In the Language of Leaves
by Frederick Michaels
Clothed in the rustle of leaves,
I am your stately witness,
nature’s observer in silence
to time’s passage of season.
I have longed for a voice,
to speak beyond concentric rings
of life’s flow from root to trunk,
trunk to branch, branch to leaf;
to tell you of how I loathe fire,
yet cherish a warm spring rain;
to relate my joy as leaves reach
for lemon rays of summer sun;
or my solitude, denuded in winter,
after my glorious flames of autumn.
I could recall the giggles of a child
and squawks of noisy squirrels.
I might tell of lovers’ soft sighs,
the infernal buzzing of cicadas,
a dog’s bark and plaintive whimper
after being tied up to my trunk.
But silence is painful loneliness,
standing here among so many.
Had I only the power to speak,
what conversation we might have!
I would find such words as worthy
to echo forever in a forest’s heart,
disguised as they might seem
by the perpetual rustle of leaves.
From Fort to Park: An Overview
by Dan Carpenter
When the gray/green clanking beasts
roamed below us in lined herds
stretching far beyond the sight
in which we held our green/black world
we generations of tree-clingers
doomed to sniff and tremble
in unrelieved vigilance
came to feel no fear of them
nor of the shouting creatures borne
on their backs, sprouting sticks
that barked and flamed
nor of the evil beyond the beyond
to which they were bred to bring
the terror for which we were too busy
hustling our stony groceries
making our little furballs
now that we have outlasted them
and presumably their enemies
in the vast green/black peace they’ve left us
an old unforgotten tremor
calling our gaze upward in the silence
those wide gliding patient wings
Dan Carpenter is an Indianapolis journalist and poet. He is the author of a new book of poetry, The Art He’d Sell for Love, as well as Indiana Outloud, and Hard Pieces: Dan Carpenter’s Indiana.
by Liza Hyatt
and. the. soil.
I. freeze. in. its. shadow.
Feel. the. world. vibrate.
What Trees Teach
by Liza Hyatt
Branching out in all directions.
Hemisphere of boughs,
hemisphere of roots.
Not clutching or groping or fleeing.
When thunder blooms,
in wildest winds,
instead of cowering,we comb sky’s tangled tresses,
conduits for lightening’s joy-buzz plunge to earth,
memories of ice, fire, drought, abundance
ringing our hearts like bell’s peal,
like water planted with pebble.
We are, we change,
we give standing ovations
to every storm,
every star sparked night,
every kind of day.
Throw your branches up in joy,
ease roots eagerly through mud.
With every fiber stretch and grow.
We don’t hold on,
we let go.
World holds on to us.
Inchworm in the Black-Eyed Susans
by Liza Hyatt
I constrict and open,
constrict and open
upon a shining petal.
I bridge the wind-widened
abyss between flowers, span
the gaps, reach the dark-seed core.
All around, yellow dusted lusty bees
frenzy their flower fondling
while I stand in the dark,
devouring its sweet crown,
its pollen halo,
grain by delicious gold grain.
From now until death
all I will do is walk
petals of light
from sun to sun
amid a thousand stars
seeking those hearts so ripe
they compact into mystery
more opaque than black,
finding and leaving
and finding that mystery again,
and again, never leaving
the place where life abounds,
feasting on fire fruit,
on wealth which fills
with hunger the grows voracious
because it cannot
constantly and easily fed.