Archives for posts with tag: weather

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Elegy for My Trees
by Feroza Jussawalla

The weather is turning;
not, as it usually does,
when liquid gold
comes and goes,
dripping from amber branches
that shed their emerald ear drops.

This year there is no crunch
to the gold dried to airy thinness.
It is soggy damp. Slippery and sliding,
causing falls.

The skies have been weeping,
Filling the ever-overflowing rain barrels.

The continuous damp chill,
has wilted my Afghan pines
traumatized by the drought
in and around me, unready for this
bounty of water.

Many years of dry drought
have not prepared, desert sand or bark,
to absorb
what should be a gift of rain.

Instead, damp bark leeches water
releasing pine beetles, for
busy woodpecker heads to
peck, peck, peck,
tap, tap, tap.

It is a wonder their little heads don’t
fall off,
similarly making them fodder
for the lone hawk that sits
on his dying throne
a throne that I must soon have felled
before it tumbles and crumbles.

No, this water has not been a blessing,
as it breaks the banks of rivers
used to dry edges:
“This is how we were meant to be,” they say,
“to be streams in a desert,
For, when we are full and flush,
greedy gold diggers, mistaken mine cleaners,
break veins, that loose
poison into our life blood.”

Petrichor turns to putrifaction,
as drowning roots, lose loose soil
threatening to topple
stately majestics that must be felled
before canyon winds blow them over.

No, we have abused mother earth too long,
and now she lets loose wind and weather,
tides that bring in the amakua, as sharks
that bite children by the seaside.
This niño does not bring a blessing,

Santo Niño, can you save us with your rebirth?

PHOTO: New Mexico storm (Sept. 30, 2017). Photo by John Fowler on Unsplash.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: This is an elegy for MY eight big Afghan pines that had to be felled, a couple years ago, in 2015, when our desert environment received and excess of rain. In 2015, the gold King mine waste water spilled into our rivers, in the one year that we had an excess of rain and the rivers were full. Thus, the water could not be used.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Feroza Jussawalla, is Professor Emerita, of English, at the University of New Mexico, Albuqueruque. She has taught for forty plus years and published several works of criticism on Postcolonial Literatures. Her collection of poetry, Chiffon Saris, was published by Toronto South Asian Review Press and The Writer’s Workshop, Kolkotta (2002).

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Buddhist Chants to Heal
by Shirani Rajapakse

The rains retreats are ending
this month. Tonight monks
in the neighborhood temple
will assemble in the audience hall
to chant pirith — Buddhist sutras, words
ancient as the hills, but wiser than all
the knowledge that has been.
They will take it in turns
throughout the night
to chant the words of the Buddha,
just like they’ve done
many countless times before and will continue
into the future.              A large water-filled
                          earthenware pot
sits on the table
in front of them
as they chant.

In the morning
                          they will distribute the pirith
                          water to all present. People
will collect them in hands outstretched,
joined together, cupped
to receive the blessing.

There is a belief, older than time,
that water retains memory.
Water that holds
the vibrations of Buddhist chants heal
and we take in this water, let it course
gently down our throats
in the conviction
it will soothe us, bring us inner peace,
even momentarily.

             I’ve grown up
             with this belief
             just as I’ve
sipped on the vibrations of chants
a hundred million times
                          or more.

Its pouring again and I don’t
want to venture outdoors.
I take out my book of sutras and      chant,
first for myself, then for my family
and friends,
for all beings
seen and unseen that inhabit
the earth and the planets —
the entire universe.

I chant for the world
that is in need of healing,
I chant for the trees
                          swaying outside,
                          the birds
                          sheltering under leaves,
             lonely stray dogs howling with winds,
             animals trying to survive
                          in the wild,
people all over.

I have no pot of water,
but that doesn’t matter. The rain
thundering outside will
lift the positive vibrations of the sacred chants
and carry them to wherever
rainwater flows,
to wherever
healing is needed.

PAINTING: Miracles of Each Moment by Kazuaki Tanahashi (2003).

