My offering: three poems from the first week (plus) of participating in an ekphrastic poetry group this fall. Perhaps you might want to try your own poem or prose description for a painting or photo? Simply let go and see where your creative self travels, in the way of Kim Stafford whose adage I have posted within view of my desk: ” Writing poetry you have to skip light-footed just ahead of logical thought.”

Henri Eugène Augustin Le Sidaner “Small Table in Evening Dusk” (France) 1921

I’m With You Once More

Come back to the blue
round table for two
wine is breathing
water is reflecting

our fox trot glide
across constellations
every jazz step with you
one long embrace

Secret fling turned
lifetime of longing
for your touch gentle
upon my cheek

Taste of your lemony lips
upon mine after tea
never puckery our love
affair of the dusk

Note: “I’m With You Once More” title comes from “Begin the Beguine by Cole Porter. The full line is “I’m with you once more under the stars.”

Joseph Stella “Neapolitan Song” (USA) 1929

Shimmy or Straight?

there she goes again all
shimmy shake and undulate
waving her six palm fronds overhead

taunting every palmetto spike
not noticing the stalking spoonbill
edging ever closer to her swaying trunk

Spoonbill cut from paper mumbling
curses at whoever scissored
sumptuous coral feathers
into a sideways sliced radish

Me? I’ll keep on waving my fluffy kitten tail
plumed baby blue cotton candy
pointing up to the smoking muscled arm
erupting from the volcano

there’s danger in straight cut lines
where shadowland primeval meets a teal
ocean edged in lavender as if ending
all ambiguity. As if time were a one-way street

Spoonbill closes in. Ready to strike.
Palm sashays away as is the will and wander
of the curvy circling path

Behold. Goddess light showers
bewilderment of rays upon all beings
even the roseate spoonbill of bold yellow eye

in one blink, this canvas may splinter
apart. How do we find our one ephemeral lifeway?
Find comfort in our own skin?

I say shrug it off. Let the artist fiddle.
Accept our plight as plume, spike, or even
A ridiculous spoonbill all pretty in pink.

Clarion Alley Mural, San Francisco, by Scott Williams (Photo by Dimitri Loukakos) (USA) c. 1980s – mural about the animals which lived in the area before it was settled and became a city

A Child Named Fern

Rufescent brown bear sniffs
rippling orbs of the once clearest creek.
He’s nose to nose with a pike–
If only he knew hunger again.

Spotted salamander examines
Leopard frog commenting,
“Are we kin or sad ghosts
forgetting the hop and crawl?”

Immense chinook salmon lifts his fin
in a sideways wave of forgotten sunrise
inviting raccoons to the cornucopia
when there was plenty for all.

Night heron whispers to bittern,
“Watch out for that wood duck pair
about to glide right over your toes,
and how are you standing on water?”

Snake slide. Skunk family picnic,
The wary hare and blue butterfly
Rustle, fuss, fume and sigh in longing
below the concrete sidewalk

until one small girl named Fern-
because her mother loved “Charlotte’s Web”-
plunked herself down, ear to pavement
and heard what no one else noticed.

She began to blow softly on one crack
where a dandelion grew– until the walkway
split in two spilling well-heeled walkers
tumbling back into their childhood

and the animals waltzed right on up,
The creek bubbled and spilled
billowed, flooded, and began
the renewal that would save San Francisco

Many thanks to Laurel Benjamin, the poet who runs the ekphrastic poetry group, including choosing the weekly art and photos. I’m honored to participate (thanks to my poet friend Annis Cassells).

Gratitude to all who read and share my blog, too, as I prepare to head to Missoula tomorrow for the Montana Book Festival. You can follow my schedule for readings and presentations here: Halcyon Journey Book News.