ellison bluff is a long terrace of the niagra escarpment. it’s ledge features white cyprus and the land stretching out behind it features a northern mesic forest made of ash, beech, maple, and oak. thanks for to door county for preserving this space.
meridian state park is a forest, alkaline marsh, and sedge meadow on an isthmus between kangaroo lake and lake michigan in door county, wisconsin. the prominent outcropping of the niagra escarpment is something else, but so is the wood and the marsh. tremendous. thanks to door county for tending this land, and the workers who were there clearing trails as we walked them.
bailey’s harbor boreal forest and wetlands is exactly what it sounds like! a fantastic and barebones trail thru the woods with extensive bryophytes and currently-blazing fall colors. a newer section goes along the lakeshore. thanks to the wisconsin dnr for caring for this site!
Happy to announce that a shortish poem of mine, “On Love and Knowledge” was published by Amethyst Review a few days ago. It recounts an afternoon my family and I spent at the Schlitz Audubon Nature Center a few months ago, and, well, other things.
You can read it here, and while you’re there, why not stick around and read some of the other terrific poems AR is publishing?
On this Marian feast of Our Lady of the Rosary, I thought I’d offer a reading of Dame Gertrude More’s poem “To Our Blessed Lady, the Advocate of Sinners.”
A short prayer-poem set in common metre, “To Our Blessed Lady” was composed by the Benedictine nun Gertrude More in the early seventeenth century and is edited in my fourth book, Dame Gertude More’s Poems & Counsels on Prayer and Contemplation.
Benedictines paved the way of Marian devotion thru-out the early and high middle ages, and here’s Gertrude, co-foundress of Stanbrook Abbey, carrying on the tradition.
as i sat on one of the huge chunks of cement dumped near the bank of the fox river, i found myself trying to keep the electricity poles and other slabs of debris out of the shots of the opposite bank. that didn’t feel quite right, so i figured i had another “anthropocenum” moment on my hands. these shots are frank about what the fox looks like at this moment in its journey from halbach swamp down to the illinois.
before the first three-liner this time, i just wanted to say ‘thanks’ to all the folks who’ve continued to read these and ‘like’ them too. it’s been a real blessing knowing that a few people out there continue to enjoy a moment with these virtual traces of my walks and identifying-sprees.
tussocky grass soft underfoot
feathered lichen tree-grasp
moss and mushrooms win the day
off the map as raindrops
shower canopy. thank God
for woods with no direction
like wordsworth i leave the city
walls, danish in hand
sky, aster, swamp-oak
a heavenly cascade
bare trunks spire the sky
as bird-call fills the boughs again
out the woods, into the swamp
martin’s woods is a 32-acre plot in waukesha county with mesic and wet-mesic forest as well as a hardwood swamp dominated by ash and swamp white oak. no trails or access aside from the forest edge. wonderful. thanks to the waukesha land conservancy for caring for this land!
Today saw the release of Trinity House Review‘s premier issue! THR is a journal dedicated to serious poets doing work that tends to the transcendent in human life, to craft, and to “the hallows of a haunted age” (from their opening editorial). It’s an honor to be included in its pages and with such terrific poets.
My translation of the Old English “A Journey Galdor” (usually called “A Journey Charm” by editors) appears in the issue. The galdru are a strange “genre” of poetic and prose texts in Old English: half-prayer, half-magic, half-recipe. (!) They are a relic of a time when the self was more porous than moderns tend to think of it.
“A Journey Galdor” is one of my favorites of the genre, because it is a prayer for protection (and so, very practical) and because of its vague mentioning of various kinds of early Germanic “terrors”. This is a world in which elves and dragons and other wights are still very much a live option and need to be defended against. It’s a hoot, and deadly earnest.