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: What immediately came to mind as I began to write a poem for this prompt was the connection between water and healing. Many cultures practice water therapy. In Sri Lanka where I come from, water has been used for centuries as a vehicle to transfer the positive effects of Buddhist chants. We do this regularly. However, November, as I write this, is extra significant in the Buddhist calendar, as it marks the end of the rains retreat for the monks who have been temple-bound for the past three months. The last day is marked by all-night chanting. The offering of this poem is my way of transferring positive thoughts to the world and bring it some healing.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Shirani Rajapakse is a poet and short story writer from Sri Lanka. Her publications include the award-winning Chant of a Million Women and I Exist. Therefore I Am. Rajapakse’s work appears in Dove Tales, Buddhist Poetry, Litro, Linnet’s Wings, Berfrois, Flash Fiction International, Voices Israel, About Place, and Mascara. Find more of her work at shiranirajapakse.wordpress.com. Find her on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, and Amazon.

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Extreme Weather
by Dina Elenbogen

The border says stop to the wind but the wind speaks another
language and keeps going
                                             Alberto Rios

They removed the fence that separates waves
from people walking There’s nothing between us

and water turning like oceans of larger coasts
The day we didn’t dig my uncle’s grave

a Derecho swept the shores
of Lake Michigan uprooted

ancient Maples American Ash
We ran against the darkening sky

sheltered indoors and watched
from a safe distance

His ashes danced
the rhythms of distant waters

They call it erosion when waves take
more than they give back

swallow the sand beneath our feet
If you walk away

from the lake towards the shadows
of hundred-year-old homes

you’ll see ladders still leaning
towards the roofs that failed

when hail bombarded us in April
the night before the holiday of plagues

We tried to collect ourselves and the shards
that landed in our gardens

Hands still raw from March winds
we planted against tyranny

and later gathered zucchini
tomatoes and basil

There were seeds that promised
to sprout but lay dormant

We watered throughout July’s drought
nodded at neighbors through cloth

masks and gloved knuckles
We kept turning the earth planting milkweed

next to dreams
of an ordinary life

It’s autumn and time
to remove the tangled roots

of what no longer bears fears
I had meant to write fruit What

no longer bears
fruit but fear accompanies

every gesture
I am writing to tell you that skies change suddenly

roots that seem deep can be lifted
by November wind

Listen closely nearby is the water
we call life

Previously published in December magazine (Fall/Winter 2021).

PHOTO: Lake Michigan waves by Jill Wellington.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Dina Elenbogen, a widely published and award-winning poet and prose writer, is author of the memoir Drawn from Water (BKMk Press, University of Missouri) and the poetry collection Apples of the Earth (Spuyten Duyvil, NY). Her work has appeared in anthologies, including Fury: Women’s Lived Experience During the Trump Era (Regal Books, 2020) City of the Big Shoulders (University of Iowa Press), Beyond Lament (Northwestern University Press), Where We Find Ourselves (SUNYPress), Rust Belt Chicago Anthology, and magazines and journals, including Lit Hub, December magazine, Prairie Schooner, Poet Lore, Bellevue Literary Review, Woven Tale Press, Tiferet, Tikkun, Paterson Literary Review, Connecticut River Review, New City Chicago, and the Chicago Reader. The recipient of fellowships in poetry and prose from the Illinois Arts Council and the Ragdale Foundation, she has a poetry MFA from the Iowa Writer’s Workshop. She teaches creative writing at the University of Chicago Graham School, where she received the Excellence in Teaching Award. Dina also consults individually with writers on creative projects. Visit her at dinaelenbogen.com.

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How the Poet Learns from Snowbound
by Tricia Knoll

Every sentence has potential to sparkle. If not, let it lie silent on other flakes
  and look for a footstep or a pawprint to suggest a new path.

An icicle glints in the sunbeam, a prism. And in moonlight, its glassy
  twist lights the theater of tragedy or midnight romance.

A bit of thaw, one day at a time, and the ice dam drips. Short minutes
  at noon, words may drip if they cannot gush.

The bird feeder witnesses to winter’s hunger. The insatiable
  desire for nurturing, nutrition. Needed feeding

to keep wings beating. Thesaurus on the table. Anthologies
  on the night stand. Pecks of haiku. Suet of sonnets.

