Thereís nothing solid like a well-rounded stone
one that can be hefted and handled alone
those angular, brittle-sharp, cleft or chipped - can't be thrown
rather must be rounded smooth - like long-worn ancient bone.

When hand-held it feels right - those shaped by waterís hone
or worn long ages past by sand, constantly wind blown
whatever force eroded it, such wear tis shown
until became first tool of man - the simple stone.

Rocks and their off-broken spalls will never do
same of pebbles and gravel, not rounded true
of course sand and grit useless - shows too much hew.

Only one hand-sized, roundish smooth - query any boy his view
they know rich value of its keeping, ask - will quickly tell you.
January 7, 1999

Cold clear night with stars dimpled
sounds unheard, silence wimpled
sights withheld, darkness crimpled
out alone - stood upon earthen ground.

Stars gleamed as mere points of bright
Time felt lost, yet seemed but right
Space growing schemes, sacred-like
felt alone - until my Other found.
August 18, 1999

When those stars refuse to shine
lightnings streak as thunder's sign
rain falls both day and night
clouds cast - but meager light.

Foggy mists pervade the day
sodden clouds of dullish gray
cold damp and wet, never dry
neither bright nor warmth - brought by.

Foggy haze, gloom presumed
happy hopes found subsumed
til moods and miens begin to sink
desires wilt - as hopes slowly shrink.

Inclement rain, a curse of Fate
know brought on by chemic's stew
when such inner weathers brew
put all on hold - patiently wait.

Merely a change of weather
featured either foul or fair
hard as wet beaten-leather
or soft as new baby's hair.

What those fading stars left behind
morning sun gifts as warming's sign
til balmy winds soft-drift the day
know All tells all - that all's okay.
August 22, 1999

Pearled water festooned on ensnaring spider webs
sun-light recast as pendant jewels, like crystaled blebs
purled water gurgled, unknowing to whence its bold daring led
swirled eddies idled in confusion, thereafter - quickly fled.

Hurled snow night flung, glistened in morning's sun
whirled drifts 'round tree boles, high-wind's carving spun
soft-curled into folds, til roof and chimney appeared as one
unfurled beauty Nature proudly gifts - yet tis freely done.
September 29, 1999

Near placid waters where shore-lines edged pinely hewn
as sun's paled bright re-echoed off a full-moon
night's silence shattered by staccatoed cries of loon
short food supplies scattered - mid-night raid by coon.

Son and I camping within bowers of boreal growth
rid those anguished pains of a dear one's death - for us both
clear-cut cameos caught by eye and ear, still remembered
pristine Nature, Canadian Autumn - once Septembered.
October 17, 1999

Bare woods stands fully naked, at last disrobed all
leafy vestures unclasped, dropped to forest floor
Summerís show-time out of fashion, Autumn came to call
soon Winter will attend, weather-wear all - even more.

Tinseled leaves once tossed above drooping fronds of ferns
glittered for but a season in harsh sunlightís glare
casting speckled shadows, wind and sun taking turns
drifting midst floraís scant apparel - teasing's dare.

Its spring-time of beauty now worn down to hoary age
their beauty gone, drab grays - but blackened limbs grace the eye
shrunken shapes, withered features no longer season's rage
nearly nude, displays naked barrenness - to the sky.

Beauty for a season, much like Cultureís wanton waste
yet in Nature, Beauty never dies nor lose its taste
each season showing a different view, timely graced
cleanly cast by charm's display - yet always purely chaste.
December 14, 1999

Evening scheduled as late yearís longest night
shrewd minds infer - today shows briefest light.

Yearly display of Winter solstice, measured annually
accurately done by instruments instead of manually
tis why seasonals debuts now found on varied dates
unlike the past, all on twenty-first - then no debates!
December 21, 1999

Late night of a wee-morning's hour
full-moon whitish bright, though clouds lour
pristine shine of gentle moon - gave silent light.

But then came drift of fast scudding clouds - the fight
begins - beams blocked, though moon glowed fiercely stark
teasing battle fought between - light and dark.

Moonís bright pierced through those clouds, despite their deepened black
as slowly moves, its only strength - sunís reflected shine
vapored nimbus amassed, so else the more to pack
which will win, I watched - perhaps catch some hopeful sign.

In the end both lost, clouds dissipated by burn of morningís dawn
moon simply left the scene, traveled west until found fully gone
their battle over, those contentious moves soon forgot as vain
yet remember not the fight, but their beauty - before both were slain.
December 22, 1999

A tint of pale blue to emulate the sky
when April first uplifts their bonnie blossoms high
few inches tall above cold ground, left to shiver
thinly stemmed, dauntly danced - as daily quiver.

Stands tender-gentle, clustered in dense patches
early bloomer, observant eye soon catches
almost hidden as if shy, meek and fragile
need look closely - their beauty comes on gradual.

Unfound midst those taller plants Nature proudly grows
lowly sequestered early, after later snows
must look closely, blooming petals tinged with frail blue
unopen til early sun, wipes away morning's dew.

A playful flock of flora growing here about
slender-gentle, with manners meekly held devote
their displayings outlast for six to eight weeks
found mid-Spring, when late Winter's chill coldly speaks.

