Coyote Mercury

words, birds and whatever else by James Brush

Tag: flowers

The Basics of Pressing Flowers

The burned land around the lake is dead
while up above the sky glows red.
Is this the song you longed to sing?
Because now it doesn’t mean a thing.
In this wasteland rid of wildflowers,
my watch ticks away the painful hours.

I walked these ruins for many hours,
imagining the ancient dead.
Around the tombs, funerary flowers
plastic yellow, orange and red.
You once asked if I knew anything.
I said perhaps we should just sing.

Remember all the kids out cruising?
Driving fast through midnight hours
stupid believing we knew everything
we just jammed to the Grateful Dead.
Now I search the books you read,
and find, pressed, your favorite flowers.

I asked an expert the meaning of flowers.
She smiled and asked what I was using.
She said, You tremble and your eyes are red.
Never mind
, I said, it was this love of ours,
and these flowers have long gone dead
so now their meaning isn’t anything.

She said, Don’t you think love’s a thing
that we can write in old pressed flowers?
In these pages they’re not dead,
and if you listen, you’ll hear them sing
that lovely forgotten song of hours
spent watching as the sky turned red.

And so I stop and think of you, Mildred,
and I search for a trace of anything
that might speed up these lonely hours
and help me find the proper flowers
to answer you in pages pressing
as if you weren’t these ten years dead.

As I read a guide to pressing flowers,
it was an odd thing to hear young birds sing
through the afternoon hours of the buried dead.

PAD 2014 #21: Back to the Basics

My first attempt at a sestina. I wanted to play with words that rhyme so I started the first stanza with AABBCC, knowing that the rhyme scheme would change from stanza to stanza, sometimes falling apart all together. I like the way some of it sounds, and I might try it again sometime.

Sunflower — Trees — Torch

Snakes and Deer

Blotched Water Snakes

Blotched water snakes

Last summer I regularly saw a pair of blotched water snakes in the shallows of the stream near the bridge. Every day they were there, sitting in the current waiting for small fish and tadpoles to come by. When it got cold, they disappeared. After reading about Dave’s ceiling snakes, I wondered if they would come back this summer so I took a walk down to the bridge to see and sure enough, there they were just like last year.

I sat on the bridge and watched them for awhile, surprised that they should have come back to the same spot. I’m assuming, of course, that these are the same individuals as last year. Maybe they’re not and it’s just a really great spot for blotched water snakes to hunt. Either way, they didn’t seem to mind me sitting so close and even allowed me to take a few pictures.

While I was sitting there, I got the feeling that I was being observed. I turned around to have a look downstream and there was this guy:

White-tailed Deer on the Stream

White-tailed deer

He watched me for awhile, decided I was boring and moved on. I moved on too, walking down to the pond to see if any of the summer herons and egrets had arrived. Not yet. But there were plenty of grackles, and I heard the red-shouldered hawk calling up the trail beyond the pond.

It’s summer here now. All day, the heat and humidity crushed down and bounced shimmering off the asphalt, soaking through my shirt and slowing everything down to the summer lethargy it’s so easy to forget as soon its gone. Then it pissed rain. Thunderstorms and lightning. Tomorrow it will be scorching again and there will be no sign that water fell the night before. Such is Texas.

Haiku (and Haiku-like things) for Spring

Pipevine Swallowtail

Pipevine Swallowtail

A young oak trembles:
the dying gusts of winter.
Flowers in the grass.

An hour before sunrise,
rain drizzles through the trees.
A wren sings nearby.

Swallows fill the sky,
returning on springtime winds,
far above our kites

Just water on the pond—
the ducks have gone north.

Clouds cross a daytime moon.
Jays work on a nest.

At migration’s end,
a scissor-tailed flycatcher
perches on a wire.

I build my garden
and plan my meals.

The birds watch
and plan theirs.

hailstones
rip through trees
and melt

Spring’s first hummingbird
huddles against the cold.
Waiting for the sun.

These are for Read Write Prompt #72: Spring Is Sprung. I’ve been bogged down with other projects (a video, a series of poems, my job) so these are taken from my other blog, a gnarled oak, where I publish haiku and haiku-like things about nature (mostly). I’ve been writing a number of spring-themed poems there so I pulled some to share here. I also cross-post most of these to Twitter, so if you’re into this sort of thing, you can check that out too.

Happy spring!

Spring Flower

Robin — Wildflowers — The Moon

American Robin

Wild Flowers

The Moon

Discoveries Close to Home

On the tail end of a bike ride yesterday, I wanted to make it an even 23 miles so I turned on a street near our house and found a trail leading to another neighborhood. I took the trail, which led to a cul-de-sac with a small nature preserve only .25 miles from home.

The preserve is mainly a small karst formation with a cave underneath. The sign said that the cave is 85 feet by 45 feet, but only 2 feet high at its highest. The cave entrances have been gated off in such a way that bats and other wildlife can get in and out, but snooping kids are prevented from entering.

Later in the evening I walked back up with my camera to see if I could get a few pictures.

This is one of the caves that had naturally collapsed so there was no need to block it off. It’s now just a two foot deep hole.

In addition to this dragonfly, I saw mockingbirds, white-winged doves and a number of deer that seemed to be running all around me, allowing only glimpses as they raced through the cedar. One of these days, I’m going to bring the long lens and some patience and try to shoot a deer.

I liked the look of this fallen tree, rotted and teeming with life.

These flowers ignited if only for a brief moment in the sun’s fading light.

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