state natural area poems #52: lodi marsh

a happy new year to all!

lodi marsh lies in a valley of glacial till, fed by springs and seepages. the hills to the west of the site frame the open marsh and sky dramatically. forest and prairie cover the southern knoll. the countryside around lodi is a wonder.


clearing a path

in the valley till—

hawk shriek westward


the cattail forest covers

untold sleepers just waiting

to rouse and rise from the muck


dust-yellow constellations

on pillars of seep and slough

pale sky a mirror of pale ground

announcing the snowstorm’s approach

state natural area poems #47: avon bottoms

avon bottoms is a flat floodplain of the sugar river with a maple-oak forest. many southern-ranging species of plants find the northern edge of their range in the woods. swenson wet prairie s.n.a. is now part of avon bottoms as well.


the floodplain is laced

with marbled ice

beneath an early moon


golden hue of big stem

below the swooping ash—

families play in the bottom


the sugar river ambles on

past fragrant bottomland

extremities grow cold


the dead-grass tapestry

of winter wetlands

is widely undervalued

state natural area poems, supplementum anthropocenum #5: junction of hwy 51 and hurd road (b/t janesville and edgerton, wi)

from paleozoic seabed to chisel and hammer

hewn sandstone grains, frosted, become

a wayside. wild carrot patrons now

this little building on the highway between janesville and edgerton in wisconsin is said to be an old tavern. an ancestor who lived west of here is rumored to have had a few too many in the old establishment one night before going off down hurd road and throwing ties on a track to derail train no. 143 from madison to chicago. the latter part is not rumor but documented. the record says no one was hurt, but he did some time.

the sandstone structure is beyond dilapidation now.

state natural area poems, supplementum anthropocenum #4: johnstown moraine, johnstown

fields of extinct prairie

on the way to scharines—

snout of the green bay lobe

the johnstown terminal moraine is the edge where the green bay lobe of the last glaciation left the final heap of rock and sediment of glacial till. it’s out near johnstown in rock county (my home county), and continues up to northern wisconsin. yet another example of how my and my family’s lives have been shaped by glaciation, the road we took to go see it is the road my wife used to drive up as a young girl to get her dad’s paychecks! here’re views of the approach and the moraine itself (and work) from inside the van.

state natural area poems #23: cudahy woods in fall

gill, spore, and stipe

they sound and found the forest

messengers of earth from below

puffball colony
dense polypores
canopy above

cudahy woods is where this whole “living found poem” project started back in march—a 40-acre plot of old-growth forest with an unnamed stream running thru. right next to mitchell airport. we’ve kept an eye on this forest periodically since march, and it’s been a gift to watch its communities shift, grow, and die back to make way for others.

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

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

back on quarantine poetry/natural space project…state natural area poems #4: kewaskum maple-oak woods

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.