When seen, far more than a find - rather a feeling
attributes that please the eye, moods one with healing
cures that waste, late Winter weather leaves behind
a humble flora, yet proudly held - refined.

A Spring walk, when mid-morning sun fully risen up
seek that you may find, drink pale blue - from Natureís cup.
January 19, 2000

Are times when that whitish moon conspires
in alliance with whitened crystaled snow
casting traced images, til acquires
a perfect reflection thereon to show.

Full-moon held itself perfectly round
snow crystals coated hard-frozen ground
while standing tall in between - a tree
its shadow shadowed - perfect as might be.

Like a sentinel of the night, so statuette
upright ancient oak also stood statuesque
white snow shadowed its blacken silhouette
moon-light cast tree's portrait - picturesque.

At hour of twelve, both held equal lengths at that
with two dimensions, shadows spread out flat
yet oak held three, stood upright on this graph
as if shadow were but tree - cut in half.

But only for awhile, since moon was on the run
for at two oíclock, its shortest length briefly spun
til shadow slowly lengthened, drifting east as well
changing, gradually growing longer - I could tell.

When moon set at six, that shadow stretched
far beyond reach of level lain snow
its wimples thrown up-hill, could not be sketched
strange configurations - shadows show.

Til both conspiracies found out by night
as moon set, each condemned - setting all right
even snow felt shamed, no longer seen white
til clouds moved in - occluded remaining light.

Since tree still standing tall, no longer being shadowed by
evidence lost, jury found no reason to further try
yet I lost much sleep that cold night in mid-January
by conspiracy of a late nightís - lunar luminary.
January 22, 2000

A tint of pale blue that emulates the sky
when April first uplifts their bonnie blossoms high
few inches tall above cold ground, left to shiver
thinly stemmed, dauntly danced - as daily quiver.

Stands tender-gentle, clustered in dense patches
early bloomer, observant eye soon catches
almost hidden as if shy, meek and fragile
need look closely - their beauty comes on gradual.

Unfound midst those taller stems Nature proudly grows
lowly sequestered early, after later snows
look closely, blooming petals tinged with a frail blue
unopen til early sun wipes away - morning's dew.

A playful flock of flora growing here about
slender-gentle, with manners meekly held devote
their displayings outlast for six to eight weeks
found mid-Spring, when late Winter's chill - lastly speaks.

When seen, far more than a find - rather a feeling
attributes that please the eye, moods one with healing
cures that waste, late Winter weather leaves behind
a humble flora, yet proudly held - refined.

A Spring walk, when mid-morning sun fully risen up
seek that you may find, drink pale blue - from Natureís cup.
January 27, 2000

Gathered glints of dappled sun-light scattered by tossing leaves
brightly danced upon forest floor or sparkled on nearby stream
all else watched in silence, this grand performance Nature weaves
when for several hours mid-day, birds seek leafy shade - to dream.

Out and about midst my woodlands, rewarded by this dappled splay
took in Natureís beauty, salvaged an elsewise un-calendared day
when dancing sun-light performed in silence with such delightful play
of all that glittered there, but dappled-gold - all have need to say.
January 31, 2000

Air had to be just right
holding still - yet in flight.

Some up-draft enabled it long-hold there, yet close to ground
no need quiver wings, stoic-stay in place with their hover
easily viewing all below for what its hunger found
seeking wanted prey of mice or shrews - as ran for cover.

Calculate no more then twenty feet in height
early evening, red sky held with fading light
so long remained motionless, caught my sight
noticed driving by, at first - thought a kite.

For once that red-tailed hawk found its flight a breeze
cupped wings caught air's up-lift, letting some slip with ease
thus concentrate fully for what lay far below
its prey easy-found - fertile Nature might bestow.

In sixty years, oft seen hawks hover with wings aquiver
this a first, special scene Nature may seldom deliver
some might ask why this special, beauty of unflapped wings
would be asked by those unacquainted - with country things.
February 12, 2000

Woods displayed a circus of tail-flashing, hazardous leaps and whorls
sailing limb to limb, tree to tree - unthought risks by mating squirrels
even mice heard fighting and squealing within hollowed walls of my house
as amorous males contend or rejected - by unreceptive mouse.

Tracing recent snows, tracks showed patterned pacings of passioned habits
fields and woodís edge at night now alive with consorting rabbits
who knows what other species are busied, spewing seeds of begetting
rapid romps and wrestlings in the dark - night provides for such besetting.

Instinctively driven from evolution, genetics still trace
further extend or retain population of each specied race
breed til found fully bred, much as humanity occasions in bed
Spring-time breeding comes easy for creatures, since have no need to wed.
February 21, 2000

Neither sad, gay nor glad
for instinct all they had
all five milling in confusion
of her death - made no conclusion.

When came upon this scene
driving along - year's Spring
all seen in mid-highway
mother dead - left to decay.

Mid morning, no traffic about
logging truck killed, last night no doubt
just curious, pulled over - check this out
as stood there, five nosed my shoes with their snout.

Bent down, viewed smashed remains
instant death Chance ordains
walked back to my truck, but then - there detained
five followed my feet - smell now ingrained.

