Sunrise on Sunset Beach

Thursday, March 14, 2024

The Eternal News of Early June

 In memory of Dale Hoyt *

Come, my friend, just one last time 

and walk me down a Garden path 

reliving a ramble in early June 

when once again a hummingbird house 

is wound in silk and saliva. Describe 

how it’s layered with lichens and leaves 

then show where it hides 

high in a white oak 

cloaked in a canvas of green. 

Come weave a tale of hungry toads 

hunting the musty leaf-littered dampness 

under the air-dance of damselflies. 

Then mimic the trill of a Leopard frog 

and the plucked glunk of its Green cousin 

calling from a froggy shore. 

Now talk me through the gruesome fate 

of zombie bugs riddled with fungus 

clinging to leaf-tip graves. 

Speak of the hidden lives in soil – 

of thousand-gendered mycelia 

and subterranean slime-mold sex. 

Then show me the home of chanterelles 

where gold funnels grow 

on a green moss floor.

Bring on the air of an early summer 

bounding through a boyhood day 

recalling the ways of wonder 

and watch me shed my decades 

like the sloughed skin of an aging snake 

baking in the noonday sun.

Come the twist of eternity 

let us idle outside the gates of heaven 

to drift in the peace of a warm summer breeze.

* Over many years, Dale led the Nature Ramblers at the State Botanical Garden of Georgia. He kept a detailed record on his award-winning Nature Rambling blog site. My poem describes a ramble on June 11, 2015. Here is a link to Dale's blog post for that week:

Dale Hoyt teaching at a ramble

Ruby throated hummingbird on nest
Image by Don Hunter

Saturday, February 24, 2024

The Serpent

                        Quantum strings always ring assigned 
                        frequencies  with songs that constrain 
                        matter  in  the  dance  of  chance  and 
                        brute necessity. Inert bodies undergird 
                        all  that we are.   Brains of beasts  are  
                        bullied by what came before. But life!

                Life bears the foretaste of freedom – what is not  
           forbidden, one day becomes. And in the garden, God’s  
            honey-voiced servant wakes new worlds of knowing.

                                     Ah, the siren-serpent
                                        blows jazz notes
                             below the threshold of thinking
                                       where blood rises
              and circuits etch symbols as Adam sings names
                      beasts of the field and birds of the air
                                       in the holy dance
                                   of fire and abstraction
                in the shade of the tree that towers mid-garden
                                        stepping lightly
                            to syncopated serpent-rhythm
                   incipient mind finds the symbol for mind
                                          regards itself 
               staring back, stripped of innocence, conscious 
                                      of consciousness
                         it falls through the face of infinity
                                      to indeterminacy
                     with furrowed temple and tart aftertaste
                                   free, aware, ashamed
                                               at last