Settle In

snow 1-12-15The weather turned cold last night
and colder air is coming.
Check the light in the cellar
stock wood for the fireplace,
put gas in the tractor and put on the blade,
add bedding for the hens,
bring the dogs in by the fire,
let the cats curl on the couch,
add extra quilts to the bed,
turn the water on
just a trickle.
Fill a few jugs with standby water,
top up the kerosene lamps,
stack waiting books by the rocker.
Settle in for winter

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Christmas Eve

Christmas lights cellar door6:00 AM

Dark  and still as the middle of the night,

As mid-night,

And quiet.  I open the screened door and walk

Into the glow of the Christmas lights left burning since last evening.

The rooster crows as if trying to say I did not wake him,

that he was already alert and indeed had been for some time.

His voice is raspy, harsh as sandpaperagainst the soft morning.

Below, our little run rushes through its gorge between the shrouded hills,

Over-full from hours of steady rain.


In the air the scent of spring and yet

Today is Christmas Eve; it is 70 degrees even this early,

Strange warmth for early winter. Japonica blooms

Between the evergreen firs and forsythia twinkles its shy yellow stars.

I stand in my gown, searching the sky above for the Star of Bethlehem

But clouds cover the promise

Of light and hope. Yet still

I gaze upward through skeleton trees

And the grace of this day descends upon me.

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Fall Sounding

Fall Sounding

A chain saw rips the morning jagged and raw

as the smell of tannin released from hidden oaken boles,

their rings of years displayed wanton to the sun’s brilliant gaze.

Playful breezes toss confetti leaves



earthly brown ,

and the brazen blue sky sports scarves of daring summer whites.

A cardinal lifts a desperate song as if there may yet be time,

a chance for one more nesting

on this too-warm, too-bright November day.

All of nature waits, knowing

that this cannot, will not last but still the bees

hum among the rotting drops

beneath the apple tree,

and burrow into the sweetness of decayed flesh.

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November at Dusk

There’s an unsettled quiet in the air this evening.

The clouds are boiling up but there is no rain in the forecast,

and I cannot hear the distant sound

of traffic, always an indicator of rain on the way.


The air is still, not a breath

stirring. The birds flit

uneasily from tree to tree; deep in the woods

I hear the raucous call of a crow, but even he seems

subdued. A tinge of red

lined the clouds briefly, a promise for tomorrow.

Perhaps it is just

November, bringing with it

the long twilight, the sudden darkness

that we are not yet expecting. It is too warm for a fire,

but this dismal evening makes me want

the bright cheeriness of the fireplace.

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Morning Shots

Two shots, quick cracks that ricocheted from the dewy hills

soft with morning’s first light

a murmur of voices from the neighbor’s house

beyond the treeline, beyond the road, beyond hearing

except for a musical rise and fall almost drowned out

by the purring cat on my lap.

I sip my tea and consider: was it a marauding possum

raiding trash cans in search of breakfast?

Or a copperhead, coiled on warm concrete steps,

surprising Rick who perhaps stepped outside with his coffee

to view the day’s dawning?

A coyote is doubtful at this time of day, preferring the cover of night

for his dirty deeds.

The voices quiet; the cat continues to purr.

My cup is empty;

the sun sends tentative beams

through trees beginning to show a tinge of autumn.

I go inside to begin my work, the

morning’s mystery buried in the rush of another country day.

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So he talked about grass, about mowing with a push mower

and how hard it is to mow under apple trees with their overhanging branches

and the bees, the yellow jackets of July

and how hot the weather had been and if it had rained enough

to keep the gardens growing.

His hat twisting in his hands, feet shifting in black leather work shoes,

his gray shirt and neat green workingman’s pants neatly pressed,

He talked on and on, our coffee getting cold, his food on the diner’s counter

and then we said goodbye and finished our meal. He left before us but came back,

flustered and red, to pay his bill. This man,

our age or older, still uncomfortable in conversation, not knowing

how or if to end it, not knowing what to talk about and so

he spoke of weather and grass and gardens while I remember

his father with his soft felt hat, his bib overalls and sports jacket,

dancing with fast-moving feet, buck-dancing to the bands

at the Fourth of July on the courthouse lawn

just across the street from where our coffee sits cold on the counter

and he forgot to pay for his food.

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Sometimes I Know Why I Live in the Country

Night-driving, late May

a two-lane country road,

the windows down:

blinded by fireflies’ staccato flashes,

breathing honeysuckle sweetness,

the dark so close I can touch it,

your arm warm against mine.

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