Fear lumpy sidewalk ice? Strap on traction cleats and imagine skating.
  Welcome glides. Wind in your hair. Escape. Free verse.

PAINTING: La Pie (The Magpie) by Claude Monet (1868-1869).

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I’m reading poetry craft books, listening to meditation guides, trying to be in the moment. This moment is snow. And more snow. Plows and ice. Pawprints from the squirrels and cottontails. The wing impressions of a hawk capturing a mouse in snow. With the thought there must be something there to learn. As for Vermont, in the next couple of weeks the sap will start running and we will have maple syrup.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Tricia Knoll is a Vermont poet who has spent many, many months like everyone else mostly at home. For her, within a small woodlot. Recent months have also brought many feet of snow, the glint of hanging ice, the threat of ice under foot. Fortunately, she’s been doing a lot of writing and looking forward to her new chapbook, Checkered Mates, to come out from Kelsay Books in the next few weeks. Her other collections include Urban Wild, Broadfork Farm, Ocean’s Laugher, and How I Learned To Be White. Visit her at triciaknoll.com. Find her on Amazon and Twitter.

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Seiche—Long Point Bay, Port Dover
     for my friend John Tyndall who gave the gift of a new word
by John B. Lee

often
in the dead calm of a motionless morning
when the lake
is smooth as pulled silk
polished blue with a new-washed sky
shining like a carried mirror
with the still reflection
of waist-deep bathers
afloat in colours pooling away from their bodies
like rainbows of wet oil

it comes
at first as a long line
far out
in the fish-deep waters
of Long Point Bay
a linear pulse
visible as if of a counterpane
undulating about
the dream sigh of a water god
followed fast by shore hush
wave on wave sounding the drag of sand and shell

and the waders
respond, briefly rocking where they stand
like the thought toddle
of lost equilibrium

and also in the equipoise of an evening
I have seen this same
windless oscillation
curling its lip in the harbour
nudging docked boats
so they bob and joggle
like the last swirl
of an exhausted dreidel
dizzy with the loss of turning

somewhere in the deep shallows
of felt beauty, well below
the ghost’s slip
of the coming on and the going away
of ephemeral mists
there resides
in me, the true possibility of my soul
its memory alive
at the very tuning fork
of Adam’s resonant bone
receiving life and responding in kind
to that breath of grace

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: This poem is inspired by the seiche tides that occur in Long Point Bay (Ontario, Canada).

PHOTOGRAPH: “Stormy Waters” (Lake Erie, Port Dover, Ontario, Canada) by Tracy Bennett. Prints available at fineartamerica.com.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: John B. Lee was appointed Poet Laureate of the city of Brantford, Ontario, Canada, in perpetuity in 2005 and Honourary Poet Laureate of Norfolk County for life in 2015. His work has appeared internationally in over 500 publications and he has well over 70 books in print. The recipient of nearly 100 prestigious awards for his writing, he lives in a lakefront home in Port Dover, Ontario.

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Blizzard Sestina
by Charles Levenstein

We thought the end would be flood, a fire,
maybe something nuclear and quite unspeakable.
Snow, of course, never occurred to us,
not the acres that now blanket our city,
not in breathtaking flurries,
not in smothering blizzard.

Once I imagined cozy Christmas blizzards,
urbane wine mulling on a tended fire,
cosmopolitan laughter sprinkled in flurries;
to be stranded did not mean unspeakable,
whether rolling countryside or sparkling city,
cossetted affluence protected us.

Narcissus never conceived an “us,”
distant from limpid pool was the Arctic blizzard
and the bleak wint’ry streets of the city.
Imagine him drowning in fire!
Imagine sirens speaking the unspeakable!
Completion not with a bang but a flurry!

Real estate speculators were in a flurry –
Prices soared beyond the reach of most of us,
Unspoken deals remained unspeakable,
Ticker tape falling like confetti in a blizzard –
How to explain these snowy dunes set afire
by desperate search for warmth in the city?

As you may know, there can be comfort in the city;
the rush, the lights, even bistros are flurries —
a credit card, some cash, the intimacy of fire –
for the young in urban anonymity there’s an “us”
that overcomes windchill in the blizzard!
For others the streets are unspeakable –

Poets are called to speak the unspeakable!
To comprehend and reveal the cruelty of the city!
If in blind comfort we ignore the blizzard,
imagining the mountains of new ice and snow are flurries
incapable of freezing our friends and families – “us”–
who will interpret simmering revolutionary fire?

We who feel the fire and have learned about the unspeakable,
we perceive a re-discovered “us,” a suffering city:
the cries are not mere flurries, they foretell the blizzard.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I live in Brookline, Massachusetts, next to Boston — eight feet of snow and counting!  My daughter has sent me a set of snap-on metal cleats so I can go walking on days that the temperature stays above 10 degrees or so.  It’s beautiful, but I am old.

IMAGE: “Boston Blizzard” (Jan. 27, 2015), Reuters

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Charles (Chuck) Levenstein is a retired professor. Levenstein has been writing poems since he was 15 years old, but burned them every 10 years, some because of shyness about them, some because they were really awful. He began writing poems again in 2000, largely because Internet poetry forums were an easy vehicle for trying out new work and learning from other writers. He also had erratic sleeping habits – exacerbated by sleep apnea – and late-night sessions on the computer were easy. He also became a yoga student of the late Tom Stiles (Mukunda) and that cleared away a lot of debris. In 2001, he published a collection of poems, Lost Baggage, with Loom Press in Lowell, Massachusetts. In the subsequent years, he published poems in a raft of e-zines. He was the winner of some small prizes – from Flashquake and from MiPoesia for poems in a Goya contest and a bonsai contest. His work was featured in Gary Blankenship’s e-zine and in The Hiss Review and Loch Raven Review. He became involved heavily in the now defunct Poetry Niederngasse, an e-zine based in Zurich, became a contributing editor for PN, and wrote a regular poetry/rant called “Poems of World War III.” Many of these poems were collected in a book published with Lulu.com called Poems of World War III. Most recently, he published another smaller collection with Lulu.com called Animal Vegetable.

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Faux Spring in Southern California
by Robbi Nester

It’s been a month since the last rain.
Tumbleweeds that last fall
pursued their manic course
across the highway
have settled in for the season,
send out tendrils
like misdirected telegrams.
Another frost will surely follow.
Even the birds sing all night,
making the most of a short season.

PHOTOGRAPH: “Apache Canyon in the Los Padres National Forest, California” by Robert Eovaldi. Prints available at fineartamerica.com.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Robbi Nester is the author of a chapbook, Balance (White Violet, 2012), and a collection of poems, A Likely Story (Moon Tide Press, 2014). She has also edited an anthology of poems inspired by shows on public TV, The Liberal Media Made Me Do It! (Nine Toes Press, 2014).

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Eleven Below in Vermont
by Cameron Miller

Onyx dome over pastures of snow
trees cast shadows by starlight.
Nothing moves.
No flashlight,
everything we need to see
seen.
We stop, dog and me,
mesmerized
by Milky Way
brushed thin on arch of pale glitter
from horizon to horizon.
Even dog stares into illuminated stillness.
Seven sisters over Jupiter
tip Littler Dipper upside down
spilling light into our darkness.
Then we hear it,
cold calling us from four corners.
Half creaks
muted pops
from inside trees.
Frozen moisture trapped inside wood
pushes outward
stretching rigid life
demanding it change, expand.

“Ert” “Crk”
     “Trtk.”
Dog’s ears perk
     head tilts
first left then right
then up then down.

Moments unroll
     sounds, dog, me,
     all one
with snow, dappled light,
piercing cold.
Stillness
the voice of winter’s night
lingers.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: The raw and desolate beauty of Vermont winter and stunning night sky, as with anything so exquisite, are beyond the grasp of words. Perhaps only in painting with words, such as poetry, can we even hope to evoke the experience.

IMAGE: “”Snowy Chapel at Night”(Little Stone Chapel built in 1950 by Werner von Trapp, Stowe, Vermont) by Edward Fielding. Prints available at fineartamerica.com.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Cameron Miller is a Hoosier by birth, a preacher by profession, and an author by vocation. He is the writer behind the curtain at www.subversivepreacher.org, and has also written professionally as a columnist and storyteller. Recently he traded fulltime parish ministry for writing fiction, poetry, and spiritual reflections while also relocating to the fabled Northeast Kingdom of Vermont. He has a poem included in the “I Am Waiting” Series on Silver Birch Press, with more poems appearing in upcoming anthologies by Eyewear Press and Inwood Indiana Press.

