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AVOCET The Weekly

“Nature, the manifestation of divinity.” - Joseph Campbell

Issue No. 20 | May 1 - 2013

Weekly Avocet - Issue No. 20

Thank you to all those who were kind enough to write to Ed Galing. Here is what he wrote back: “To read those letters I received is so touching. I am so glad that everyone likes my writing. Makes me want to live forever. Poetry is the way to go, Charles. To have someone compliment me when I am close to one hundred is so wonderful.”

Swan Migration Easter Sunday, 1997   Finally the spring sun rolls back winter’s huge stone while swans drift between broken stalks of last year’s corn crop with the stillness of white roses. Surely the swan knows beauty is never wasted— not on the stalks, nor the stone, nor myself passing by on a country road for no good reason.   Each year on their flight to the far north they stop here where there is no one to meet them, dip black beaks and sip muddy water like a fine wine. More and more arrive until dark water reflects nearly one hundred pairs of them.   Their cries to each other petal the air. Arcs of white necks exchanging places, they drift from shore to shore, bearing the body as if it were the soul.   Alixa Doom

“Nothing is wasted on a poet, everything they see, smell, touch, taste, and hear will appear in a poem.”


Weekly Avocet - Issue No. 20

Charles Burchfield’s Coming of Spring 1Sleep’s slow progress is a river in descent, brown trees tinting green; first blooms share their   pale light.   2Oncoming spring: sun dappling on blue ice, strange day’s sky   coloring yellow, blue, gray.   Northwest wind; flurries first, then rain.

Alan Catlin Schenectady, N.Y. 12304

«Spring has returned. The Earth is like a child that knows poems.» - Rainer Maria Rilke


Weekly Avocet - Issue No. 20

An English Spring Sunday We met at the station and drove into the shire. I’d forgotten how green wet green is. Talking, catching up – it’s been a year. Wasn’t really worth opening the brolly, the rain came softly from all sides. The pub, dark and low-ceilinged. Right by the canal. A fire lit. Steak-and-kidney pie and a pint please. We had planned to sit in the garden watching the boats idling by. Still, it was good. At the next table sat foreigners with loads of kids all in brightly colored slickers. They said they were Finnish, had hired a longboat for the weekend. The tallest and blondest said, smiling, We have a heat wave in Finland right now.   Rosmarie Epaminondas (Rose Mary Boehm)

“A poet’s work is to name the unnameable, to point at frauds, to take sides, start arguments, shape the world, and stop it going to sleep.”- Salman Rushdie -4-

Weekly Avocet - Issue No. 20

Avian World

  Sunning myself on our second story deck, I’m surrounded by heavy, spring boughs of Red Maples and Eastern   White Pines.  Above me, a lordly cardinal claims his territory, declaring dominance over all intruders.  A wood   warbler crescendos devotion to the female he’s wooing.  She clicks and coos as he hurls his passion skyward.  I hear   quick, clarion cries of Danger and see a streaked predator sweep low then soar back up, his hooked beak hanging   full.  The disturbance gone, plump sparrows chatter and splash in the granite birdbath, then preen themselves dry,   sheltered in a maze of crisscrossing branches. This avian world of song and drama is my haven.  Inside, human   illness and the dilemmas of old age await.  Each day brings further decline. I give myself five more minutes   of  freedom.  A back-capped chickadee lands on the railing next to me, bead eyes bright with expectation. Margaret Vidale “To live a creative life, we must lose our fear of being wrong.” - Joseph Chilton Pearce


Weekly Avocet - Issue No. 20

The Fisherman Time Traveler Under the desert sun He wades from the demolished adobe On a reservation by the interstate Doors, windows knocked out Graffiti sprayed on walls Plywood sign: “used tires for sale”   He peers from a hat, lures attached Hip boots, vest with tags Tackle box, rod and reel in hand   He searches for something To break the rippling current By a shoreline that is no longer there   Searching for the first amphibian To crawl from the virgin waters Hoping to carefully hook it, reel it in Cradle it in trembling hands And whisper soothingly, “Go back”

Rod Drought

“We can complain because rose bushes have thorns, or rejoice because thorn bushes have roses.” – Abraham Lincoln -6-

Weekly Avocet - Issue No. 20 Here are three more that dared take The Tunnel Tree challenge…

Tree Tunnel Romantics What if worldwide lovers celebrated close of April Arbor Day By offering affection under mystical fused tree canopies’ array? Hans could propose to Brunhilda beside a sedate Bonn street Swept up by aura of arching cherry blossoms that kiss in mid-HeerstraBe: a pink floral treat. Graham and Gwyneth could recite Dylan Thomas under tangled, broad trunk, bent-over medieval yews At Aberglasney House gardens: place of eerie Welsh fairy tale greenery, all askew. James might caress Colleen by Dark Hedges of stalwart, solid beech in County Antrim As Northern Ireland’s jilted, spectral “Grey Lady” nestled in intermingling branches – dreaming of Elysium. Jaroslav might clasp Ludmila’s hand walking through leafy verdure of Ukraine’s Tunnel of Love: The natural chapel was crowned by gentleness as the two woodworkers cooed like turtle doves. Kikuma and Natsumi would pen tender haiku, senryu and tanka near wisteria’s dangling mauve arabesques: Springtime in Okazaki encouraged mildness, and two at their best. As Tree Tunnel Romantics know: the most halcyon earthly place is where rows of arbor hug – An Eden of interlacing boughs forming a cupola for seraphic, planet-friendly couples: never smug.