What to do, no way prepared to raise five baby skunks
how cute each were, tumbled my feet as if were drunks
if I reached down too fast, raised their tails - but nothing stunk
so walked down a logging trail - they followed with lots of spunk.

After gone a long way, took off shoes and socks
cut back through the woods, running like some jock
soon out-distanced them, reached my truck - quickly jumped in
then drove away - wondering what might become of them.

Yet of their motherís death, for them un-surmised
no sadness in their heart, so be agonized
purely instinct, Natureís way to survive
did not even realize - were alive.

At my motherís funeral, this scene came to mind
I too milled about, when news of her death came
viewed her in that casket, still tied to her by Natureís bind
days after, fumbled just like them - done the same.
March 19, 2000

When full moon first broke above woods beyond
its ghostly white paled upon dark lawn
since in the full, much like day - though somewhat tame
moonlight found much brighter, when dark night fully came
until sun rebirthed, thereafter unseen at dawn.
March 22, 2000

Without, dog lies curled nose to tail
catch sun's warmth at shedís corner edge
within, two cats curled cheek to jowl
catch sunlight splayed on windowís ledge.

Collapsed on sofa, lay she within
rays of warming sun thereby drawn
within, without - seemed paused in thanks
March afternoons - will rarely spawn.
March 29, 2000

Gutter gurgled at smoke-house cornered trough
despite its down-spout long been rusted off
spewing its gathered worth of water, roof-caught
beating sloppy tattoos - its spatters brought.

Strange sound seemed out of tune with gentle rain
for held such a timid chorus of but a single note
raucous chatter of gutterís steady drain
all-day affair of water music - Handel never wrote.
March 29, 2000

Eons spent beneath some shallow sea, slowly layered deeply
as time, heat and weight built its strength into dolomitic rock
then tectonic plates shifted, rumbled mountains uplifted steeply
again lazed long ages through - after time of brief lift and shock.

Ever worn and weathered, exfoliated by prise of ice
til came an urge once wedged too far, suddenly downward fell
hurled its tonnaged weight, smashed growth below - rolled once or twice
lying there ever since, centuried quiet - after that brief spell.

So far back in time, its loud fallage unheard by human ears
yet former ancient creatures heard its brief outspoken shout
thereafter only a silence outwore those ensuing years
but when it spoke, have no doubt did so - with emphatic clout.
May 4, 2000

As light of gladness grazed on what day-meadows hast
til blight of sadness stole thereon, wan shadows cast
midst beautyís glow, bleak barrenness caused light to fade
colored mixtures dappled there - bright amongst its shade.

What Nature gifts, unknows of such - reflecting but its wonders
tis we with feelings know, hearts quickly misses what loss sunders
dappled joys felt beauty seen in light brought of sun
yet beneath dark shadows cast, saddened thoughts likewise run.
May 9, 2000

Most forest trees yield blossoms, small with tender hush
bark displaying wan grays and black of wood's barren brush.

Yet midst that sparse green, bits of leafy white pinkly blushed
early Spring, when first flora found birthing fully flushed
unlike other trees, leaves burst forth before its flowers
dogwood first displays flowers white - in woodland bowers.
May 9, 2000

Across neighbored fields brisk breeze felt to blow
its passage noticed where rippled grasses flow.

Early Springís evening sky cloud-clear, sun casts orangy tints
all quiet otherwise, birds at roost - were these giving hints
of years far past, when traveled on arid short-grass prairie
first encountered endless flow of winds - brisk and airy.

Its constant stir upon the ear, tousled one's nerves and hair
 whisper secrets that prairie's days and nights have need to share
through both July and August, winds danced midst tall grass
now reviewed, through old age memoryís looking-glass.

Majesty of endless stands of grass and grain for miles
domeless sky above, whispered mysteries of Natureís wiles
remembered like some Elysian dream, standing there alone
all beheld made me seem insignificant - one left unknown.

Surmised how early Amerindians, who first dwelt these plains
could only respond with sense of Spirit, such grandeur ordains
soon fashioned winds, as but Godís caring presence among the grass
thus believed, til praised their Great Spirit - as long as winds shall pass.

Took place long ago, when one's youth felt free
both Time and future believed, as thought forever
til years brought age, molding me otherwise to be
eternal hopes fulfilled - with Deathís last endeavor.
That soft breeze now recalled, with its sad stirrings
stood alone, listening to air's moanful purrrings
reheard again, as gently rippled my neighbored fields
grateful what life reaped of winds - a prairie ever yields.
May 13, 2000

When evening early comes, because clouds ill-gathered black
then warring Thor does battle with bright lightningís flack
yet before all arrives, its stilled silence portends of Doom
despite blushing Spring bedecks leafy boughs - with bud and bloom.

Warm air stifles all quiet - like holding its breath
as if awaiting end of all alive, with Death
another face of beauty that Nature often shows
knowing clear weather will finally come - when evening goes.
May 22, 2000

When fluting wood thrush first awakens dawn
wintered juncos fly North, til all are gone
does with unspeckled young, no longer fawns
robins feed on fresh worms - of first-mown lawns.

