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.

state natural area poems #2a: warnimont bluff fens

[this first installment reflects that i was not permitted access to the actual site–for my own safety and the safety of the rare and delicate plant communities that inhabit the bluffs]

 

your calcareous fens too rare

the dnr won’t let us find you–

i respect the hell out of that

 

Warnimont Bluff Fens–home to a thriving community of state-threatened False Asphodel

warnimont bluffs

warn 2

Thanks again, Milwaukee County, for caring for this land for us.

New Project for the Pandemic Era…

To maintain sanity, encounter the natural world in my area, and keep the literary instincts moving if not honed, I’m going to start a new project here and on Twitter. (Yes, I’m on Twitter now at @riyeff–those who know me personally will be shocked, I’m sure!)

I’m going to visit the State Natural Areas of Milwaukee County and the four adjacent counties to practice social distancing but also maintain an intimate connection to the natural spaces around my neck of the woods. Then to try to forge some kind of virtual connection with anyone who’s interested, I’ll take a photo and make an impromptu three-line poem (not a haiku unless by accident), posting them here and on Twitter. Maybe other folks will share theirs from other natural areas?

That’s the idea; we’ll see where it goes…