Sunday, May 6, 2012

Birthday Walk

Some day my dogs think they will catch one of these . . .

What a day!

Garlic mustard, an invasive species that everyone is forever pulling out of the woods . . . I think we are losing the battle.

There is so much run-off from all the new homes and paved shopping plazas upstream, trees blow over in the slightest wind, and the woods have become pretty swampy.

The skunk cabbages love all that water. As do the mosquitoes.

I love the may apples. The flowers are under the umbrella leaves, so it's easy to miss them.

And of course the swamp buttercups . . .

We won the first battle against fracking under these woods. Now they are talking about logging the park for money. Most of the wood is so soggy, I am not sure even the loggers will want the wood. I am reminded of this:

Only when the last tree has died and the last river been poisoned and the last fish been caught will we realise we cannot eat money. ~Cree Indian Proverb

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Keeping Quiet

Keeping Quiet
by Neruda

Now we will count to twelve
and we will all keep still.

This one time upon the earth,
let's not speak any language,
let's stop for one second,
and not move our arms so much.

It would be a delicious moment,
without hurry, without locomotives,
all of us would be together
in a sudden uneasiness.

The fishermen in the cold sea
would do no harm to the whales
and the peasant gathering salt
would look at his torn hands.

Those who prepare green wars,
wars of gas, wars of fire,
victories without survivors,
would put on clean clothing
and would walk alongside their brothers
in the shade, without doing a thing.

What I want shouldn't be confused
with final inactivity:
life alone is what matters,
I want nothing to do with death.

If we weren't unanimous
about keeping our lives so much in motion,

if we could do nothing for once,
perhaps a great silence would
interrupt this sadness,
this never understanding ourselves
and threatening ourselves with death,
perhaps the earth is teaching us
when everything seems to be dead
and then everything is alive.

Now I will count to twelve
and you keep quiet and I'll go.

-from Full Woman, Fleshly Apple, Hot Moon
Translated by Stephen Mitchell

Lost in the Forest

Lost in the Forest
by Neruda

Lost in the forest, I broke off a dark twig
and lifted its whisper to my thirsty lips:
maybe it was the voice of the rain crying,
a cracked bell, or a torn heart.
Something from far off it seemed
deep and secret to me, hidden by the earth,
a shout muffled by huge autumns,
by the moist half-open darkness of the leaves.
Wakening from the dreaming forest there, the hazel-sprig
sang under my tongue, its drifting fragrance
climbed up through my conscious mind
as if suddenly the roots I had left behind
cried out to me, the land I had lost with my childhood---
and I stopped, wounded by the wandering scent.

I love Neruda. I love the linear quality of the trees here. And the hazy green light. I get a little dizzy and distracted by too many beautiful days in a row.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012


“You can cut all the flowers but you cannot keep Spring from coming.”
― Pablo Neruda

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Hotel Utopia by Robert Miltner

The word, thups, came to me a while ago, and I first thought of thups as something to blame the quirks of my personality on. I would just think--It's my thups that did that. One of my quirks is that I take personal credit for my friends' successes. I think of them as a reason to celebrate, a reason to have an extra slice of pie, cup of tea, wine, or whatever I wish for. (At least that's what my thups would do.)

My friend, Robert Miltner's wonderful book, Hotel Utopia, has just been selected as a finalist for the Ohioana Award. So I have been eating pie and sipping cinnamon tea.

Here's an excerpt from his poem, "Greed."

Feel it, sleek as a snake's skin, slick as a tongue, hot as a loaded gun.

Remember the red crayon your hand pinched from the box and pocketed so you wouldn't have to share it with the other kids? The desire, the gluttony for color?

Greed is lean as a skeleton's shadow and will change its shape to meet your needs.

Go on, it whispers in your ear, No one is looking.