When morns begin with warmth newly felt
stalked hawk-weed glows like bright butterís melt
field ripens oats or brown heads of spelt
cloudless sky, soft winds waving - bluet's svelte.

When sun early shows, long lasts - til nights felt brief
merely six weeks more, oats shocked in bundled sheaf
bald sycamores lastly unfold - their tardy leaf.

Weather moods of happiness, despite those times one grieves
til what Summer warmly birthed - harsh Winter coldly thieves.
May 26, 2000

Uncounted years before, til emerged first several few
filled out world with people, breedings long ages grew
such short time-span, yet far traveled - History makes known
began as but gas and rock - amazing what has grown.
June 7, 2000

Across deep valley rose those lofty Fells
as orange eveningís glow cast its magic spell
treeless pastures echoed faint kein-herd bells
of what does all seen hereby - have to tell?

Above far distant fields gray heather lies
crawling up mountainís side, their growing tries
here and there some solitary tree yet thrives
lone falcon searching for prey glides aloft - then dives.

Below where farmlands lay, more clearly heard
lowing cattle brought to barn, collie spurred
from fields plow-shares clink, scraping stones interred
til eve-time quiets those sounds of beast and bird.

Soon lamps lit to show at cottage windows, those facing West
or brought of lanternís light from barn to house, at last to rest
til bright gibbous moon found peeking above fell's high crest
when night comes, I remain - for star-sprinkles are my quest.

Such how day ends on cultivated lands of English fells
what have gathered from their viewings, far more than sight oft tells
scatterd memories gleaned, brought back by that aftermath of war
dreams of one's early youth's gave cause - my returnings for.
July 7, 2000

Of just a few counties found
picturesque convolutions of ground
eroded valleys flanked with sandstone cliffs
some still seen - eroding their ancient glyphs.

Stony structures within wooded terrain
to those unknowing, seems a bit arcane
monolithic palisades weather-worn
carving winds and water - past ages shorn.

Natureís remnant, past Ages threw
Stone Age beliefs, honored hands drew
antiquity of time-gathered stone
monoglyphs, recent science makes known.

Stone's furrowed wrinkles carved as glyphs
mysteries, professor's research sifts
obeisance - early man still gifts.
September 18, 2000

Again Fall arrived with those folklore-signs Autumn brings
clear sky, mild temps, sun bright - clarity cool weather flings
drew colder as eve dropped to dusk, til absolutely still
wood-fires filled valley with bluish smoke - neighbored chimneys spill.

When twilight spread what light left, into but darkened shadows
with silent flights, families of geese flew low above hedgerows
have yet to gather into flocks for their annual flight south
in awe of ancient mysteries - I looked up with open mouth.

Again sensed flight of Time, gathering age for what lies ahead
futures always a Pandoraís box, re-routes plans planned - instead
Summerís brood now fully raised, soon Nature will take Winterís rest
Fall a melancholy time, for deep reflections - always best.
September 21, 2000

Green leaves now fading yellow, as well as reds, purples - those brown
brought of Fallís wanning sun, though risen later - early goes down
when hoar frost quickly turned dew to rime, late cold nights comfirmed
in higher latitudes, know Autumnís Jack Frost has returned.

Wasting Summer's dying leaves and fronds, Spring's birthing brought to life
scattered seeds ensuring each species lives through cold Winter's strife
wear those dark months hidden, yet when Spring returns - resprouts anew
beauty of varied colors, gave reason why I came to view.
September 27, 2000

At terminal end of but a single stem
two brown, three yellow, one red - maple leaves held tight
those below still green, til first frost weakens them
chanced happenstance, some Autumnís mood brought to sight.

Two dead, four dying, those others on their way
gathered of a single stem, once fed them life
as cool breeze urged swaying branches to softly pray
grateful what life gave - four children brought of wife.
September 29, 2000

Night chilled with thin slice of slivered moon
clear sky bid star-glints shine without brume
unstirred air held silent, felt quiet as a tomb
as centuried thoughts re-emerged - ripened into bloom.

Emplaced far North, beyond glare of citied light
urban sounds unoffending those, that Nature might
for once pines were silent, held creatures mutely tight
Space sensed eternal, Time unfelt - but a quiet night.

A Canadian episode, when felt as one with All
neither before nor after-  experienced such pristine Awe.
October 2, 2000

Autumnís burlesque strip of leafen foliage has begun
twirling, spiraling downward, til their dance be done
freely flashing varied colors, flaunted with careless haste
once flush and fresh, now sere and dry - shedding their wanton waste.

Upon littered forest floor, their shriveled beauty finally cast
to mold and rot til are not, forgotten follies of their past
while trees above stood firm, resolute to outlast Winter's bare
a season's brief use of floraís life - yet tis only we who care.
October 9, 2000

That time of Fall when eve-times quiet-held
unless strong winds brew or storms left unquelled
perhaps an all-night rain to rattle down last leaves
til trees left denuded - by what Fall weather thieves.

