Fiddlehead Fern Plays An Early Note

Here’s the 7th installment of winter Haikus. My goal: a total of 107 Forest Haikus and mini ‘coyote’ poems over the winter, sharing in groups of 10. (See the others: Cricket’s Eye Point-of-View, Being Stalked By A Forest, Wings Like Boomerangs, My Tent is Leaking Haikus, Always Coming and Going, and Dancing Naked In the Rain)

IMG_7830Nettles in my cup
eastern light slides over plum
blossoms popping white

In a morning mood
a choir of coyotes
sing the winter morn

Early second moon
haikus in the morning frost
jays write them better

Mushrooms emerging—
A Potawatomi word
has it: puhpowee!

Pink in the morning
white and yellow with the sun—
daisy eyes open

Music of the woods
fiddlehead of lady fern
play you on my tongue

A fiddlehead fern
early note of forest spring
makes a tasty treat

On the edge of flight
will she jump out of her nest,
Little fledgling moon?

February moon
caught in the branches again
will she ever learn?

Cold night, morning frost
only thing hot is my blood
on a low boil

Mid-winter dream:
liberation by solstice
But first—bad habit



From the Throat of Your Own Bones

heart earIn the countless echoes of the night
the hearing happens:

you know the whisper
because it comes from the throat
of your own bones

A dangerous syllable
slick with lightning blood

If today is not the day for hearing…

That ancient song of earth
sings itself in your animal subterranean

thrusting leaf crimson
and fertile debris
while the wind creature unfolds
and hugs your ribs
at midnight
speaking the images
trying to break out

Hear you not the
shell spiraling upward
in indigenous sea sounds
of magenta mellifluous?

The way in opens with each step

If today is not the day to feel it…

If today is not the day
to turn an ear towards your
bones exquisite…

Crack of ice flow
River walking out of the
depths into your present

If today is not the day….

When is?

A Currant Affair


Pink-flowering Currant (Ribes sanguineum glutinosum)

A mid-winter warmth wins your hand
and draws you out for pendulous play
to blossom right in front of me
a dream of pink in light of day

Draw me in your inflorescence
Draw me in with all your senses
Draw me with sweet sagey scents and
Draw me in with rosy fervence

Fragrant is your dangling racemes
bunching grapes of blushing dreams

Your pretty little grape does dangle
in morning dew at such an angle
I want to pluck but dare not do it
perhaps the spring brings ripened fruit

I want to be a tiny ant
and on my tongue take in the sweet
But I’ll wait a little longer
and savor all your lovely treats

Coffee berry is your partner
the ruby-throated loves you too
a sparkle in the green and grey
it doesn’t take you much to woo

Grow in flow of warming current
purple berry in longer days
I want a taste, Sweetest Currant
before the birds take you away

The Down and Up of It

descentBetween the building up
and tearing down
there’s a canyon thin
as laurel leaf
wide as Turtle Island

I used to flail in the gorge
nearly drowning in dark waters
cracking my pretty head on rocks
collecting bruises like bees gather pollen

Then I learned to leap across
or build a skinny bridge–
a fast but dishonest way

So I relinquished shortcuts
and learned the down and up of it
and joined the ancient apprenticeship
of descent and ascent

hopping boulders like some
drunken wizard of the mountain
jackrabbit of all shades, master of sun

I’ve lost track of how many times
a day I carry water between
my letting go and claiming–
thirsty in equal measures

But sit here satiated on lichened stone
walking between the horizons
of all my risings and settings

The puddle’s muddy,
and sometimes the muddle’s puddy,
but the surface is a mirror
that doesn’t lie, reflecting

a sun that’s ripe for plucking
like an unlikely winter plum
drifting like a scent in the wind
and a moon that’s always sliding out
from between her prison bars
ever flowing her unfolding

No Time For Fly-overs

flyoverFor the fly-over poets,
politicians and preachers,
we’ve got no time

For the generals
and over-reachers
we’ve got no time

Let us look into the soles
of their feet on the ground

Let us see the reflection
of the silvered moon
in their exclamation point eyes

Are the bright windows burning?

Show us the scratches on their calves
a sting on their arms,
Have they walked along their path?

Let us hear a sacred song somewhere
from behind their sternum
however deeply buried

a song for the child
a song for the trees
a song for the water
a song of belonging
a song of together
a song with dirt on its lips

let us hear it,
let us hear that,
let us hear THAT,
and we have all the time
in the world

The hour is late
we don’t have time for the fly-overs

‘Shroom Forest

IMG_7510If I were shrunk
and found myself
the size of a seed

I’d build a home among the ‘shrooms
in a village called Puhpowee*–
the Potawatomi word
for the force which causes mushrooms
to push up from the earth overnight

I’d wake and wash my face
in the dew drop
that collected on my mushroom cap roof
every morning

and would hold little gatherings
among the grandmother grove of mushrooms
bigger than all the rest (more than 3 inches tall!)
with an altar of spores
and even tinier seeds
of every stripe and hue

And we’d have a little fire
which we’d start
with a single redwood needle
twice my size
so I’d need to find
a nice ‘shroomy girl
to help me break it down
and light it

Then all us fungi villagers
would sing mushroom songs
around the tiny flame–

folksy songs about lichen and love
and what it would be like to
be big like a fern
among the giant redwood trees

and after the fire died down
some of us would stay behind
and tell stories
about our first time

and about sneaking into Mr. Psilo’s
big mushroom mansion
and how he was bald-headed by age 30
saying how we hope we never got that old
but if we did, well, we’d promise each other
we’d stay young at heart
and always caper about in the woods together

and never, ever get so old
that we wouldn’t stick our bare feet
in the cold creek
and on the soft ground
and put our arms around
each other and our
our mushroom tree homes.

That’s what I’d do
if I were the size of a seed.

*Puhpowee is from Robin Wall Kimmerer’s gorgeous and inspiring book, Braiding Sweetgrass. Potawatomi is a member of the Anishinaabe language family.