CARELESS NATURE VERSE or something like …

Climbing ivy violates the tree, weakens its structure, and wounds its pride. Yet when oaks turn russet and leaves die, life persists in ivy’s evergreen foliage where overwintering, argumentative songbirds perch safe from storms on the woody lattice and gorge on the wealth of purple berries. 

Today, the skim of pond ice melts anew. The geese retreat from me, weaving a joint wake in the diamond pattern of an old-fashioned headscarf. I admire their water art until they merge, and their common wakes spread sideways to unfold like giant dragonfly wings intent on bearing them aloft.

After a storm, a bloody spot and torrent of gray feathers in the woods. A songbird surprised by owl, hawk, or raccoon amid the evidence of frantic rummaging for scarce forage, plaintive songs written in the snow by mammalian paws and birds’ tridental feet.

Nature’s peevishness in a December storm. When ice chips carried on the wind’s fury bite across the grain in the bleak landscape; when under this bitter onslaught the forest’s teeth chatter and its gaping mouths howl wolfish laments to the shrouded sky.

Expanding ice steers the mallards shoreward while the least weasels stare from a crouch of crystallized snow and fallen willow leaves, dead and gray like scattered titmouse feathers. // But ducks fly. What hazard to be carried aloft, jaws locked upon an iridescent throat?

Around us, an impenetrable fog with not a note of birdsong or frogsong. The pond of golden-eyes and swans is otherwhere, and we are invisible each to each, shrouded in nature’s benevolent stasis and immune to the glare of our candle sun.

Ode to the Pachyderm: The rhythm of your mind and tread of carbon footprint / Resound more fittingly than ours / You show reverence at graveyards / Face predators in stalwart unity / And care communally for your young. / Teach us now the true song of sociability. 

From a chaos of viridity sprout Sol’s beloved Miss Day-Lilies, proudly majestic in stunning velvet gowns. Their sedate and wispy rivals chafe in pedestrian petals, but with the Sunset Ball descends the curse. The Miss Day-Lilies wither under the glare of Night’s blackness.

Slow and steady along the dry bed of the River Nix goes the ferryman / No faltering over cascades, snags, or black-water grief / With his ark of hornless rhinos and weeping elephants / Tokens of the unabridged chaos / The ultimate desertification / of pity.

Enough of time’s accumulation / And the measure of human cruelty / Bells will be ringing on foxgloves / When they fall from the ankles of slaves / And tolling clocks will dance / From dandelion heads / When an instant of wonder / Is all we wish to spend.

Snowflakes articulated in dust, water, and cold, a crystalline language of elegant design and utter indifference. Compacted on the pond into a crust of undifferentiated ice except where three swans huddle, wings as tall as blown sails as meltwater heat creates brief sanctuary. 

To bake a homemade poem, sift out coarse words / Then toss in the velleities–a metrics of / Sensibility or regret; a rugged / Metaphor erupted from molted experience / Then separate the slurry into stanzas / That bridge minds and derandomize inchoation. 

A far-flung sunset pungent with color in long stratus clouds, narrow passages between ends and means and dawn. The eau-de-cologne of night’s romance silenced by the tubular tongues of hummingbirds at rest.

My lover, my household periapt of bone, sinew, and sketchy smile / Bought cheap from a pawnshop on the boulevard / Of butchered dreams / I love the way you lie beneath the white sheet / In sultry nakedness / And lie beneath the truth / With a disarming display of vigor.

Her ghost walks before her, her shadow trails behind / Thru the dismal slough of passions drowned / How long it took to come to terms with the / Imperfect self, off-hand loves, and casual cruelty. / Her ghost will rage in time but her shadow resists extinction. 

A shady metropolis without walls / Tree branches latticed / To catch suicided squirrels / And platform fragile eggs / A bare understory / Trafficked by chipmunk and bug / Inured to laborious gleaning / In the pollutions of fragrance / To foil hunter and prey alike. 

Hidden paradise in the stained-glass wingspan of monarchs in kingdoms of purple thistle / Placebo for tarnished hearts going under the microscope of doubt / Panacea for anguished souls undergoing the sly seduction of Thanatos. 

We forget paradise lost when conifers dropped needling instruction / And leafed tongues slant-rhymed in cats’ cradles of crescent moons / While crosswinds wooed entire forests into frenzied dance / Even young willows

and towering maples in the crosshairs of commerce.