sna series supplementum #40: shorewood nature preserve

around five acres of forested bluff and shoreline on lake michigan just north of the city of milwaukee. a steep fall down a ravine off lake drive goes to a trail that skirts the line where lake michigan eats away at the coastal bluff. good beach time with my youngest today.


down to the lakefront

past new squill

mussel shells abound


agate and granite

schist and gneiss

my second son’s smile

sna poems #132: point beach ridges

point beach ridges is, according to the wdnr website, a series of 11 swales and ridges parallel to the current lake michigan shoreline in manitowoc cty. the ridges and swales are former beaches of the last eight millennia that used to border glacial lake nipissing. open blowing sand near the lake to juniper/bearberry dunes to swampy swales to fully forested ridges give this site a tremendously varying quality. super fun to hike, and we had a gorgeous late-autumn day for it.

last visit to walk all of manitowoc cty’s snas.

first id’s of bearberry, bunchberry, birch polypore, and dune goldenrod! first non-bog id of sphagnum moss. (thanks to twitter folks for help with recent ids)


beech leaves under ice

sunlight in

thru cedar swamp boughs


newest beach’s dunes


comes to view from sand


waves under midday sun


to the chilled shingle


these tiny dune-lasts


the sea’s own leavings


clouds in western sky

stranded strips

of yellow birch bark


o kinnickkinnick


bless and grace this beach!

sna poems #126: two creeks buried forest

two creeks buried forest is a fascinating site. a small prairie on the side of a highway that falls off into a sandy bluff over lake michigan, the bluffside is the amazing part here, tho the prairie was a solid walk too.

according to the dnr page for the site, the woody material partially uncovered by the wave action and other erosion is actually a buried forest grown and submerged in between periods of glaciation. when the cary glacier retreated, a boreal forest grew; then the valders glacier enabled the flooding of the area, flattening the forest, and covering the area with deposits. debris from the forest like “needles, cones, mosses, and terrestrial snails” are present in addition to wood, the radiocarbon dating of which has revealed it to be 11,850 years old. in addition to making the dating of the interglacial periods clear, the site’s evidence shows that entire forests could establish themselves in between glacial waves. i haven’t been so fascinated by the dnr’s description of an sna for a long while.

our walk was good, especially seeing a small flock of geese fly in and play around in the surf below. it would have been cool to go investigate the remains close up, but the sensitive nature of the site kept us respectfully atop the bluff.


seven geese splashing

as they light

honking in the surf


the mummified wood

white, blasted:

forest memory

new paternal poem in _wild roof journal_

the kind folks at wild roof journal have published a poem of mine, “for my father,” in their fifteenth issue. this came out a bit ago, but things have been busy. all good, but very little slack time for posting things.

anyhow, i made this poem when i was hiding in the shade of some cypress trees from the midday sun on the shore of lake michigan in door county. i was daydreaming and suddenly my childhood saturday morning walks with my dad to stop-n-go (our local convenience store) for a newspaper and coffee came hurtling into my brain. had to write it down.

thanks, wild roof!

(pictures from “the old water quarry” gestured toward near the end of the poem)

sna poems, series anthropocenum #19 (late entry): bender park

bender park is an apparently fairly developed and now returning to a rewilded state piece of land on lake michigan in oak creek. it abuts the oak creek power plant and there are some precipitous drops down to the lake.

this was a “let’s not go to work just yet” walk from last december. but i lost the pomes i had written shortly thereafter, so i bagged this entry. this morning i went to open up a book i hadn’t looked at since last december and—what do you know—there were the pomes tucked inside marking my page from late last year. so, i thought i’d pull the photos back up and give bender park its due. here we go.


siren call across

the prairie

the asci don’t mind


curls and curves of drift

these grey skies—

grass’s heavy scent


in the juniper,

sparrow call:

thousand-year moments

poem in new online lit mag

the premier issue of magpie literary journal has gone live, and the editor saw fit to include one of my poems. this one is a conceit on having a daughter and is set on the shores of a wave-battered lake michigan. it also uses dripping pathos more than is my usual, but having children will do such things to a writer. 🙂

i know a few of the other folks who have poems appearing, and highly recommend reading thru the whole issue.

pax inter spinas

sna poems, series supplementum #29: donges bay gorge again

donges bay gorge is a steep ravine that cuts thru an undulating bluff on its way down to lake michigan. this was part of a wealthy landowner’s swath of property but was purchased by the ozaukee washington land trust and, very thankfully, opened up to the public.

lots of spring ephemerals here during the early spring, but mostly going to sleep for the winter now. tho’ we met some delightful fungus, moss, and bark still doing their things. the lake could be heard whispering below and the low-angle sun cut faintly thru the trunks of white pine, maple, red oak, aspen, birch, and linden.

we were trying to get to a different preserve north of here, but it was closed for deer hunting. then we remembered donges bay gorge and how great it was, so we visited again. i think it deserves two slots in the supplementum series. why not?


light snug on the gorge

drowsing forbs

invite us along


water clutching rock

and resting:

a small frozen fall


the mushrooms know well

it’s their time

below the white pines

look at that bark.

anyhow, if you made it this far, i’m thinking this is what it looks like when moss smiles:

sna poems, supplementum #20: amsterdam dunes preservation area

amsterdam dunes preservation area is a 328-acre preserve made up of lake michigan shoreline, rare sand dunes, forest, and wetland areas. somehow it avoided development. there’s also a little playground. direct access to dunes on lake michigan this far south in wisconsin is uncommon, so thanks to sheboygan county for tending this piece of land and opening it to the public!

(note: photo quality won’t be as high as normal here and in the next few posts, as i used the old flip-phone for this excursion. though in ways i like the lower res for this project sometimes; it seems to fit the immediacy and spontaneity i’m aiming for here. and i like to use old technology anyway—i still listen to audio cassettes and things like that…)


spine against dune

cormorants over waves

the sun shining now


thinnest ray of silver water—

field shifting slow downhill—

finds a linear tidal pool

state natural area poems, supplementum anthropocenum #3: mckinley park, milwaukee

winter fingers the rip-rap

sprawling wave-spray in the air

ice will find a way

mckinley park is a lakefront park in milwaukee with a marina, beach, and other things going on. part of the shore has a long pile of rip-rap (tumbled rock and concrete) that my kids love to climb on. it’s a bit more treacherous these days, with lake michigan’s spray slicking the rocks in ways unexpected, beautiful, and (at times) dangerous. i was particularly taken by the ice display on driftwood last night.

New Short Poem in _The Tide Rises, the Tide Falls_

Delighted to have a short poem of mine from a couple years back featured in The Tide Rises, the Tide Falls!

Based on an afternoon spent on the shores of Lake Michigan up in Door County, the scene is shaped into a basic imitation of the Old English alliterative long line. (Four stresses, a caesura dividing the stresses in two, alliteration bridging the caesura.)

While you’re there, check out the other poems going on!