Slow Morning Hours

© 2012 Loren Zemlicka
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O hushed October morning mild,
Thy leaves have ripened to the fall;
Tomorrow’s wind, if it be wild,
Should waste them all.
The crows above the forest call;
Tomorrow they may form and go.
O hushed October morning mild,
Begin the hours of this day slow.
Make the day seem to us less brief.
Hearts not averse to being beguiled,
Beguile us in the way you know.
Release one leaf at break of day;
At noon release another leaf;
One from our trees, one far away.
Retard the sun with gentle mist;
Enchant the land with amethyst.
Slow, slow!
For the grapes’ sake, if they were all,
Whose leaves already are burnt with frost,
Whose clustered fruit must else be lost—
For the grapes’ sake along the wall.

– “October” by Robert Frost

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Wishing There Was Only a Fence

© 2012 Loren Zemlicka
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Barbed wires on rusted nails can’t hold
lone bulls at home when they smell pasture.
They thrust their bone skulls under barbs,
tongues quivering for a taste of strange

and shove until the post gives way. Days later,
we find wires sagging, reset the post,
and tighten bent wires like a fiddle
and rope the worn-out bull,

wishing there was only a fence
between us and our heart’s desire.
But something with spurs and a rope
would find us, cursing and yelling on horseback,

cutting us from escape down arroyos,
dragging us frothing and wild-eyed
back to the sun-bleached yellow range,
the same whirlpool of buzzards.

– “Riding Herd” by Walter McDonald

Up With The Light

© 2012 Loren Zemlicka
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Rise up, rise up,
And, as the trumpet blowing
Chases the dreams of men,
As the dawn glowing
The stars that left unlit
The land and water,
Rise up and scatter
The dew that covers
The print of last night’s lovers—
Scatter it, scatter it!

While you are listening
To the clear horn,
Forget, men, everything
On this earth newborn,
Except that it is lovelier
Than any mysteries.
Open your eyes to the air
That has washed the eyes of the stars
Through all the dewy night:
Up with the light,
To the old wars;
Arise, arise!

– “The Trumpet” by Edward Thomas

Here, Where the World is Quiet

© 2012 Loren Zemlicka
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Here, where the world is quiet ;
Here, where all trouble seems
Dead winds’ and spent waves’ riot
In doubtful dreams of dreams ;
I watch the green field growing
For reaping folk and sowing,
For harvest-time and mowing,
A sleepy world of streams.

– From “The Garden of Proserpine” by Algernon Charles Swinburne

Hushed October Morning

© 2012 Loren Zemlicka
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O hushed October morning mild,
Thy leaves have ripened to the fall;
Tomorrow’s wind, if it be wild,
Should waste them all.
The crows above the forest call;
Tomorrow they may form and go.
O hushed October morning mild,
Begin the hours of this day slow.
Make the day seem to us less brief.
Hearts not averse to being beguiled,
Beguile us in the way you know.
Release one leaf at break of day;
At noon release another leaf;
One from our trees, one far away.
Retard the sun with gentle mist;
Enchant the land with amethyst.
Slow, slow!
For the grapes’ sake, if they were all,
Whose leaves already are burnt with frost,
Whose clustered fruit must else be lost–
For the grapes’ sake along the wall.

– “October” by Robert Frost

Sunrise at -6º

© 2012 Loren Zemlicka
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’Tis morning; and the sun with ruddy orb
Ascending, fires the horizon: while the clouds
That crowd away before the driving wind,
More ardent as the disk emerges more,
Resemble most some city in a blaze,
Seen through the leafless wood. His slanting ray
Slides ineffectual down the snowy vale,
And tinging all with his own rosy hue,
From ev’ry herb and ev’ry spiry blade
Stretches a length of shadow o’er the field.

– From “The Winter Morning Walk” by William Cowper

The Poetry of Earth is Never Dead

© 2012 Loren Zemlicka
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Alone I stare into the frost’s white face.
It’s going nowhere, and I—from nowhere.
Everything ironed flat, pleated without a wrinkle:
Miraculous, the breathing plain.

Meanwhile the sun squints at this starched poverty—
The squint itself consoled, at ease . . .
The ten-fold forest almost the same . . .
And snow crunches in the eyes, innocent, like clean bread.

– Osip Mandelstam, “Alone I Stare Into the Frost’s White Face”

This Hour of Awe

© 2012 Loren Zemlicka
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5 AM. One-quarter past.
Distant chimes inform me this.

A bell peal knells the mist.
And sunlight’s

not yet bludgeoning.
But some light gets blood going.

Last night it was snowing
and now

every path’s a pall.
Though mine the only footfalls

at this hour of awe. Above
hangs a canopy of needle leaf.

Below, the season’s
mean deceit—

that everything stays
white and clean.

It doesn’t, of course,
but I wish it. My prayers

are green with this intent,
imploring winter wrens

to trill and begging scuttling bucks
come back.

There’s something that I lack.
A wryneck

bullet-beaks a branch.
His woodworm didn’t have a chance.

What I miss,
I’ve never had.

But I am not a ghost.
I am a guest.

And life is thirst,
at best.

So do not strike me, Heart.
I am, too, tinder.

I’m flammable
as birch bark, even damp.

Blue spruce, bee-eater—
be sweeter to me.

Let larksong shudder
to its January wheeze,

but gift these hands a happiness
just once.

It is half passed.
And I am cold.

Another peal has tolled.
I’ve told the sum of my appeals.

I need not watch for fox.
They do not congregate at dawn.

But I would,
were I one.

– Jill Alexander Essbaum, “Would-Land”

The Most Touching of Wounded Objects

Canon EOS 5D
Canon EF 17-40mm f/4L USM

“A stricken tree, a living thing, so beautiful,
so dignified, so admirable in its potential longevity,
is, next to man, perhaps the most touching of wounded objects.”

– Edna Ferber

Illuminating the Fog

Canon EOS 5D
Canon EF 17-40mm f/4L USM

“Derive happiness in oneself from a good day’s work, from illuminating the fog that surrounds us.”

– Henri Matisse