Archives for posts with tag: environment

crab pot (1280x851)
Elegy for a Small Island
    for JWP (1913-2006)
by Ann Howells

The blue crab sheds its pinching carapace,
and salty oysters breathe blue-grey water
in the exact spot where, in a one-room school,
you daydreamed waves. Your island,
less than one mile wide, three long, is gnawed,
silt spit into Great Shellfish Bay.

Cicadas drone a one-note dirge, dawn to dusk;
mosquitoes are roiling thunderheads.
Saltmarsh twitches with no-see-ums—ticks
and biting flies. It gulps down wanderers,
digests their bones. Archeologists
will someday find there was an island
beneath their shallow sea; they’ll display
primitive tools: dredge, seine, tongs,
ponder what forgotten deities you worshiped,
how you served them.

Nor’easters and hurricanes rage; waters rise.
You always knew water more powerful
than wind or fire, more powerful than man’s
tiny constructions. Nights are black molasses.
Days are beaded glass. The river is a polished
silver plate. And, this island is sand
that trickles from a flawed hourglass.

SOURCE: Originally published in Surrounded: Living with Islands (Write Wing Publishing, 2012).

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: The elegy was written for the island near the Chesapeake Bay where my father grew up. All of his children and grandchildren consider it their “ancestral home,” if such an unpretentious place can bear such a title. Our ties to the island are strong. But the tides are strong as well: erosion is stealing the land and environmentalists warn of rising oceans. We all understand that some day the entire island will vanish, and that only makes us cling harder. The poem is dedicated to my father, who lived and died there, who loved the land even more than we do. Though I no longer live there, the island is still my one and only home.

PHOTOGRAPH: “Island seen through crab pot” by Ann Howells.

Ann reads  for DPC 2

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Ann Howells’s poetry appears in Crannog (Ire), Lunch Ticket, and Spillway, among others. She serves on the board of Dallas Poets Community, 501-c-3 non-profit, and has edited Illya’s Honey, since 1999. Her chapbooks are Black Crow in Flight, (Main Street Rag, 2007) and the Rosebud Diaries (Willet Press, 2012). She has been read on NPR, interviewed on Writers Around Annapolis television, and has four times been nominated for a Pushcart Prize.

where the grass grows
by Mark Erickson

forever starling in the darkness
soaring high and settling for the low hills
fortunes eyes on the farthest
lands off the western slopes
in the gallery of the windmills,
five days spent in the wilds
almost half way there
lost in the savage memory of the sun
where she walks the streets
still graceful in her beauty,
along the shadowed light
it’s always been the same old story
in the coolness of the gray
and the frightful coming of night,
the last time I saw the birds
they were circling above
scratching for the words
that I could never think of

IMAGE: “Bird City,” mixed media on canvas (24″ x 24″) by Mark Erickson (2008), ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:  Artist/author Mark Erickson was born in Hollywood, California, and lives along the West Coast of United States. After growing up in Hollywood, his family moved to Germany and then onto Italy. Living in Europe for almost six years opened his eyes to art and words. On his return to the States, he settled in the Bay Area to study painting at the San Francisco Art Institute and the San Francisco Art Academy. Mark paints in his studio in Oakland and exhibits in galleries around the U.S. He continues writing poetry and short stories that often provide inspiration for his paintings. Mark has self-published numerous books on painting, photography and poetry in collaboration with Katy Zartl of Katworks Graphics in Vienna, Austria. He is presently working on a book, An Aviator’s Dream–The Man From Painted Woods, a tribute to his father’s Air Corp exploits in World War II. You can view Mark’s work at

IMAGE: Self-portrait by Mark Erickson, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

by Devshree Dubey

Gushing its way through seas
Meeting the swinging trees
Crossing the greener pastures
Violent wind dances in azure skies

Laden with thunder and storm
Many a shape it transforms
Upon the rivers and the valleys
In forests it enters stealthily

The boisterous wind in its might
Coursing its way delights
Violent wind, vibrant wind
Energizing lives, reviving mankind

Violent wind is never dulled
It breathes life in everything lulled
Violent wind moves and moves
Into the meadows and grooves

Fills insight with a rapture
Soothes spirit, sorrows capture
Fanning the fire raging
Reminder of seasons changing

Violent wind roars upright
Where are ye men of light?
In every temptation and trial
Unlike violent wind smile


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Devshree Dubey is studying for her Master’s of Computer Application from Jabalpur Engineering College (India), where her poetry has been published in the school’s magazine Abhiyaam. She has served as editor of the magazine released by the Department of Computer Science and Application, St. Aloysius’ College, Jabalpur, where she obtained her bachelor’s degree. Her poetry has been published in the college magazine The Aloysian.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: This poem describes the spirit of the mighty wind. While flowing, it changes the course of the weather and seasons. In its rage it asks us to be full of energy, enthusiasm, and courage. Wind is afraid of nothing and urges  us to follow its steps. The wind is a harbinger of hope and breathes life into everything.

by Pablo Neruda

Green was the silence, 
wet was the light
the month of June
trembled like a butterfly. 

SOURCE: 100 Love Sonnets by Pablo Neruda

IMAGE: “Little Butterfly” by Angela Doelling. Prints available at


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Pablo Neruda (1904-1973) was the pen name of the Chilean poet, diplomat and politician Neftali Ricardo ReyesBasoalto. He chose his pseudonym after Czech poet Jan Neruda. In 1971, Pablo Neruda won the Nobel Prize for Literature. Neruda often wrote in green ink because it was his personal symbol of desire and hope. Gabriel García Márquez called him “the greatest poet of the 20th century in any language.”

by Stanley Plumly

Some—the ones with fish names—grow so north
they last a month, six weeks at most.
Some others, named for the fields they look like,
last longer, smaller.

And these, in particular, whether trout or corn lily,
onion or bellwort, just cut
this morning and standing open in tapwater in the kitchen,
will close with the sun.

It is June, wildflowers on the table.
They are fresh an hour ago, like sliced lemons,
with the whole day ahead of them.
They could be common mayflower lilies of the valley,

day lilies, or the clustering Canada, large, gold,
long-stemmed as pasture roses, belled out over the vase–
or maybe Solomon’s seal, the petals
ranged in small toy pairs

or starry, tipped at the head like weeds.
They could be anonymous as weeds.
They are, in fact, the several names of the same thing,
lilies of the field, butter-and-eggs,

toadflax almost, the way the whites and yellows juxtapose,
and have “the look of flowers that are looked at,”
rooted as they are in water, glass, and air.
I remember the summer I picked everything,

flower and wildflower, singled them out in jars
with a name attached. And when they had dried as stubborn
as paper I put them on pages and named them again.
They were all lilies, even the hyacinth,

even the great pale flower in the hand of the dead.
I picked it, kept it in the book for years
before I knew who she was,
her face lily-white, kissed and dry and cold.

plumly ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Stanley Plumly was born in Barnesville, Ohio, in 1939, and grew up in the lumber and farming regions of Virginia and Ohio. His work has been honored with the Delmore Schwartz Memorial Award and nominations for the National Book Critics Circle Award, the William Carlos Williams Award, and the Academy of Amerian Poets’ Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize. He is currently a Distinguished University Professor and Professor of English at the University of Maryland. His poetry appeared in the Silver Birch Press Summer Anthology (2013).

PAINTING: “In the Meadow” by Claude Monet (1876)

by Marge Piercy

The first lily of June opens its red mouth.
All over the sand road where we walk
multiflora rose climbs trees cascading
white or pink blossoms, simple, intense
the scene drifting like colored mist.

The arrowhead is spreading its creamy
clumps of flower and the blackberries
are blooming in the thickets. Season of
joy for the bee. The green will never
again be so green, so purely and lushly

new, grass lifting its wheaty seedheads
into the wind. Rich fresh wine
of June, we stagger into you smeared
with pollen, overcome as the turtle
laying her eggs in roadside sand.

SOURCE: “More than Enough” appears in Marge Piercy‘s 176-page collection Colors Passing Through Us (Alfred A. Knopf, 2003), available at

IMAGE: “June Lily” by Paul Trunk. Prints available at


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Poet, novelist, and essayist Marge Piercy was born in Detroit, Michigan, in 1936. She won a scholarship to the University of Michigan and later earned a master’s degree from Northwestern University. She has published fifteen books of poetry, including Colors Passing Through Us (2003), The Art of Blessing the Day: Poems with a Jewish Theme (1999), Early Grrrl: The Early Poems of Marge Piercy (1999), What Are Big Girls Made Of? (1997), Mars and Her Children (1992), Available Light (1988), Circles on the Water: Selected Poems of Marge Piercy (1982), and The Moon Is Always Female (1980). She is also the author of a collection of essays on poetry, Parti-Colored Blocks for a Quilt (1982). Piercy lives with her husband, writer Ira Wood, in Wellfleet, Massachusetts.

dear dusty moth
by Robin Blaser

dear dusty moth
wearing miller’s cloth,
Sophia Nichols’ soft
voice calls wings
at dusk
across railroads
and sagebrush
to lull me to sleep,
‘Come to these window corners,
come, rest on my boy’s dreams
and flight,
come tonight

