Sundown on the Badfish

© 2013 Loren Zemlicka
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Tempestuous Twilight

© 2013 Loren Zemlicka
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“Clouds come floating into my life, no longer to carry rain or usher storm, but to add color to my sunset sky.”
– Rabindranath Tagore

Sullen Waters

© 2013 Loren Zemlicka
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Here delicate snow-stars, out of the cloud,
Come floating downward in airy play,
Like spangles dropped from the glistening crowd
That whiten by night the milky way;
There broader and burlier masses fall;
The sullen water buries them all–
Flake after flake–
All drowned in the dark and silent lake.

– Excerpt from “The Snow-Shower” by William Cullen Bryant

Remembered Light

© 2013 Loren Zemlicka

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… not every man knows what he’ll discover instead.
When the weight of the past leans against nothing, and the sky

Is no more than remembered light, and the stories of cirrus
And cumulus come to a close, and all the birds are suspended in flight,
Not every man knows what is waiting for him, or what he shall sing
When the ship he is on slips into darkness, there at the end.

– Excerpt from “The End” by Mark Strand

A Crown of Autumn Leaves

© 2012 Loren Zemlicka
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Yellow fall roars
Over the ground.
Loud, in the leafy sun that pours
Liquid through doors,
Yellow, the leaves twist down

Glowing in wind and change,
The orange leaf tells

How one more season will alter and range,
Working the strange
Colors of clamor and bells

When autumn gathers, the tree
That the leaves sang
Reddens dark slowly, then, suddenly free,
Turns like a key,
Opening air where they hang

One of the hanging leaves,
Deeply maroon,
Tightens its final hold, receives,
Finally weaves
Through, and is covered soon

Holding past summer’s hold,
Open and strong,
One of the leaves in the crown is gold,
Set in the cold
Where the old seasons belong.

– Excerpts from “A Crown of Autumn Leaves” by Annie Finch

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

Barbaric Black and Burning Gold

Deep with divine tautology,
The sunset’s mighty mystery
Again has traced the scroll-like west
With hieroglyphs of burning gold:
Forever new, forever old,
Its miracle is manifest.

Time lays the scroll away. And now
Above the hills a giant brow
Of cloud Night lifts; and from his arm,
Barbaric black, upon the world,
With thunder, wind and fire, is hurled
His awful argument of storm.

What part, O man, is yours in such?
Whose awe and wonder are in touch
With Nature,–speaking rapture to
Your soul,–yet leaving in your reach
No human word of thought or speech
Commensurate with the thing you view.

– “Sunset and Storm” by Madison Julius Cawein

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© 2012 Loren Zemlicka
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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”

Badfish Goodnight

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

The Badfish Creek in southern Wisconsin was originally named Waucoma by the original Native American inhabitants.

This account of how the Badfish mistakingly got its name comes from the Cooksville Blog:

“The name, “Bad Fish,” appears to have been applied, perhaps mistakenly, in late 1833, when the U.S. government land surveyors were moving through the Wisconsin part of the Michigan Territory from the east and the Rock River to the west past the Yahara (Catfish) River and on further west in Rock County (then part of Brown County), through a “Rolling Prairie,” as their sketch map called it. When the surveyors came upon a large creek in the northwest corner of what is now Rock County, they apparently thought they had reached a part of the Bad Fish River (later the Sugar River) system.

The Bad Fish River was the name of the upper branch of the Sugar River at that time. The land surveyors presumed, mistakenly, that the little creek flowing from that direction was a small tributary of the Bad Fish River. Thus, they named it the Bad Fish Creek.

For whatever reason, the name “Bad Fish Creek” was recorded in the early 1830s survey.”

The Badfish Creek is now a favorite paddling destination in the Madison – Oregon area.

I Go On Forever

Canon EOS 5D
Sigma 50mm f/1.4 EX DG HSM

I chatter, chatter, as I flow
To join the brimming river,
For men may comeand men may go,
But I go on forever.

I wind about, and in and out,
with here a blossom sailing,
And here and there a lusty trout,
And here and there a grayling,

And here and there a foamy flake
Upon me, as I travel
With many a silver water-break
Above the golden gravel,

And draw them all along, and flow
To join the brimming river,
For men may come and men may go,
But I go on forever.

I steal by lawns and grassy plots,
I slide by hazel covers;
I move the sweet forget-me-nots
That grow for happy lovers.

I slip, I slide, I gloom, I glance,
Among my skimming swallows;
I make the netted sunbeam dance
Against my sandy shallows.

I murmur under moon and stars
In brambly wildernesses;
I linger by my shingly bars;
I loiter round my cresses;

And out again I curve and flow
To join the brimming river,
For men may come and men may go,
But I go on forever.

– Exerpt from “The Brook” by Alfred Lord Tennyson