Archives for posts with tag: plants

licensed giles bizet

Giverny
by Chris Precise

I was a guest in Claude Monet’s home for a dewy day. It was a beautiful oasis, tucked away in the countryside behind dripping wisteria and giggling daffodils. A woman in one of his paintings called to me in the study. She held a parasol and stood at the crest of a hill’s rolling wave of endless green, rising above it as though weightless. I almost reached my hand out to her to pull me through the canvas into the frame mounted on the wall. I imagined myself closing my eyes and dissipating into the hues of the paint to become the strokes of the brush, where I would play a larger role in the grand scheme without worrying about someone getting too close to find detail in me that I could not find in myself.

The Woman with a Parasol allures me still. On the days where I wish to melt into the background, I can see her featureless face blending into the vast blue sky behind her, telling me to come with her. Instead, I roll over in my bed and lose count of the bountiful brushstrokes that make up my body without knowing where one ends and another begins.

Light yielded itself upon Giverny as the time came to depart for home. While the countryside faded into the background, the woman in the canvas did too. Her perpetual motion up close became suspended in time as the distance between us increased on my return to Paris, and the mirage of our likeness evaporated. I am not the touches of frozen oil slowly achromatizing as the years counted themselves. I am my own Impressionist canvas, speckled with the soft colors of my survival and bearing light for harvest. I am here.

PHOTO: Water garden at Claude Monet’s home and garden in Giverny, France, by Gilles Bizet, used by permission.

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NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: The theory of les touches in Impressionist period art, the touches of the brush on the canvas, fascinated me, the visible strokes created through the mastery of Monet, Renoir, Degas. They bent light at the whim of their brushstrokes, gods birthing new universes I so desperately wished to be a part of. Lately, I have been trying to find a sense of self: a facet of identity or defining memory that will ground me into a sense of who I am. Until that day, which may come tomorrow or 50 years from tomorrow, I will be satisfied with the process of making my own oil paint touches as I construct an image of my being.

IMAGE: “Woman with a Parasol” by Claude Monet (1886).

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Chris Precise is a Black nonbinary scholar-writer-activist in the making. Hailing from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and a current student at Swarthmore College, they study Black diasporas around the globe and enjoy reading Black feminist and DuBoisian theory. Much of their narrative and creative nonfiction writing rests tucked away in tattered Moleskine journals, but they aspire to soon share more of themself and their stories with the world. For more, visit preciselychris.carrd.co.

licensed funnerusImmigrant Waves
by Lowell Murphree

They aren’t much, I know
so very little

coming and going like that
foreign and undependable

a little movement
at the tip of a long Cheatgrass stem

the string of them along
my canal go mostly unnoticed

but this stand alongside the neighbor’s
pasture fence

is the Pacific
subducting at the Coast and

rising in the body of a
Mongolian immigrant stem-waver two hundred fifty miles inland

just as did these hills twelve million years
before we tried to close the borders.

PHOTO: Pictured are Central Washington’s Kittitas Valley, the town of Ellensburg, the Yakama River, and the Manastash Ridge. Photo by Funnerus, used by permission.

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NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: Central Washington’s Kittitas Valley is known for its frequent strong winds that sweep down the eastern slopes of the Cascade Mountains to the flat land across the Columbia River. Watching the Cheatgrass move in waves along a canal bordering my home was the inspiration for exploring how external forces shaped and continue to form and shape my homeland. Manastash Ridge is a long ridge extending eastward from the Cascade Mountains in Central Washington State. These ridges rose from the earth’s volcanic activity 12 million years ago as a result of the subduction of the Juan de Fuca Plate under the North American Plate which also pushed up the Olympic and Cascade mountain ranges.  They are a spectacular part of the drive eastward from Seattle toward the Columbia River. Manastash Ridge forms the southern border of the Kittitas Valley where I live, a desert valley made verdant by irrigation canals constructed largely by immigrants who settled the valley with the coming of the railroad. Cheatgrass was introduced to the Western states from Eurasia, used initially as packing material and is considered an invasive species.

PHOTO: The author at home in Central Washington’s Kittitas Valley with Cheatgrass and the Manastash Ridge behind him.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Lowell Murphree lives and writes in the Kittitas Valley near Ellensburg, Washington.  He works with local and regional early learning nonprofit organizations as a grant writer, board member, and volunteer.

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MONSOON SEASON

by Veronica Hosking

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IMAGE: “The Beauty of the Desert” by Saija Lehtonen. Prints available at fineartamerica.com.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I chose to write about monsoon season for my half year poem, because the rains come in July and bring life to the desert plants. I also enjoy writing concrete poems. This poem can be read two ways depending on whether you start from the left cactus branch or the right one.