Another face Autumn wears, oft held with melancholy
what Nature once brought to birth, Death found but lifeís finale
soon Winter will bury those leaves, beneath all that Autumn flung
future hopes awaiting Spring, avian songs heard - freshly sung.
October 19, 2000

The weathered gate that used to swing, last closed some score-years back
lane finally healed since, no sign of former wagon track
berry-brambles enlaced fence rails, high-held trellised thereby
two decadeís growth of dogwood trees - now up-grown thirty-foot high.

When path to woodís spring refound, searched its descending way
groundhog trails traced a bit, then found began to stray
flow-pipe rusted through, water untrickles now - barely seeps
basin fully silted in, unheard plop of green-frog leaps.

But did rediscover that wedge-shaped granite stone
years back, Fall plowing caught Simpsonís share - thereby thrown
head caved-in when hit another rock, died when hit
horses bolted trailing traces - hind fetlocks split.

Ancient cow-path's winding wear, finally disappeared
fields growing back to woods, new-growth volunteered
thence returned as wended in, re-climbed long weathered gate
Nature always wins, all one needs do - but simply wait.
October 20, 2000

Each season it happens, a given day or night before
unscheduled debuts, that follow dates - calendars ignore
some weeks before or after, solstice and equinox show
timed not with precision - much depends on how weathers blow.

Each coming season gifts a grandeur seen before
Springís first green, Summerís rain, Fall's dry - Winterís hoar
like childhood's Christmas - year's final encore.

Last night late, soft cold rains arrived shortly after dark
temps three weeks at seventy, quickly dropped cold-stark
lashing winds flounced tree limbs, shaking last leaves a-fly
morning came without sun-up - low gray clouds a-sky.

Temperature measured mid-forties, as damp winds howled the day
then firmly knew Winter early came, gray glooms prowled to stay
calendar claims October twenty eighth, but season-wise - Winterís debut
as sat by wood fire, second coffee cupped, tis of such - poets but review.
October 28, 2000

Those far reaches, new-learnings - natural science tell
things ever unseeable, yet known to cast their spell
should such be equationed, may hint something yet unfound
safety of stone-ground or common sense - now held unsound.

Has become a test of faith, learning by merely trust
hopeful our allegiance to vague truths, a certain must
as blind-like, grope among scattered wisps of hid-blank dark
finds science now merging with faith - 'twas how found the quark.
October 29, 2000

Its bark dappled ghostly white, ancient sycamore strangely shows
through passing seasons late-leafed, yet found early shed - grew for years
gnarled roots clutching river's bank, nurtured by water flows
hap to see it fall when river ran high - my thoughts rent to tears.

Toppled-fell, splayed-splashed, borne down river - only my eyes would note
life-long stood, roots quickly severed - dry wood allowed to slowly float
bank emplaced for two centurys, stoic withstood those passing years
not once strayed beyond where daily grew - now drifts where river steers.

High waters now a-flood, thence ebb some few weeks more
eventually tree found grounded upon a down-stream shore
limbs, trunk and roots wasting back to grains - life-long labored for.

Seeded two centuries back, growing tall til limbs swept edge of sky
its silence entoned by moaning winds, swayings - long shadows try
once stood tall, now lies prostrate, like all life - when downs to die.
November 5, 2000

Traveled with others who came to visit for twelve hours stay
Rusty greeted with tail a-wag, romped its friendly way
I only one would not accept, of all who made visit that day
yet understood, some chemistry smelt of me - Rusty would not play.

After supper all gathered outside, shared our thanks and good byes
last attempt with Rusty, I squatted down - looked in its eyes
Natureís chemistry now changed, for he slowly edged up close by
nosed then licked my fingers, gently patted his head - now not shy.

For creatures but self-guided by what mere chemistry brings by
when stood, Rusty did not scamper about me as if to try
but leaned against my leg, looked up at me tail wagging - why?
November 9, 2000

Cold Winter set in, snow encrusting ground
mice and shrews unseen, though still be found
falcon lured on by hungar's need of food
evolution gifting strength - keen and shrewd.

Then a sleeting storm beset late night, winds full-blown
empty stomach, falcon unfed - slept night alone
perched limb firmly gripped, close-held against oaken trunk
next morning found it ground-lain - but a frozen hunk.

Latent bacteria inside, consuming what will
when Spring returns, other microbes soon feast their fill
further wasting falconís cadaver, til left but feathered bone
in time, even these will slow decay - as Earth takes back its own.

As seeps in forest litter, eventually reused again
becoming tissued atoms, flora will refashion within
leaf, stem, frond or root, rebirthed once more - again alive
in Nature nothing goes to waste - Creation will survive.
November 10, 2000

Mid-November bedecked by frosty night, full moon aglow
another month before horned owls begin to hoot hello
their amorous season starts, wearing January through
silent night, filmy light, crispy air - crunch of frosted dew.

Mid-March snow full ten-inches deep, again moon showing full
most winter birds yet remain, though dawns show sunís northward pull
frost riming crispy grass, early morn hears few birds with song
dogwoods closely viewed, showing buds a-swell - Summer wonít be long.

