The Ptarmigan

August 18, 2019

Between mountain peaks
And passing clouds, you
Just might spot the nest
Of a rock ptarmigan.

Her plumage the mottled
Browns and golds of an
Expecting mother, tending
Her clutch in summer heat.

But though she is vigilant,
These eggs will never hatch.
Her efforts in vain, she will
Try to encourage their shells.

Eventually, she will abandon
Them, and her speckled visage,
For snowy tundra brush and
A clean start in white feathers.



December 7, 2018

It used to be that
I’d most keenly
Feel the stroke of
Inspiration among
Summer’s rays.

Now, it seems,
My tastes have changed.
I’ve traded the sweeter
Juice of solstice berries
For the communion wine
Of autumn’s bluster.

Sacred and bitter
And coppery as blood,
I embrace the dimming
Sunset and look
Forward to night.

For all my misgivings,
A change is all I need.


Nature’s Fury

October 4, 2017

Our planet sways,
Twirling madly around
The glowing orb of light
We have called the sun;
And here we call home.

Water and air and soil
Compromise in space to
Allow us purchase here,
And we do so very little
To thank Mother Nature.

Despite many hazards,
We leave forests empty
And seas spoiled abroad.
We ignore the warnings
Hiding in tree rings and
Long forgotten stones.

Buried like seeds, they
Rest not in peace but in
Wait for the right time
And the right season.

Only then will they rise.
Sprouts among giants but
Strong as an alder bough,
Ready to form in tandem
The eaves of this church
We now worship within.


Daughters of the Wild

July 6, 2014

Unlike those who are born
From the forest, the Daughters
Are those who seek to leave
Their mortal lives behind and
Become one with the deity
Who rules all beneath
Leaf and bough, forever
Tied to the loamy soil.

They may start life, as most
Tiny buds do, in quiet and
Understated circumstances,
Letting time and sunlight
Do what food and water
Simply cannot.

As they mature, like roses
With petals opened just so,
They reveal their potential,
And burst forth into the wild.
They serve Her now, and
Perform ancillary duties to
The realm of leaves.

You will only hear them
Sigh if you listen closely,
It is a blessed breeze
On a hot summer’s day.



July 1, 2013

Lumbering clouds
Crawl by slowly on
A canvas the color of
The Virgin Mary’s dress:
Pure and sacred.
Those who have never
Crossed into Montana
Will never understand
Why it is called
Big Sky Country.
It’s less an issue of
Scale, and more an
Issue of comprehension;
It’s not the sky that is big
It’s us who are small.
Nothing like the
Utter vastness of
Nature to make one
Feel insignificant.

You squinted your eyes,
Making your nose
Crinkle up in that way
That I always adore.
You furrowed your
Brow, about to say
Something important:
“The world seems so
Much more romantic
In my head.”
I thought to ask what
You meant, but only
The wind had any
Answer for you.


Mother Nature’s Son

March 20, 2010

The unmistakable smell of wet grass
Sunshine trickles through the cloud cover
Bathing a sweeping meadow in a golden hue
Up from the weeds stands a small figure
Two legs made of fallen branches
And arms of leaves and moss
Upon his head was an old bird’s nest for hair
And a cracked smile of bright green thorns
Mother nature’s son, he was
Everything she had hoped he could be

At his waist was a sword with no sheath
Crafted from a single blade of grass,
It glistened with the dew around him
For three whole months, he played in
That sylvan meadow and poked his head
In and out of the shadows cast by
The trees around his home
He knew his boundary, and yet
The curiosity of the world outside
Became too much for him to handle
The prospect of other meadows served
As the lure for his insatiable desires
His mother watched quietly as he took
The first steps into the forest, and alas,
Those were also his last
For when he stepped from his paradise
He began to unravel; slowly at first
But then so fast that he hardly knew
What was happening, until it was
Far too late to stop it

Carving a path out of the meadow
There stood a trail of parts, each
Blossoming again in the spring air
What he had paid for with his life
Was the hope of another being
To continue outside the meadow
Living on a lavender hill, his mother
Sighs contentedly and twists
Flowers and vines together
And starts on her next child.


Truth In Aesthetics

January 13, 2010

One marble column,
Ponderous and smooth
The Artist stands on the threshold
Calloused fingers graze the sides
His eyes reflecting nothing but the
Cold grey and white monolith
No form permeates the marble
Inside the Artist’s eyes, much
To his amateur dismay. He could
Almost hear his professor’s words:
“Only the truth can create the truth.”

A thousand years of art flashes
Before his mind’s eye, cutting his
Feeble perception down to
The golden ratio of thought-
Two thirds reflection, one third concept.
For hours he sat, examining each inch
Of the mineral wall for some hidden
Potential artistic energy
But to no avail.

Art was not a thing to be created;
It lie only truly in nature, and some
Would argue not even there.
His enthusiasm fizzling, the Artist
Throws his hammer and chisel
Out the paned window; down, down
Into the ruddy streets below him.
Tiny shards of sky blue glass lay
Scattered around the floor,
The light of the setting sun cast
An imposing shadow upon the
Hardened marble block.
Maybe nature, after all,
Holds the key.