Peregrine–Anthologized

My poem, “What I forgot to Ask” was recently selected for the Austin International Poetry Festival  Anthology di-verse-city. The poem found its way into the world after I watched a peregrine falcon lunch on a nuthatch in my front lawn. The nuthatch is unconfirmed, and “lawn” is a generous term for the smattering of beeches and oaks in front of the house.

I missed the reading in Austin, but I’ll savor anthology when it arrives–a long list of talented poets. To order a copy click here. Celebrate National Poetry Month with a bird, cat, human, or mouse of your choice.

peregrine-falcon-wings-extended nat geo credit

(photo courtesy of National Geographic)

What I Forgot to Ask

I do it all the time, mistake flight for freedom;
escape for repentance. If only,
like a peregrine, I didn’t have to explain
my silences or defend my stealth. She descends
cliff ledges with confidence under cover
of camouflage. I cannot leave
this nest of caked mud and broken twigs
or cradle the updraft between fingers.
Too much captivity makes a girl tired.

What language do you have
for the barren days when nothing catches your eye,
when speed doesn’t win? Is there ever an hour
when you want no wings? to tuck feathers away
and wobble on talons like a cripple?
Tell me about the wind, the kind
that quiets fear and lengthens your cries
into inaudible whispers. When do you rest?

For more peregrine inspired work, see my essay “Choosing Peregrine” in the Homebound Publications anthology, Wildness: Voices of the Sacred Landscape

Blue-stained Ukulele

I found this draft of a post this morning. I’m not sure why I never finished it or posted it last year. Thanks for this month’s issue of National Geographic (about Yellowstone National Park) for inspiring me. . .

From April 2015:

I’ve been a subscriber to the National Geographic Magazine for a few years now, often binging on issues when I find a pocket of free time. This weekend is the calm before the storm of end-of-the-semester melee that will consume the next two weeks. So I’ve been catching up on the April 2015 issue, which features a moving essay commemorating  the 150th anniversary of Lincoln’s death, tracing the route of the funeral procession. was reminded that the coffin remained open for most of the journey.

I finished that article on Friday, leaving all but one article for Sunday, when Maoist militants bludgeon the weakest of India’s citizens with terror and coal and pine beetles kill mighty forests from British Columbia to Colorado. Maybe the spirit of goodness in all of this was found in the salvaged wood, left after the beetles kill away everything else. The blue marks left over make beautiful patterns. Al Gore, apparently, owns a blue-stained ukulele, but I’m not sure to laugh or cry knowing that. Most of the time, the corpse trunks and branches are burned, but it turns out that much of the beetles’ reign is due to the practice of not allowing the forests to renew themselves through fire. That, and the sweltering globe, which we’ve given them so willingly.

It’s easy to feel overwhelmed and burdened by new knowledge. What I found stranger was that my own sadness was tempered by something like thankfulness. Of course I felt lucky to be safe, comfortable, and privileged, but more so, thankful for the writers and photographers, and for my subscription dollars that ask us to understand that sorrow exists and is as valid and life affirming as its opposite. Thankful that there are words, however insufficient, to make up for the sorrow.

Blue-stained Ukulele

I found this draft of a post this morning. I’m not sure why I never finished it or posted it last year. Thanks for this month’s issue of National Geographic (about Yellowstone National Park) for inspiring me. . .

From April 2015:

I’ve been a subscriber to the National Geographic Magazine for a few years now, often binging on issues when I find a pocket of free time. This weekend is the calm before the storm of end-of-the-semester melee that will consume the next two weeks. So I’ve been catching up on the April 2015 issue, which features a moving essay commemorating  the 150th anniversary of Lincoln’s death, tracing the route of the funeral procession. was reminded that the coffin remained open for most of the journey.

I finished that article on Friday, leaving all but one article for Sunday, when Maoist militants bludgeon the weakest of India’s citizens with terror and coal and pine beetles kill mighty forests from British Columbia to Colorado. Maybe the spirit of goodness in all of this was found in the salvaged wood, left after the beetles kill away everything else. The blue marks left over make beautiful patterns. Al Gore, apparently, owns a blue-stained ukulele, but I’m not sure to laugh or cry knowing that. Most of the time, the corpse trunks and branches are burned, but it turns out that much of the beetles’ reign is due to the practice of not allowing the forests to renew themselves through fire. That, and the sweltering globe, which we’ve given them so willingly.

It’s easy to feel overwhelmed and burdened by new knowledge. What I found stranger was that my own sadness was tempered by something like thankfulness. Of course I felt lucky to be safe, comfortable, and privileged, but more so, thankful for the writers and photographers, and for my subscription dollars that ask us to understand that sorrow exists and is as valid and life affirming as its opposite. Thankful that there are words, however insufficient, to make up for the sorrow.