Mid-July twilight warm and muggy, moon glows with orangy tinge
nights wear hot as day, til thoughts of noon-time simmers makes one cringe
few birds voice the day, prefer early morn or late evenings dim
twilight best to prowl Natureís show - when insects intone their hymn.
November 12, 2000

Gray, wan and gaunt, naked bare, straggly limbs lifted high
feet rooted within earthen dirt, yet upwardly reach for sky
yearning a light that graces all, capture what life brings
limp leaves arid Autumn cast, season's waste - Winter flings.

Leaves shed, seeds of burrs, nuts, pods or acorns ever fruitful
replace themselves with seeded scions, keeps their race youthful
still clinging Natureís breast, nourished by earthen worth
til each will die, yet midst their rot - new life will birth.

While we from afar, see their beauty graced with artful eye
as kindred creatures, gifting life to wear our years out by
much similar, more otherwised - both reach for that distant light
leaves for want of sun, we of  beyond, faith-hopes grasped - if we might.
November 12, 2000

As sun neared western horizon with its orangy glow
eternal diurnal winds slackened with meeker blow
heated fields cooled, updrafts ceased - felt but silent air
thinned to mere wafts, until natural sounds gentled there.

Night brought intonements insects hum, droned in growing shades of dark
last sliver of purpled light, self-quenched itself with final spark
star-glimmers first seen to the East, strung out across the sky
only buzzing insects heard, all else expressed - a silence by.

Thence that vast universe, inly felt far broader than of day
darkness blackened til flat prairies seemed, must unendlingly lay
high vaulted dome arched above, eternal depths one might explore
as if sailed some dried up sea - without wanted sight of shore.

Though aloneness crept within, yet felt caressed by prairie's care
drifting within this vast darkness, some closeness held me there
as one left alone, to taste that silence - like but me and God
bid my grateful prayer, as stood that night on short-grass prairieís sod.
November 21, 2000

Only chemicís tenacious grip, holds these few leaves yet retained
some genetic twist at stemís base, disallows its severance obtained
must await wonton wear of weatherís waste, til cuts last leaves loose
if not so resolved, will occur by next Springís - first surge of juice.

Soon cool weather will unravel reluctant leaves shed, blown far away
although long dead, finally untethered to lie and rot with slow decay
Nature's rule, death-gatherd down til buried like these leaves now portray
most will Winter rot, few await early Spring - such trees must obey.
November 21, 2000

Tones winds entune
bones dryly strewn
caves - deeply hewn.

Rocky crags high-held tall
talused slopes cleaved to spalls
dry gulches deeply cut
lost trails - showing ruts.

Meager want of flora growths
ageless lizards laze like sloths
rains seldom bled from sky
water rare - nowhere by.

Mornís warmth soon heats til hot
noon seeks shade sought of grot
evening's temps, pleasant quite
brutal cold - shivers night.

Time ungrasped, simply sensed as is
endless Space eyes forever quiz
silence whispers, echoes rebound
one's Spirit felt - most profound.

A silence ancient eons cast
abandoned wastes forever hast
holding mysteries within its sand
revealed to those - who understand.

A final refuge, no one escapes
harshness relieved by eroding shapes
best if viewed all day through long nights
Nature blessed - by its ancient rites.
November 22, 2000

Took four days to fence the neighbors woods out
four strands barbed-wire, locust posts staunchly stout
four turns of wire at end-posts, til full-twisted tight
long staples used, ratchet-stretched those wires - newly bright.

Cattle close-fed along its length, year or two kept mowed
til farming ventures shifted, changed, in time money owed
up for sale, bought by those with different use in mind
farm switched to a nature-preserve - flora-fauna's kind.

Pasture ungrazed, fields left unplowed - but unused vacant land
brambles seeding those fence-rows, until wild weeds grew full stand
weather turned wires to rust, now hid within stems of briar
twenty years after - fence still holds several strands of wire.

Its original use to fence cattle in, no longer serves its first intent
nor delineates whose ground belongs to whom, without each oneís final consent
wires rust til break, yet posts keep measured distance as first been assigned
duty may hold a few years more, then they too will lean or rot - unaligned.
November 26, 2000

Rare mixture of weathers came, rain, sleet, snow - finally fog
unsettled shift of airs warmth and cold, like urban smog
wet snow turned to rain, back to sleet - afterwards snow again
til low creeping fog soon vaporized - back to what had been.

As might wear out thermometer's mercury held within
some war waged between climatic forces, see which may win
as of now, sleetís losing to rain - fog has finally fled
but is only noon, after lunch - surmise what weather bred.

Another phase of frozen spheroids fell as hail
lasting but briefly, then all except the fog turned-tail
its misty damp pervading all, mere shadows whispy blear
til what be seen vaguely showed - smokey vapors ghostly drear.

When night arrived, fog's filmy fingers glowed in the dark
of what will the morrow bring - with rising sunís birthing spark?
November 29, 2000

Whenever some hominid first caught the Spiritís touch
perhaps dimly noted, simple hint of hope or such
inly traced, clutched within that mind - remembered there
through guttural grunts with others - began to share.

Thus began a diversity unique to each human soul
run the numbers out to infinity, would not reach its goal
each life gathers leaves of varied kinds, shapes, textures, colors, clime
its numbered count endless - beyond unknown span of Space and Time.

