Poetry and Flowers and Reflections

 In Resources

Excerpted from my March 2024 newsletter. 

Poetry

As I’ve shared in the past, many of my poems start with observations of the natural world. The poems can take a range of directions from there: to metaphor, to reflection on identity or relationship with place, to broader social, political, and humanitarian issues. Climate change and its impacts on organisms, ecosystems, and human communities is never far from my mind. “Apid,” published in my first book of poetry, touches on this:

Apid

I saw 10 dead bees on my walk today–
10 small bodies lying on their sides or backs,
their wings still and smaller somehow.

How many flowers
did those soft faces push into?
How many pollen grains
staticked to the intricate forest of hairs on one leg?

Have you ever seen a bee up close —
(when it was alive, I mean)
look the next chance you get,
you will see its abdomen swell and contract
with breath, or blood, or maybe even something more holy.

Can you imagine summer without that faint buzz,
the background whisper:
We are here while you pause at the window sill
or greet your children at the bus stop.|
While you bake cookies filled with finely chopped nuts,
we speak the names of next year’s seeds.

This summer is long and rain has yet to come
and I found 10 dead bees on my walk today.
Take note, nothing is normal here.

Without them there might as well be no flowers —
take tweezers and try to cover half that ground.

When they stop, we stop.
When their wings fall,
We fall. 


Spotted around the yard: Flowers and reflections

Spring is a long incantation in California. Flowers start blooming in February and continue on through May. I always feel dizzy with joy seeing each flower blooming for the first time. Right now, the ceanothus in the yard is in full bloom. Bees, both native California bees and European honey bees, circle the flowers all day, as long as the plant is in sunlight.

I see each shifting season as an opportunity to pause and reflect. What was I thinking about a year ago? What was I doing and spending my time on the last time the ceanothus was in flower? Like looking at a ledger of previous year’s seeds and successes, I’m taking stock of what I’ve done since last spring, how I’ve been showing up in the world and in my community, and how my internal landscape and external circumstances have changed.

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