SOURCE: “dear dusty moth” appears in The Holy Forest: Collected Poems of Robin Blaser (University of California Press 2006), available at

IMAGE: “An Afternoon in Fall” by Michele Cornelius. Prints available at


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Robin Blaser (1925-2009), with poets Robert Duncan and Jack Spicer, helped spark the Berkeley Poetry Renaissance in the 1940s that preceded the San Francisco poetry renaissance of the 1950s and 1960s. Blaser is the author of numerous collections of poetry, including The Moth Poem (1964), Cups (1968), Syntax (1983), and Nomad (1995). His poetry and prose has been collected into three volumes: The Holy Forest: Collected Poems of Robin Blaser (2007), The Fire: Collected Essays of Robin Blaser (2006), and Even on Sunday: Essays, Readings, and Archival Materials on the Poetry and Poetics of Robin Blaser (2002). In 2006, Blaser received the Griffin Trust for Excellence in Poetry’s Lifetime Recognition Award. Two years later, The Holy Forest garnered the 2008 Griffin Poetry Prize.

by Craig Arnold

Your first thought when the light snaps on and the black wings
clatter about the kitchen is a bat

the clear part of  your mind considers rabies the other part
does not consider knows only to startle

and cower away from the slap of  its wings though it is soon
clearly not a bat but a moth and harmless

still you are shy of it it clings to the hood of the stove
not black but brown its orange eyes sparkle

like televisions its leg  joints are large enough to count
how could you kill it where would you hide the body

a creature so solid must have room for a soul
and if  this is so why not in a creature

half  its size or half its size again and so on
down to the ants clearly it must be saved

caught in a shopping bag and rushed to the front door
afraid to crush it feeling the plastic rattle

loosened into the night air it batters the porch light
throwing fitful shadows around the landing

That was a really big moth is all you can say to the doorman
who has watched your whole performance with a smile

the half-compassion and half-horror we feel for the creatures
we want not to hurt and prefer not to touch

SOURCE: Poetry (October 2013).

IMAGE: “Giant Silk Moth” by William Bartholomew. Prints available at


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Craig Arnold (1967– 2009) was an American poet and professor. His first book of poems, Shells (1999), was selected by W. S. Merwin for the Yale Series of Younger Poets. His second collection was Made Flesh (2008). His many honors include the 2005 Joseph Brodsky Rome Prize Fellowship in literature, The Amy Lowell Poetry Traveling Fellowship, an Alfred Hodder Fellowship, a Fulbright Fellowship, an NEA fellowship, and a MacDowell Fellowship. In 2009, Arnold traveled to Japan to research volcanoes for a planned book of poetry. In May of that year, he disappeared while hiking on the island of Kuchinoerabujima.

by R.T. Smith

Downstairs early to mill
the morning coffee,
I find the kitchen wall

beside the lamp
is littered with moths
exhausted from a night

of circling the globe,
as if its light were
the source of joy.

As I approach in slippers
they hardly flutter
but hold their postures,

perhaps in their small
thoughts counting on me,
a frequent dreamer

still drowsy from reverie,
to show them mercy.
Pouring the beans, then

turning the worn handle
till the brass gears growl,
I study every wing

design—solid, striped
or mottled. To the Greeks
they were all psyche,

spirit drawn to flame,
but this August morning
I wish, before they perish,

to revive us all
with the scent of chicory
and conduct them out

the kitchen window
singing their luminous
individual names.



ABOUT THE AUTHOR: R. T. Smith is an award-winning poet, fiction writer, and editor. The author of 12 poetry collections and a collection of short fiction, Smith is the editor of Shenandoah, a prestigious literary journal published by Washington and Lee University. His poetry and stories are identified with Southern literature and have been published in magazines and literary journals such as The Atlantic Monthly, Poetry, Southern Humanities Review, and The Kenyon Review.

Hemaris diffinis
by Karen Massey 

Her name is little creature is
“Hummingbird Moth”
O hover in a flower
and show off handsome colours
Friend crept up
for a better look
and felt a deep sense of
O moth of see-through wings
and daytime habits. Caterpillars
feed on variety. Adults
are on the wing in May.
O winged sphinx.
O Snowberry Clearwing.

SOURCE: “Hemaris diffinis” by Karen Massey is based on page 50 of Bugs of Ontario by John Acorn, Illustrations by Ian Sheldon (Lone Pine Publishing, 2003).

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Karen Massey writes in Ottawa, Canada. She has an MA, has published one chapbook, and her work has won local and regional prizes and appeared in a range of literary journals and anthologies. Recent online publication includes, and one of her poems was featured on the Chaudiere Press blog during National Poetry Month 2014.