Sunday, June 30, 2013


Fog, goat’s beard, spirea, mint. The chickens (Daisy, Stripey, Sukey) cluck about in the yard, shitting on pathways. The children (Avah, Owen) sleep under open windows with fans. The wood thrush that lives in the great white pine to the north between the house and the road sings his/her thing. He/she is my friend and early morning companion. The tea (black, strong, sweet) makes my heart race it its familiar and delightful way. My feet (bony, calloused) rest on porch boards and this early, don’t ache. My mother (short, strong, thin) is no doubt up and about in her garden on the hill across the creek. If we cut more trees I could see her over there, steadfast, determined, bending in the bright green mist. 

Wednesday, June 26, 2013



     Veritas sequitur...

In the small beauty of the forest
The wild deer bedding down--
That they are here!

                         Their eyes
Effortless, the soft lips
Nuzzle and the alien small teeth
Tear at the grass

                         The roots of it
Dangle from their mouths
Scattering earth in the strange woods.
They who are there.

                         Their paths
Nibbled thru the fields, the leaves that shade them
Hang in the distances
Of sun

                        The small nouns
Crying faith
In this in which the wild deer
Startle, and stare out.

                        -George Oppen (from The Ecopoetry Anthology)

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

company (one thousand mornings)


I've been eyeing Mary Oliver's book A Thousand Mornings since it first came out sometime last year. A Thousand Mornings...I've thought, thinking of my mornings here, of how, when I have them, they're a prayer and a meditation and a way to start my day in peace. I also kept thinking--look, someone like me, who do-doubt wakes too early.

I don't often buy hardcover books, but yesterday after a ridiculously expensive dentist appointment I took the gift certificate my grandfather--lover of birds and songs and mornings--gave me to the bookstore and went and bought A Thousand Mornings.

I love it. My friend Doug, a poet who I respect, does not love Oliver's work. But I will say right here that I do. I think she is completely honest with her words, and that honesty is rare, and a true gift to one's reader. Mary Oliver is also old now, and death hovers at the edges of each of these poems, giving them urgency and dusting them with grace. She is wise and worships the same god I do; these poems are deeply spiritual odes to the sweet earth. When I am old I hope to be as wise as her, and as graciously humble. And now, a poem about the time of day we both love:

A Thousand Mornings

All night my heart makes its way
however it can over the rough ground
of uncertainties, but only until night
meets and then is overwhelmed by
morning, the light deepening, the
wind easing and just waiting, as I
too wait (and when have I ever been
disappointed?) for redbird to sing.

-Mary Oliver

Monday, June 24, 2013


Morning. It’s 5:30 and, miraculously, my children are still sleeping. I untwine Owen’s limbs from mine and slip out from under the sheet, slip downstairs, slip water into the teakettle. Late June. Holy late June: goat’s beard, spirea, anemone, fern. Lawnmower, wood thrush, robin, crow. Black tea, honey, raw milk, tongue. Yesterday at the pond my four-year-old daughter lost her first tooth. Holy late June, late four, holy face of bright sunshine blazing that big old hole. I nearly cried right along with her.

Last night: strawberry picking, old barn, my mother on her motorcycle, arugula pizza on the grill, fearless chickens on the table, wine. Later: big old supermoon.

Does it get any better than this? Can I possibly (please) slow the world’s turning? 

Wednesday, June 19, 2013


june, them mornings...

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

the violet needle and the gray star

Morning. It's summer and I've got my mornings back--an hour at the start of each day where I can hole away in my bed or in the cabin in the backyard with a cup of tea and words. I'm working on shit--or trying to, these days. But before I dive, headfirst, into that tenuous land, I'll share a poem from my new favorite collection, The Ecopoetry Anthology, edited by Ann Fisher-Wirth and Laura Gray Street. Didactic, pedagogic, moralistic? Sure. Also--beautiful. I'll keep throwing you some of my daily faves. 

Today, one from Jean Valentine, with whom I share a birthday. 


The Badlands Said

I am the skull
under your hundred doubts. I, I
will be with you always.
Still numinous and alive.
Elephant's side.

Come lie down, 
tooth and bone.

Ya, ya,
from a mile high
I crook you up warm,

I am love's sorrow,
the desert's violet needle and gray star. 

--Jean Valentine

(PS: I love photos of young poets smoking)

Saturday, June 15, 2013

all in a day (in june)

Me and mine woke at 5:30 today, and because it's now 12:43, and I'm home alone and for the first time inside at the table in front of a window caressing me with breeze, I thought I'd share my morning to-do list with you.

-strip sheets off all beds, wash sheets
-bake the sourdough that rose in the night
-clean porch
-clean bathroom
-read 2 chapters of The House on Plum Creek with somewhat sick daughter
-make kiddos sourdough toast with butter & honey
-hang sheets on line
-wash clothes
-plant second planting of carrots and beets
-weed whack around peach tree
-move large stone in front of new chicken coop for step
-hang clothes on line
-transplant a wayward spirea from yard to next to new chicken coop step
-wash diapers
-hang diapers on line (no more line)
-begin cleaning out my old cabin, the one that was once my refuge, then my studio, then my home, and, for the last year and a half, has been home to mice, bicycles, tires, pots, tools, mattresses, carseats, etc. It is a disgusting, toxic job (vacuuming mouse shit and flaking lead paint). I come inside to deposit some things and instead of going back out to that horrid, toxic job in that structure that was once a cathedral of light I sit down and the table and think holy. Shit. I am so tired. Motherhood is so crazy. And good. Someday. I will have a desk. In that cabin. But not today. No. Not. Right now. Right now I am just going to sit here. At this table. In this breeze. And maybe. It's possible. Fall. Asleep.