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WHITE OUT
by Joan Colby

We hit the white out just beyond the Virgil ditch.
A south wind blasting eight-foot drifts
Like a fireship exploding the armadas
Of January. A page of erased zeroes.
Today, it might get to 20, no melt but plenty
Of blowing to disguise what’s road
And what’s the verge, how to be stuck
And invisible.

Last week in such weather a semi
Jackknifed, then another, another, another
Swallowing cars, a multitude following
Faithfully as pilgrims to the disaster
Of the stampede. Finally, there were forty
Or more vehicles crushed and miles of traffic
Detained while the Jaws of Life were deployed.
Three dead including a man whose dog
Was thought to be a fatality but survived
To lick the hands of the first responders.

People we used to call firemen or cops
Rearticulated like weather once called storms
Now polar vortices. Naming something doesn’t change
Effect. We still stall where we thought
The road curved and it didn’t.
We’re still as lost.
The white out still blinds us.

IMAGE: “Whiteout conditions in Arlington Heights, Illinois (2011)” by Bill Zars, Staff Photographer, The Daily Herald (Illinois)

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Joan Colby has published widely in journals such as Poetry, Atlanta Review, South Dakota Review, The Spoon River Poetry Review, New York Quarterly, the new renaissance, Grand Street, Epoch, and Prairie Schooner. Awards include two Illinois Arts Council Literary Awards, Rhino Poetry Award, the new renaissance Award for Poetry, and an Illinois Arts Council Fellowship in Literature. She was a finalist in the GSU Poetry Contest (2007), Nimrod International Pablo Neruda Prize (2009, 2012), and received honorable mentions in the North American Review’s James Hearst Poetry Contest (2008, 2010). One of her poems is a winner of the 2014 Atlanta Review International Poetry Contest. She is the editor of Illinois Racing News, and lives on a small horse farm in Northern Illinois. She has published 14 books, including Selected Poems (FutureCycle Press), which received the 2013 FutureCycle Prize,  Properties of Matter (Aldrich Press, Kelsay Books), Bittersweet (Main Street Rag Press), and The Wingback Chair (FutureCycle Press). Colby is also an associate editor of Kentucky Review and FutureCycle Press. Visit her at joancolby.com.

Written by Ruthann Friedman and recorded by The Association, “Windy” was released in 1967 and reached #1 on the Billboard Hot 100. Here we feature Ruthanne Friedman’s version of the song — a paean to a man (rather than The Association’s woman).

WINDY
Words and Music by Ruthann Friedman

Who’s peekin’ out from under a stairway
Callin’ a name that’s lighter than air
Who’s bendin’ down to give me a rainbow
Everyone knows it’s Windy

Who’s trippin’ down the streets of the city
Smilin’ at everybody he sees
Who’s reachin’ out to capture a moment
Everyone knows it’s Windy

And Windy has stormy eyes
That flash at the sound of lies
And Windy has wings to fly
Above the clouds

Who’s trippin’ down the streets of the city
Smilin’ at everybody he sees
Who’s reachin’ out to capture a moment
Everyone knows it’s Windy

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:  Ruthann Friedman started playing guitar at the age of eight while listening to Woody Guthrie, Pete Seeger, and Josh White. Her first paid performance was at the Green Spider Coffee House in Denver, Colorado, at the age 19. While staying in San Francisco,  Friedman befriended  members of Jefferson Airplane, Country Joe, and Janis Joplin. Her friendship with Van Dyke Parks not only influenced her deep commitment to music but also introduced her to The Association, the musical group that recorded her song “Windy” in 1967. Three years later, Reprise Records released Constant Companion, her first solo album. In 2006, Water, a San Francisco label, reissued Constant Companion, renewing interest in Friedman’s music and leading to the release of a compilation of rare and previously unreleased home recordings from 1965–1971, Hurried Life. To learn more, visit ruthannfriedman.com.