Winding up September with rich experiences–from my book tour via Missoula, Spokane, and La Grande to hugging giant amber ponderosas by Fall River; “In the Landscape” classical music on the Warm Springs Reservation; and belted kingfisher rapture by Rattlesnake Creek, the Deschutes River, and Fall River headwaters in light rain–my journal ripples with scrawled entries, poem attempts, and aphorisms. Meanwhile, the Ekphrastic Poetry group continues to inspire (see my earlier September blog). The image follows each poem.

Bird Girl Leaps

Not afraid. Takes the dare
She’ll show her big brother,
His friends too

Pushes off. Arms wide as wings,
Fingers feathering a crisp
city breeze

Braids bounce. Wool jacket
held by one button. School dress flying
up like freedom

Eyes focused down. Mouth open.
Knees up. Patent leather shoes all shiny
for the jump

What would mama say?
Just what she taught her—
“You go girl. Lead the way!”

Mary Ellen Mark “Girl Jumping Over Fence, Central Park, New York City” (USA) 1967


Anger lashes her long tail
Furred, muscled, and enraged

Sunflowers whorl in a cobalt sky
Seasons converge in a disarray

Strewn flowers call their names
among the cacophony

Forget-me not, red poppy,
Pearly everlasting

Tree branches clatter and burst
Autumnal colors come too soon

Winter winds toss hailstones
bearing iced-over hearts

Melting polar ice caps raise
the seas gasping in heat

Spiraling hurricane strikes Florida
Pummels palm trees and people

Anger leaps claws outstretched
Yellow eyes focused on her prey

This time she will not miss
before time runs out

Odilon Redon “Trees on a yellow background” (France) 1901

Ephemera (prose poem)

The mist sighs his longing. Balancing upright in a seedpod boat, he dips his pole and glides across dark waters. Droplets mingle with tears. Soon he will slip into the pearlescent path of the sun. He loves the way fog feathering away at dawn lifts him closer to the spirits of his ancestors. The way the breeze sifts the dangling tree limbs. Here in this ephemeral limbo, he is no longer grieving. No longer cleaved from his mother and grandmother. From across the bay, a kingfisher plies her radiant wings of turquoise. Arrowing toward him like a loosened shard of a rainbow, the halcyon bird gifts him with a whistled phrase. Happiness roots first in his fingertips, twines up his arms, leafs across his body, and blooms. He is the lotus floating in the arms of the sunrise.

Don Hong-Oai “Winter Fog, Vietnam” (Vietnam) 1974

Georgia O’Keeffe

In the dawning she comes
with her palette of ochre,
bone, cinnamon,
and shadow

Kneels upon the crisping
blanket of fallen leaves
once tender and green
as budding love’s curiosity
at the first touch
of sunlight

She chooses the rounded shapes
reminding her of pelvic bones.
Why this attraction
to the skeletal?

Georgia muses upon her truths
laid bare so often upon desert sands
exposed, bleached, and stilled.

Stacking each oak leaf
curve upon curve forming
teardrop windows, at last
she raises her brush
dips into her paints
and begins.

Georgia O’Keeffe “Leaf Motif No. 2” (USA) 1924

Thank you! Happy end of September. I have a busy month of presentations for Halcyon Journey: In Search of the Belted Kingfisher— Jackson Hole Bird & Nature Club (October 11, Zoom); Rediscovered Books & Golden Eagle Audubon Society in Boise (October 13, in person), Vermont Family Forests (October 23 in person), and Oakshire Brewing with Tom Titus in Eugene (October 29 in person). See my calendar here.