Oxlips and Violets

I know a bank where the wild thyme blows,
Where oxlips and the nodding violet grows,
Quite overcanopied with luscious woodbine,
With sweet muskroses, and with eglantine.
There sleeps Titania sometime of the night.
Lulled in these flowers with dances and delights.
And there the snake throws her enameled skin,
Weed wide enough to wrap a fairy in.
And with the juice of this I’ll streak her eyes
And make her full of hateful fantasies.
—William Shakespeare A Midsummer Night’s Dream Act 2. Sc.1

It was a hectic week with taxes and travel.  To make up for the missed Monday and Tuesday posts here are a few lines of Shakespeare’s.  His birthday is tomorrow.

Several months ago I discovered the book How to Teach Your Children Shakespeare by Ken Ludwig.  It turns out it works pretty well for adults too!

Bear Season

We all want to see a mammal.
Squirrels & snowshoe hares don’t count.
Voles don’t count. Something, preferably,
that could do us harm.
Elizabeth Bradfield

Across the country from Connecticut to Mississippi* to California  bears are waking up and lumbering out of their dens.

No sign of them in my neighborhood yet–I’m hoping there’s enough food on the mountain to satisfy them and keep them out of trouble.

*Natchez: A wildlife biologist is warning people not to feed a young black bear that’s been wandering the streets of downtown.  US Today 4/19/17

Discovering William Stafford

Traveling through the dark I found a deer
dead on the edge of the Wilson River road.
It is usually best to roll them into the canyon:
that road is narrow; to swerve might make more dead.
—William Stafford

Years ago I heard my first William Stafford poem on the radio program Writer’s Almanac.  Garrison Keillor mentioned that Stafford was born in Hutchinson, Kansas in 1914 and I was curious to know more about him. Much to my surprise he had graduated from Liberal High School, my high school, but I  don’t remember ever hearing him mentioned.  Maybe I wasn’t paying attention.  

I’ve been looking for the perfect poem of his to share but have been unable to find the one about minnows that I wanted to post.  The one linked below is a new one to me, a chance encounter on a dark road.

Traveling through the Dark 



Forest Man

Jays land on the muscles of his branches, breasts high,
Churning their infinite tones.  Spiders trace a path
along his long legs, up the dusty window of his body.
The forest man spells of pine and chocolate mints.
Lauren Camp

The piñon trees in my yard and around town are dying.  Not all of them, but enough of them to be alarming.  Too hot, too many years of drought—I will miss them and wonder where the birds will go.  Check out the entire poem here.

Spring Cleaning

Don’t worry, spiders,
I keep house
Kobayashi Issa

My housekeeping philosophy until the imminent arrival of company. Time to get out the dust mop—all spiders have got to go!


An Alternate Route

An Alternate Route

Nature (unlike some
huge metropolis)
treats us like adults:
we must discover all
its glory by ourselves.
Imagine how disheartening
if wandering inside this
intricate wood we came upon
small placards reading—
TURN LEFT for Quaking Aspen.
SLOW DOWN: Strawberries.
—Miles Merritt

I found this poem in the Poetry Issue of our local weekly, The Santa Fe Reporter.  It was my favorite of the bunch and makes me feel like I need to get outside, see what’s new.


a big-nosed roan gelding, calm as a president’s portrait
lives in the rectangle that leads to the stalls.  We call it
the motel lobby. Wise old campaigner, he dunks his

hay in the water bucket to soften it, then visits the others
who hang their heads over their dutch doors. Sometimes
he sprawls out flat to nap in his commodious quarters.
Maxine Cumin

One of my favorites—a poem about a horse named Jack and so much more.




Little Goats

The little goats like my mouth and fingers,
and one stands up against the wire fence, and taps on the fence board
a hoof made blacker by the dirt of the field.
Mark Doty

I discovered Pescadero and Mark Doty in The New Yorker.  The magazine recently launched a new feature on Twitter, a poem a day from their archives.  Check it out at @tnypoetry.

Yes.  I know my formatting was messed up on yesterday’s poem-—the trials of trying to post from a smart phone.  It’s fixed now.



“Why don’t you turn at the next corner,”
she said, “and take another road home.
Let’s go past that farm with all the
different colored lilacs.”
Leo Dangel

Did I mention I was going to take a break from poetry or at least blogging about poetry for the weekend?  I needed time to gather the books of poems strewn around the house–on the kitchen table, under the bed, buried in stacks of newspapers–and to think about where I was after seven days of verse.

Four Kinds of Lilacs seems like a good place to pick it up again.  I’ve been in Santa Fe for almost twenty years, but I’m always surprised when the purple clusters begin to show themselves in April.   In western Kansas where I grew up they lag by several weeks (or at least they used to), making them the perfect May Day flower.  As a kid, I filled baskets made of colored construction paper with lilacs and candy, dropped them on neighbors’ porches, rang the bell, and ran.

Friday night I stepped off the sidewalk and into a flowerbed downtown to catch a whiff of a just-opened blossom.  It smelled like spring.


Coyote, with Mange

Why have you chosen to punish the coyote
rummaging for chicken bones in the dung heap,
shucked the fur from his tail
and fashioned it into a scabby cane?
Mark Wunderlich

Photo By: Paula Nixon

I said no photos but couldn’t resist posting this one again.  It goes so well with today’s poem, Coyote, with Mange.

My little corner of New Mexico would not be the same without our native canid.  This year our state legislature came close to banning coyote killing contests, but it didn’t happen.  The bill passed three committees and the Senate, but died at the end of the  session before it made it to a vote on the floor of the House.

Maybe next year.