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 ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Veronica Hosking is a wife, mother, and poet who lives in the desert southwest with her husband and two daughters. Her family and day job, cleaning the house, serve as inspiration for most of her poetry. “Spikier Spongier” appeared in issue two of Stone Crowns magazine in November 2013.  “Desperate Poet” was published on the Narrator Central website and reprinted in volume four of Poetry Nook in February 2014. Veronica keeps a poetry blog at http://vhosking.wordpress.com

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THE RISE AND FALL OF LIFE
by Margaret Towner

The three-tiered plant hanger
is on the patio where my mother
could see it from her chair
when she was still living
in the house. Barb hung it high
last year and placed three
bright pots of graduated size:
one white flowering plant
at the top, in constant bloom,
a jade plant in the middle
always pale green, and finally
a red blooming succulent
with flowers that come and go.

“The Rise and Fall of Life” and other poetry by Margaret Towner appears in the Silver Birch Press Green Anthology — a collection of poetry and prose by over 70 authors living in the U.S., U.K., Canada, Europe, and Africa — available at Amazon.com (Kindle version free until 12/21/13).

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AUTUMN HAIKU
by Matsuo Basho

banana plant in autumn storm
rain drips into tub
hearing the night

ILLUSTRATION: “Banana Leaf,” photograph by Lyle Hatch. Prints available at fineartamerica.com.

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THE GERANIUM 
Poem by Theodore Roethke

When I put her out, once, by the garbage pail,
She looked so limp and bedraggled,
So foolish and trusting, like a sick poodle,
Or a wizened aster in late September,
I brought her back in again
For a new routine–
Vitamins, water, and whatever
Sustenance seemed sensible
At the time: she’d lived
So long on gin, bobbie pins, half-smoked cigars, dead beer,
Her shriveled petals falling
On the faded carpet, the stale
Steak grease stuck to her fuzzy leaves.
(Dried-out, she creaked like a tulip.)

The things she endured!–
The dumb dames shrieking half the night
Or the two of us, alone, both seedy,
Me breathing booze at her,
She leaning out of her pot toward the window.

Near the end, she seemed almost to hear me–
And that was scary–
So when that snuffling cretin of a maid
Threw her, pot and all, into the trash-can,
I said nothing.

But I sacked the presumptuous hag the next week,
I was that lonely. 

Photo: Graphic based on “Geranium exposed to easterly winds” by Robert Wallace

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CHILD ON TOP OF A GREENHOUSE
Poem by Theodore Roethke

The wind billowing out the seat of my britches,
My feet crackling splinters of glass and dried putty,
The half-grown chrysanthemums staring up like accusers,
Up through the streaked glass, flashing with sunlight,
A few white clouds all rushing eastward,
A line of elms plunging and tossing like horses,
And everyone, everyone pointing up and shouting! 

Photo: Christopher Michael Hough, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

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SUMMER HAIKU by Matsuo Bashō (1644-1694)

Along the mountain road

somehow it tugs at my heart —

a wild violet

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THE RISE AND FALL OF LIFE

Poem by Margaret Towner

The three-tiered plant hanger

is on the patio where my mother

could see it from her chair

when she was still living

in the house. Barb hung it high

last year and placed three

bright pots of graduated size:

one white flowering plant

at the top, in constant bloom,

a jade plant in the middle

always pale green, and finally

a red blooming succulent

with flowers that come and go.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Margaret Towner is a teacher of English learners and students at-risk in reading. She lived for many years in Latin America—Uruguay, Chile, El Salvador, and Mexico—and translates poetry from Spanish to English, writes children’s music, and performs Latin American music. In 2005, she received the Jane Buel Bradley Chapbook Award, and her poetry will be featured in the Cancer Poetry Project Anthology, the Serving House Press, and the Center for Nondual Awareness.

“The Rise and Fall of Life” and other poetry by Margaret Towner will appear in the Silver Birch Press Green Anthology — a collection of poetry and prose from authors who reside in the U.S., U.K., Europe, and Africa — available March 15, 2013.

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CHILD ON TOP OF A GREENHOUSE

Poem by Theodore Roethke

The wind billowing out the seat of my britches,
My feet crackling splinters of glass and dried putty,
The half-grown chrysanthemums staring up like accusers,
Up through the streaked glass, flashing with sunlight,
A few white clouds all rushing eastward,
A line of elms plunging and tossing like horses,
And everyone, everyone pointing up and shouting! 

Photo: Christopher Michael Hough, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED