deeply. They’re seeking a place
to spread underground while leaving a trace
of what is below by what’s stretched to the skies.
Each leaf is a word that lives and then dries,
pressed onto paper, preserved and collected—
read if I’m lucky, pondered and dissected.

I’ve spawned no additions to the family tree.
Only my words will live after me.

The prompt today is branch.

Above

jdb photos, 2018.  To enlarge all photos, click on any one.


Above

By putting so much beauty so far beyond our reach,
what truths of the universe might nature try to teach?
One story told by earth and sea, here within our clutch,
another told by what’s above, that only eyes can touch.

 

The prompt today is above.

Cruel Harvest

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Cruel Harvest

In this middle morning,
pelicans drop like hail on the surface of the water.
This is not their usual style,
for they do not dive headfirst
and squeeze bills to necks
and swallow as before,
but merely float and dip their beaks
and raise their heads and dip again.

I hope it is not the tiny sea turtles
that we put in the water last night
that they are feeding on like hors d’oeuvres,
greedily.
But surely those turtles,
placed in to swim away 15 hours ago
are elsewhere than this,
facing other dangers, no doubt,
but at least, sad endings  I don’t bear witness to.

 We had waited until sunset
when the birds had gone
to lift the tiny creatures
from their plastic world
and set them,
confused and stunned,
upon the sand
to turn in circles
until we placed them right again
and again,
sometimes patting their tails
to encourage their voyage
to a new life shocking in its largeness.

 “What is this
lifting up and putting down?”
they must have thought,
“and then this broad expanse
that lifts us, spins us,
submerges us?”
Courageously, they lifted their  heads to swim,
only to be tumbled by waves—another  shock.
What more had life to surprise them with?
First, that bursting from the shell that had protected them,
then that thrusting into a colder world.

Children squealed with glee and were warned by elders
not to step back lest they step on the turtles that surrounded us—
all of us looking backwards as we stepped,
cameras clicking,
voices in English, Spanish, French—
all enchanted with these creatures perfectly formed
with black flippers and beautiful shells.
We saw their tiny heads like periscopes above the waves—
swarms of them at first and then separate,
swimming off to their individual fates.
Fifteen minutes later, the rising action
featured a solitary pelican that swooped for one
and then another and another
bedtime snack.
“No,” we screamed.
One woman threw a rock.
These pelicans that had enchanted me for weeks
as I watched their graceful flight and sure plummetings,
now prompted a new story
where they were villains, stopping new life,
bringing back the theme I have been so aware of here
for these weeks of my daily floatings in the sea.

Every organism, every animal, every person on this earth
lives only by merit of the death of others.
When life ends in infancy, how sad, how sad, we say;
but also say seeing the full grown pelican on the beach,
bleached to bones,
its beak sealed shut with a plastic circle from a six pack
or the needlefish, stretched on the sand and picked by carrion.
Never so obvious as here, this feeding of life on life,
and never so startling as when we placed the baby turtles
on the sand, wanting to save one for ourselves,
but knowing this action had a larger purpose than that.

We surrendered them to their life apart from us,
then moments later,
saw the pelican feed on them
guiltlessly,
living his place in the world.
Oh that I, too, had acted more selfishly—
palming one tiny turtle,
putting it in my loose pocket,
keeping it safe
away from that broad sea
that has so many means
by which to claim it.

Courage is the prompt word today. This poem is a rewrite of “Putting the Tiny Sea Turtles into the Sea,” a piece I wrote four years ago when the local sea turtle reserve brought dishpans full of the tiny creatures to La Manzanilla for volunteers to assist in releasing them to the wild sea.

Dark Against Light

 

 

Dark Against Light

The universe’s fine maquette

is light on dark and dry on wet—
her quietness and stillness set
against the thrum of castanet.
It is a sort of etiquette:
opposite versus opposite.
Victory gauged against regret.
Sunrise followed by sunset.
Every lottery and bet
boundless riches as well as debt.
It does no good to fuss and fret.
This irony is all we get—
nature one pure brightness set
as backdrop to our silhouette.

 

Want more views of this sunset?  Go HERE.
The prompt today is one of the prettiest words in the English language: silhouette.

In the Blood (Entertainment?)

In the Blood!!!

Don’t you just love football—the running and the tackling?
The sounds of hamstrings pulling and the crunch of femurs crackling?
We sit up in the bleachers eating hot dogs, drinking beer,
comfortably viewing blood sport—the kind we hold so dear.

Aren’t dogfights lovely–the growling and the whining?
Too bad they aren’t more elite, so we could watch while dining.
So amusing watching canines being dished their due.
Dying is so entertaining when it isn’t you!

Better still are bullfights, though they’re few and far between.
The bull so lithe and dangerous, the matador so lean.
The best part of the sport is that the dying is so slow.
I feel its thrill suffuse me from my head down to my toe.

We adore big game hunting in such exotic lands–
our chance to prove our manliness with our own two hands–
handing over money to those trackers in the know
who guarantee an easy kill with rifle or with bow.

Easy on the hunter, but not the animal,
for just because he’s hit the prey’s not guaranteed to fall.
We get more for our money if he’s hard to track,
and war games are more pleasant when one’s foe doesn’t shoot back!

All these minor titillations just a prelude to
the main event and the most major way of counting coup.
Once all the good old boys are finding life is just a bore,
they round up all the younger men and send them off to war.

See how the valiant struggle, see their stripes and purple hearts–
apt pay for missing arms and legs and other blown off parts.
Lucky to be home at last and lucky to be living–
the products of that blood sport that just somehow keeps on giving

Repost of a poem from 3 1/2  years ago.  Crocodile photo new!  More to follow. The prompt today is entertain.