Coyote Mercury

words, birds and whatever else by James Brush

Hard Freeze

The sky is newspaper,
the print flown
to join the black birds
huddled against
the leeward sides
of highway signs.
The big story is air,
Arctic breath that burns
away our words.
Silent and stunned,
we gather to witness
the marvel of ice
surviving in the wild.

This poem grew out of this stone.

I’m happy to say that I was able to write one small stone each day in January as part of the river of stones challenge. (I posted them over at a gnarled oak where they crosspost to various social media platforms.)

There is something in finding time to stop for a moment, engage, see, and try to write, creatively, what is seen that strikes me as prayerful, a sentiment I’ve mentioned here before. It has the capacity to change—for the better—the way we see and interact with the world. There is peacefulness in it too, and I had almost forgotten that.

Starting the year with this simple approach to opening has been a joy and a pleasure, and so hats off to Fiona and Kaspa for setting the river flowing and reminding me of the importance of slowing down to witness the wonder of even the most ordinary of moments. These moments are, after all, the stuff from which lives are made, if not remembered and celebrated years later.

I plan to continue doing these each day by making it part of my daily writing practice again. That was always my intent with a gnarled oak when I started it two years ago, but I fell off over time, and weeks would sometimes go by with nothing. They say doing something for 30 days will make it a habit, so we’ll see if that’s true.


  1. I loved the stone version (leeward — such a great word when used with a street sign!) and think this poem is super.

    They feel of a family but are their own species. Like the way you take the news to task, yet make it so much more meaningful.

    I don’t want to jinx the goal so only say — I like bits of mineral, any size. You should see my garden, my flower pots. Sewn with Apache tears. And I love oaks. 🙂

    • Thank you, Deb. Sometimes, those stones may just be flakes of mineral that don’t quite make it to the page or screen. We’ll see. Glad you liked the poem(s).

  2. Terrific. ‘The big story is air’. Loved it.

  3. that opening image just blows me away. wow.
    I love this poem.

  4. James, this is lovely.
    Interesting that this grew out of a stone.
    I completely fell behind on the challenge.
    Work, writing to prompts, life in general.
    Before I knew it I had written only 20 stones
    and it was January 31st.
    There is no better time than the
    present I suppose.

  5. Thanks, Pamela. You’re right. It’s never to late to start something up again. Such has been my experience with these stones.

Comments are closed.

© 2018 Coyote Mercury

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑

%d bloggers like this: