state natural area poems, supplementum #4: durward’s glen

we spook a blue heron

treading up prentice creek

stone streaming to pebble

durward's glen 3

Durward’s Glen is a gorge of sandstone and conglomerate in Caledonia, Columbia County, Wisconsin, thru which runs Prentice Creek. Bernard Isaac Durward, a Milwaukee painter and poet, purchased the Glen in the mid-nineteenth century, and it has been a center for retreat and natural beauty since.

The day I visited, there was a steady rain all day long and Prentice Creek was swollen. It is one of my favorite places on earth.

durwards glen 1

durward's glen 4

state natural area poems, supplementum #3: man mound park

man mound’s horns

appropriately ferned

in spring rain

baraboo river

(Baraboo River, just southeast of Man Mound.)

Man Mound is the last remaining anthropomorphic effigy mound in North America, located in Sauk County near the Lower Narrows of the Baraboo Range. It is one of my favorite places on the earth. If you missed it, I have a new, brief essay set at Man Mound in Commonweal.

I visited yesterday in the cool spring rain. It was glorious.

Thanks to the Sauk County Historical Society for keeping this place. You can support their upkeep here.

state natural area poems, supplementum #2 a and b: donges bay gorge

wild turkey up the gorge

forget-me-nots support the sky

the mind saturated by oak

donges 1

springs seep from the bluff-face

over eastsoil baking in sun

rivulets and restless children

donges 2

Donges Bay Gorge Natural Area is a small upland forest and upland lake bluff with a steep ravine running thru. Thanks to the Ozaukee Washington Land Trust for keeping this land.

(Plus, Jack-in-the-pulpit:)

donges 3

state natural area poems, supplementum #1 a and b: bratt woods

this ad hoc project, dreamt up to stave off cabin fever during the safer at home order in wisconsin, is too good for my soul to limit solely to official state natural areas any longer—the river has overflowed its banks to other places we’re going, so here’s “supplementum #1,” a and b.

 

the trout lily’s retired for the year

trillia haunt the ridges

heart speaks to heart

bratt woods #1

lurking the mudstones

carp ride the tide

tanagers look on in silence

 

Bratt Woods is a 17-acre nature preserve managed by the Ozaukee Washington Land Trust. A trio of scarlet tanagers and the an all-points circle of oriole song high in the canopy were highlights of the trip.

Thanks to the Ozaukee Washington Land Trust for keeping this land.

state natural area poems #7 a, b, c: tichigan springs and fen

tangled cluster of boughs

lain low among the pines—

red and mottled survivors

tichigan s&f 2

at the marsh edge

tussocks of moss watch,

rich with mucky life

tichigan s&f 3(kinda)

the redwing blackbirds live

in a world all their own

cattails and fenreek curve,

cradling the earth’s bounds

tichigan s&f 1

Tichigan Springs and Fen in Racine County is a calcareous fen, meadow, and springs running from an esker, with adjoining marsh and woods in the surrounding Tichigan Wildlife Area. The cowslip (aka marsh marigold) were particularly lovely when we visited.

https://dnr.wi.gov/topic/Lands/naturalareas/index.asp?SNA=689

Thanks to the Wisconsin DNR for tending this place.

state natural area poems #6a and 6b: jackson marsh

6a:

you point feverishly to warblers

as swifts swarm the marsh

trout lily is in bloom

jackson marsh 3

6b:

brilliant flash of orange

breaks over cedar creek:

your eyes against the sky

jackson marsh 2

Jackson Marsh is a southern wet forest with a white cedar-tamarack swamp of 590 acres. Exquisite, and a much needed break from the city… Thanks again to the Wisconsin DNR for watching over this land.

state natural area poems #5: milwaukee river floodplain forest

a frog dives below the current

logcock sprints upstream

the river will not be stopped

 

The Milwaukee River Floodplain Forest is a bottomland hardwood forest with some upland pockets situated along the East Branch of the Milwaukee River in Washington County, Wisconsin.

ice age trail outside kewaskum

https://dnr.wi.gov/topic/Lands/naturalareas/index.asp?SNA=253

With gratitude to the Wisconsin DNR for maintaining this patch of earth.

back on quarantine poetry/natural space project…state natural area poems #4

With the lifting of restrictions at Wisconsin state recreational sites, I’m back on my lockdown project of visiting my regional State Natural Areas with three-liners. Here’s the latest…

 

state natural area poems #4: kewaskum maple-oak woods

in early spring sun

frogs croak in chorus

bloodroot stands in lobed splendor

 

Located on the lands of the Northern Unit Kettle Moraine State Forest, Kewaskum Maple-Oak Woods is a set of two parcels east of the Milwaukee River in Washington County, Wisconsin.

bloodroot kewaskum sna

Gratitude to the Wisconsin DNR for preserving these lands.

Translation of the Old English “Ruin” in Presence–Audio

I’m delighted to (belatedly) announce that my translation of the Old English poem “The Ruin” appears in the newest issue of Presence, a great journal run by great people.

I read the poem in the audio file below, but here’s some basic context too:

“The Ruin” is a poem found in the tenth-century Exeter Book, which is the first anthology of English poems and a great treasure of English speakers’ literary inheritance. The poem is spoken by an Anglo-Saxon as he stands before what seems to be a Roman ruin in Britain, and he meditates on the transience of culture and human life as he marvels at what the ruin suggests about the creative energies that once existed where he stands. In my translation, I take this scene and “update” it to a Euro-American standing in front of a Middle Woodland burial mound in Milwaukee, WI’s Lake Park, with the same kind of brooding on transience etc.

The picture below shows the Lake Park mound (the green slope between trees with the stone marker on top) and the audio provides a reading of part of the original Old English and of the whole Modern English translation.

I hope you enjoy what was an immensely rewarding project for me.

lake park mound