Barbara Hantman

“Man’s heart away from nature becomes hard.” - Standing Bear -7-

Weekly Avocet - Issue No. 20

Cocooned Under a Canopy Where branches join beneath the sky a stillness beckons me within. I tiptoe softly, breathe a sigh where branches join beneath the sky. Beside a pool of sun I lie, at peace with all my creature kin. Where branches join beneath the sky a stillness beckoned me within.   Lauren McBride

“We cannot command Nature, except by obeying her.” – Francis Bacon

Tunnel of shadows My little girl growing up so fast, right in front of me, letting go of my hand, telling me to go ahead. I watch as her head swiftly switches from side to side with every tip-toe step she dares to take under the shrouded darkness of these tunneled old oaks. The little light that filters through with the slight breeze that blows the leaves on these massive trees around, makes a scary, swishing sound create dappled, moving shadows dancing, swirling across the graveled ground, with dangling, gnarled branches appearing ready to grab hold of a soul and drag it up into the darkness. I want to hide and jump out. yelling “Boo” to my daughter, but know her mother would be way beyond mad at me being such a bad daddy, and, I am quite spooked myself seeing faces etched into the dark bark staring at me from each tree. Finally coming to the end, I see my daughter running up to me into my waiting arms. “Daddy, that was so scary! Can we please do it again?” Charles Portolano “Dream as if you’ll live forever. Live as if you’ll die today.” - James Dean -8-

Weekly Avocet - Issue No. 20

ONE of our ONE own From


Frank Butler was a fair shot But I beat him by one hit, Made him my attendant In Buffalo Bill’s show, Married him fifty years.

of our own

Then there is the witty “Cleopatra’s Conquest.”

lease read my review of Anne Taylor’s wonderful, prize-winning collection of poetry, The River Within.

She removed her huge pearl earring, The largest in history, a King’s treasure, Richer than all Roman banquets combined.

The River Within, poems By Ann Taylor Published by Ravenna Press 45 poems, 65 pages $11.95 from Ravenna Press at

I loved how perfectly she ends this gem! In “Spectral” we see from a teacher’s point of view of how glad the students are to be done with a college course.

What a wonderful title, what a pow-

They put down their books, end the course, at last, My students done, they think, and on their way –

erful quote by T. S. Eliot, “The Dry Salvages,” and what an amazing lead, title poem, “The River Within” by 2011 Winner of The Cathlamet Prize for Poetry. The title, the quote and the lead poem set the stage for all the magic that will follow. In “The River Within,” Ms. Taylor speaks of all the waters that have run over our earth from the beginning of time, those ancient waters are still the same waters with us today, just as the emotional river that has run through us over the course of humankind is still the same. Both cut across, cut deep into the landscape of what makes planet Earth so special and what makes us humans so unique among all the species that populate the planet.

But I go beside them, their reading ghost. She drives home how few teachers really touch us, but those few who do, live with us forever. “So much of my journey has been with you” is a warm, fine poem of love. It’s hard to recall a place without you Placed within it – you a shadow ahead Then there are my two favorites of the whole wonderful collection, “At Ilium” and “Trojan Walls. I have always had a special place in my imagination for anything that has to do with the TrojanWar. “At Ilium” the poet writes of visiting the ruins of the infamous site in quite an amusing tale.

Triceratops washes down volcano dust with what I’m sipping now or with today’s Ganges floating a shrouded body to a new birth

From the bastion where Astyanax Might have cried to his dying father, I hear hootings, seamen happy With escape from the sea, happy

Ms. Taylor writes many poems based on classical and historical figures which are wildly entertaining.

But the best for me is “Trojan Walls” for the poet tells the tale so well that for me I felt I was circling the walls of Troy with Helen.

In “Anne Oakley: Peerless Lady Wing-Shot,” we are put into the head of Annie, to read what made her tick. -9-



e hope we provoked you to thought; that you leave having experienced a complete emotional response to the poetry. I want to thank our poets for sharing their work with us this week. And, “Thank you for reading, dear reader!” Again, if you haven’t yet, send in one nature Spring-themed poem (please, only one) please do! Please remember it is one poem, per poet, per season for The Weekly Avocet’s submissions. Be well, see you next Wednesday Charles Portolano Editor of the Avocet, a Journal of Nature Poetry

STAY INFORMED To know it, that you are a poet, you must write, read other poets, subscribe, buy poetry collections, and bring poetry into the lives of those who don’t know of its beauty.

SUBSCRIBE Please think about sending a subscription check just $24 for four issues, 64 pages of pure poetry (shipping in the USA) made out to: Avocet, a Journal of Nature Poetry Charles Portolano, Editor P.O. Box 19186, Fountain Hills, AZ 85269 Sample copy - $6 With your subscription, The Weekly Avocet, every Wednesday, is sent by e-mail to all the friends of the Avocet to read and enjoy nature poetry for the-middle-of-the-week.



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continued... so she paces the perimeter of a doomed city, awaits return to her starting point where her captivating beauty will once more be enthroned, There are countless poems in this collection that resonated with me as a reader. Joan Houlihan calls Ann Taylor’s poetry, “Intelligent poetry,” which it certainly is. I reveled in her intelligence. I felt she was making me more intelligent from having spent quality time reading her impressive verse. I will come back again and again to her writing, wishing I had had the privilege of having her as one of my college professors. By Charles Portolano, Editor of The Avocet, a Journal of Nature Poetry

CALL for SUBMISSIONS The Weekly Avocet every Wednesday, an e-mail of Nature Poetry • Please send only one poem, per poet, per season. Let’s do spring-themed poetry now. • Please no more than 38 lines per poem. • Please use single spaced lines. • Please use the Times New Roman 12pt. font. • Please send your submission to • Please remember, previously published poems are wanted. • Please always put your name and e-mail address under your poem. Thank you.

Issue No. 20  

Just $24 for four issues Charles Portolano, Editor P.O. Box 19186 Fountain Hills, AZ 85269 Sample copy - $6

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