Of course tis true of every atom, Nature learnings teach
encoded with traits of where and when, each unique
seldom meet another person nearly kindred, as if alike
and never will, of every ilk, black, white or gray - different quite.

Hence something special found in everyone - someone to love
bears uniqueness they contain, no other holding of
when am Heaven held, spend several endless infinities through
meeting all those different people, hope first one I meet - tis you.
December 6, 2000

After a Winterís day, warmed roof-held snow
to melt and flow
til nightís frozen chill, quenched it quite
held eave-edge tight.

Next morningís sun shown with peculiar bright
of dazzled light
all night-long grew, watered trickles
into icicles.

At roofís brink, this natural ornament hung
frozen snow had strung
morningís warmth, remelted its layered lip
with their constant drip.

Mud-cratered below, where each dripping drops
formed with dimpled plops
til by noon-time, found fallen - dead-centered hit
speared that craterís pit.
December 8, 2000

In long buried rocks Time wove, ageless histories compressed
across uncounted range, Space shows,
 endless light-years transgressed.

Birthed beneath bone of skulls, Nature stirred - evolution impressed
beyond all these, man forever dreams those hopes
their Spirits guessed.
December 9, 2000

How soon tomorrow becomes today
shortly after found as yesterday
measured spacings we allot for Time
oft thought upon - in oneís aging clime.

Winter lost by burst of Springís emerging growth
a refreshing return, sworn by Natureís oath
season soon blends to Summer, two seem but one
stirring one's blood - with time enough get things done.

Its natural end, gleaned by dry Autumn's impending harvest
another season sensed too short, six weeks briefly compressed
whereafter, Winter's cold hands do battle with Autumnís ripened hoard
Winter always wins by lack of light, quenching sun's heat - Summer poured.

Time and its seasons, so like life - from birth to death
charge with different aims, measures each lifetimeís breadth
as yesterday quickens with today, then becomes tomorrow
exchanging what have gained, for what is yet to come - quid pro quo.
December 12, 2000

As winterís windy chill stirs beneath gray-laden clouds of sky
birds hid in yew and fir, make frequent trips to feeder near by
brittle nip of winds, chased straggling leaves across encrusted snow
harsh weather rules the day, Natureís kneeling posture tells - tis so.

Creates feelings earthen-facts learned, shared or taken
mere shadows lost in dim light, gray sky has shaken
past episodes forgotten, of no purpose - yet all led to now
what lies beyond awaits unknown, will such become - should morning bow?

Know some dark night may descend, when Time found frozen
quenching future light, where hopes cannot be chosen
predicted dawns forbidden, after-days never given birth
an endless night found heat lost, til dying hopes froze all life on Earth.

Closely crouched, awaiting without wanting - unknowing what they felt
as life slips beyond oneís awareness - til frozen hopes slowly melt.
December 17, 2000

Rigid silence of frozen brilliance, night's full-moon bright
sparkled on crystaled snow, sharply reflected its glittered white
scratched by shadowed blacks, barren trees cast as silhouettes
moonlight's beauty gifted winter fields - picturesque.

Natureís magic portrayed in silence, sounds quenched fully dry
a surreal world found textured black and whitely by
as if Earth died without a cause, full moon mourned with its glow
so remote, stars unseen - only lunar's orb dared to show.

Long stood there viewing all this from an opposing hill
nocturnal beauty enraptured me, despite sharp chill
pondering such artistry Nature drew, of what might tell
Winter frozen silent - when moonlit magic cast its spell.
January 12, 2001

Not long after darkness fell, crescent moon emerged in view
far from city lights and din, quiet held - ice-frozen slough
mid-winter lay upon the land, depth of snow two foot deep
for most alive, man or beast - soon found abed wanting sleep.

If could have braved the cold, rabbits in frolic would be spied
far down those pastured slopes, if waited - perhaps some fox eyed
a night mute-still with its silent winds, as if nothing stirred
uncounted hours pealed, when distant church-chimes hourly heard.

As moon slowly stole higher up the sky, brighter became
clearly showing woods, even dim borders fence-lines proclaim
pristine portrayal of unbuilt Nature, so picturesque
its peacefulness left unjarred - revealed nothing grotesque.

Thence began intonement of Januaryís annual play
mating season of Horned Owls, would now have their anxious say
clear hootings drifted across frozen woods and fields
nocturnal orchestrations, owl-love sings - Nature yields.

I oddly noticed, when chapel bells gave out their measured chime
owl calls ceased, as if were entranced by its hourly call of Time
thus of owls and bells, each gifting winter's night with music
enraptured those with ears to hear, such simple sounds - unique.

Here felt Natureís beauty, something each prayerful human should crave
though requires some fortitude, enduring cold Winter gave
til finally grew more concerned of that brought by cold Winterís chill
feet on crusted snow disturbed its silence - as came down that hill.
Who would have thought two score after, a Winterís night - again late
some place far elsewhere, again stood to listen by wood-lot gate
depth of snow beneath a crescent moon, air dead-still - country held
heard magic from former times, gifting me - as one Nature spelled.
February 6, 2001

Yes, that wonder of it all
so far out yet fast its fall
vanished as if not had been
nor soundings heard - of its spin.

