Dog day rhythms

Rest is not idleness, and to lie sometimes on the grass under the trees on a summer’s day, listening to the murmur of the water, or watching the clouds float across the sky, is by no means a waste of time.

—John Lubbock

haiku story poem

dog days of summer
triple-digit heat index
white haze cloaks the air

one can drown in it
too hot for lying in grass
even in the shade

lethargic rhythms
settle on all living things
except for insects

unrepentant sun
shimmers on dragonfly wings
iridescent darts

buzzing cicadas
in feverish frenzy sing
of love high in trees

remaining unseen
falling silent before storms
darkening the skies

as lightning’s forked tongue
snakes from the heavens to earth
(thunder, they told me

when I was a child,
is just the angels bowling;
that’s their pins, crashing)

—the heat breaks at last
like evening revival
saving weary souls

murmuring water
seeps into my dreams
ephemeral streams

summer’s lullaby
syncopated rain-fingers
tapping windowpanes

no sleep is so deep
as that borne by rhythms of
dogs days descending

summer rain. annalisa ceolin. CC BY-NC-SA 2.0.

*******

with thanks to Ruth Ayres for the inspirational quote at SOS-Sharing Our Stories: Magic in a Blog

In the heart of the tree

with thanks to Margaret Simon for her photo, inspiring “This Photo Wants to Be a Poem” at Reflections on the Teche.

In the forest
stands a tree
bearing a heart
for all to see

how is it so
how can it be
this symbol of love
here on this tree?

When it was young
perhaps it was scarred
some long-ago night
black sky starred

when a bolt of lightning
struck young lovers
there pledging their troth
forsaking all others…

Some things, it seems,
are not meant to be
star-crossed lovers
found dead by the tree

their initials not carved
but their love still marked
by this bounced-lightning
scar in the bark

where life comes anew
with every rain, in turn
see, within the tree-heart
a resurrection fern

took root, where it dies
in the heart of the tree
yet like hope, like love,
returns alive, eternally.

Which is more compelling, the tree-heart or the resurrection fern within it?
Thanks again to Margaret for sharing her photo.

For the record, I like this explanation of the resurrection fern (Polypodium polypodioides) from the North Carolina Extension Gardener Plant Toolbox:

“The Resurrection Fern is an evergreen fern that is typically found growing on trees (especially leaning tree trunks and Live Oak trees), fallen logs, stumps, ledges, and rocks.  It will also grow on fence posts and buildings. Some of its host plants are live oak, elm, magnolia, and cypress.  it is considered an epiphytic plant, which is a plant that grows on another plant and dependent on that plant for support but not nutrition.  An Epiphytic plant gets moisture and nutrients from the air or from small pools of water that collect on the host plant.  It is also epipetric, meaning that it can also grow on rock.

It is a difficult plant to get established.  During dry periods it appears to die but regains normal appearance with rain.

Dirt road

On Ethical ELA’s Open Write today, Kim Johnson invites teacher-poets to compose poetry from paint chip colors. She happened to have “Dirt Road” in her own list.

As soon as I saw that name, it was over. I would have to take Dirt Road. Its pull is too strong for me, calling me back to a place I write about often.

So today I write a memoir poem, although I did incorporate a few paint chip names along the dirt road: Oyster Shell, Turtle Green, Pink Blossoms, Dreamy Memory, Forever Fairytale, Summer Sunflower.

Maybe tomorrow I’ll try whole new paint chip poem away from Dirt Road.

This is where the name led me today.

Dirt Road

I watch the highway
and my heart beats fast
when I see it coming
just around the bend

old dirt road

off to the right
threading through the trees
past Miss Etta’s tiny turtle-green
screened-porch house
where she dips snuff

past the homeplace
standing like a dreamy memory
white paint faded to tired oyster shell
sunlight gleaming
on the tin roof

Grandma was born here

past the tangle of sunflowers
planted by her brother
who still lives here alone
something is different about him
I don’t know what
it’s in his long face
he never says much
but he did give me some quarters
once

just beyond the sunflowers
Granddaddy’s garden
looks like something
an artist painted
in watercolor greens
in perfect rows
he grows collards 
and little round peppers for his vinegar
squash, cantaloupe, snap beans, 
Silver Queen corn, crowder peas,
and butterbeans, 
speckled pink and white
when I help shell them
from their furry green pods

then the grape arbor he built
laden with scuppernong vines
big leaves waving Hey
big brown-gold grapes
won’t be ready yet
and they aren’t even pretty
but to me
they taste like Heaven itself

then the row of crape myrtles at the curve
bright pink blossoms nodding their heads
sometimes shedding, rolling on and on
smooth forked trunks
where I like to climb and sit
and make up songs
thinking in forever fairytale

the house
bright white
black shutters

and I can’t think now
about the tire swing 
hanging there in the pecan tree 
studded with woodpecker holes
or the tiny cemetery with its ghosts
across the old dirt road

because Grandaddy and Grandma
are coming across the yard
straw hats shielding faces
lit with smiles
bright as the summer sunflowers
ever turning toward the sun

Daddy pulls off 
the old dirt road
into the yard

we’re here
we’re here

I am out of the car 
before it stops
running toward
open arms

and I never
want to leave.

My grandparents and my oldest boy on the old dirt road, a long time ago

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with thanks to Kim Johnson, Ethical ELA, and Two Writing Teachers for the weekly Slice of Life Story Challenge. Writing is but half the magic. Sharing is the other half.