sna poems #75: butler lake flynn’s spring

set in kettle-moraine state forest’s northern unit, butler lake is a 7-acre marl-bottomed lake with surrounding sedge meadow, and flynn’s spring is a small spring brook that flows into the lake. a former tamarack swamp has all but died off, tho’ tamaracks are growing in other sites now.

rising above the western shore is parnell esker, which is four miles long, is 5-35 ft. tall, and was formed by a sub-glacial river that filled in with gravel and other sediment during the last glaciation.

i hope to get back to spend more time here some day, since i had to get back to the city fairly quickly after i climbed to the eskertop. (continuing note: this was the last flip-phone visit, so these images are still low-res.)


the sedge’s show

quiet and waving

sun out from clouds


footfalls and lamb’s ear

on the eskertop—

some are soft, some rough


do you hear the tamaracks

sing as they drown?

birdsong on the water

New poem in Amethyst Review!

Well, hey, I’m very happy to see that a lyric of mine is out from Amethyst Review today!

It’s a shortish poem on a late-night conversation I had with a naturalist friend right before COVID hit—one of the last times I hung out with someone else in a restaurant, with no face covering to boot.

Anyhow, it’s about plant names and our relationships to plants and how the two affect one another. You can read it here, and do stick around the site and read some other folks’ poems too. Thanks for reading!

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!

“Meskonsing” Poem in Amethyst Review

Here‘s a new poem of mine that’s near and dear to my heart. I wrote it about a trip to Man Mound in Sauk County, Wisconsin. Man Mound is the only remaining anthropomorphic effigy mound in North America, and it is tremendous and numinous and beautiful. And the Sauk County Historical Society has been preserving it for over a hundred years.

If you like, you can help preserve the mound and contribute to educational materials at the site etc. here. And if you read the poem, stick around and look at some of the others the Review has been putting out lately; they’re free and great.

If you’re interested in a bit more about the mounds, you can read my short essay on them here.

Thanks Amethyst Review and Sauk County Historical Society!

*Photo of Man Mound by Ethan Brodsky, courtesy of Sauk County Historical Society.

New Old English Translation in _Trinity House Review_

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.

You can read it here, on pgs 47-49. Enjoy!

Audio of “My Embering” from _Sunk_ to Celebrate Fall Embertide 2020

In honor of today beginning Fall Embertide, the Quatuor Tempora (Four Times) of fasting and prayer that go way back in the Latin Church, here is a poem from my 2018 collection Sunk in Your Shipwreck, “My Embering.”

(For any liturgy buffs: I do know that in the Extraordinary Rite ordo for this year the Fall Ember Days are moved to next week, but it’s b/c of a technicality of the 1962 reform that I’m not worrying about–since I don’t follow the old rite anyhow, I’m sticking with the prior 1400+ year tradition.)