Those that twinkle, sensed further far
reveals a far distant star
but should one shine with solid light
are planets - in orbic flight.

Whereas moon holds a mottled face
monthly makes its trans-orbic race
yet sometimes not seen at all
elsetimes - a full glowing ball.
February 28, 2001

Naked bare, teasing winds unraveled dying leaves
mood foul weather brought, of its lost foliage - tree grieves
beneath dormant pines tinged yellow-dry, lie fallen weeds
remnants of life's sustaining tissues - no longer needs.

Winter birds still grovel midst wan wastes, with hopeful eye
seeking seeds Autumn cast, or 'neath tree-bark - where bugs lie
wearing Winter's barren season through, til Springtime bids them go
life's worth unlost at death, gathered scraps future lives - need to grow.
March 3, 2001

There paused to view an open space, ancient tree once held
balmy mid-March afternoon, before dogwood buds swelled
no leaves heard to rustle, nor nervous scampers chipmunks make
only that silence, dark shadows weave - left in sunlight's wake.

Hidden by brambles re-growing, since tree was cut
half-notch still remains, tree's size signified by stump's butt
like a grave-marker, indicating where it finally died
remains of rotted limbs scattered round - space re-opened wide.

Though gone for seven years, its remaining remnants show
in that clearing long shaded, now only thickets grow
until in future years - tall trees again will show.

Since branchings searched where sunlight could not hide
neighbored trees held no limbs on inward side
those inner limbs barely grown, dark shade had denied
once more reached out for sun's light - new growth would provide.

As that gap widens, giving vent to open sky
sign of tree's mastery, still growing tall and high
of Nature's innate ways, knowing nothing grieves
in my thoughts, heard echoes - of its tossing leaves.

Considered how long stood there, years out-grown before
ascertained from tree-rings count, perhaps several more
its day in the sun gone, yet all about wears its bent
biologically remembered - ancient tree once lent.

Another score of years, gap to sky will close in
in the end, sunlight assures floral growth will win
stump rotted back to soil, pale toad-stools growing where
from single acorn ages past - birthed tree's growing there.

Every presence makes influence on those grown nearby
limits that strength of others struggling there closeby
mid-March day, stopped and stood to gaze before walked on
recalling old friends likewise taken down - finally gone.
March 13, 2001

When long drenching rains should sudden cease
quiet silence heard of inner peace
saturated earth cleansed by rain's effect
there porch-side sat - time taken to reflect.

Dampness smelt, as drippings dry to drips
bird-calls returned when rain finally quits
rain a certain joy - if country bred
more than nurtures Nature - one's soul tis fed.
March 28, 2001

Storm-clouds of gray now far-past traveled
fallen branches, torn leaves left raveled
sodden soil, dampish air, ditches full
after all that rage - left behind its lull.

Thunder still rumbles, yet with muted cry
cracks of jagged lightning streaks distant sky
while here, somber stillness deftly heard
drenched leaves and limbs, drippings - their only word.

Misty clouds, hidden sun yet held at bay
rains left behind fresh smells, brief wetness may
mist later thinned til dried as sun came out
thence birds began to sing - absolved one's doubt.
April 5, 2001

Sculpted into varied shapes, clouds drifting by
refashioned from visions brought of eye
til evolved some other image, or none at all
shapes drifting across the sky - clouds strangely scrawl.

Game children play should weathers allow
cloud-formations, drifting winds endow
simple pleasure porch-held, children dream
Nature freely gifted - cloud-shapes scheme.
April 10, 2001

Between matted leaves flattened from Winter's snow
green fronds of Spring Beauties first begin to show
thrusting tiny stems, flowered with early bloom
sun's warmth fertilized - quickened their earthen womb.

Between matted leaves, wakened from Winter's frost
pale thrust of Morels, to most eyes are lost
nudging through the night with its honey-combed head
disguised by matted leaves, alive - though looks dead.

Between matted leaves paled from Winter's rot
peered large black eyes, deer mice searchings sought
vibrissae quivered, smelt scents brought of air
thence scampered on - after took time to stare.

Between matted leaves, Spring rebirthes anew
emerging insects bid their first debut
as tendrils of tender green probed the dark for light
where matted leaves lay hidden - deeply out of sight.
April 11, 2001

When time had worn ancient road beyond its need
faint wagon tracks overgrown, til fully treed
abandoned back to owners, whose lands still own
when time outwore travel's need - forgottly known.

Nature quickly heals scars, old Cultures cast
struggled works of human labors seldom last
in the end, landscapes reshaped quite otherwised
changes man remade - Nature left undisguised.

That road closed twenty years ago, once walked when a boy
elysian days of childhood, when life felt pure joy
dared adventures taken midst those wilds, Nature hid
as wandered down an ancient road, found lost - when a kid.
April 18, 2001

When April brought drying thaws, allow soils newly tilled
blades of plow delved, discs sliced with harrow's mincing teeth
placement of seeds folded under, with those hopes - farmers willed
after long awaiting, burst of kernels - birthed beneath.

Work long labored by, despite what weather wields
season finally reaps - what their harvest yields.
May 15, 2001