What’s in the Garden

Posted by on 09 Aug 2019 | Tagged as: environment, Family Matters, garden, Gardens and Life, good things

I haven’t done a post like this in years! Right now I am limited in mobility to areas closest to the house, and only when others are nearby to assist. But Grant is working hard to change this! Here is a small photo essay about what’s going on in the ornamental garden closest to the house. I apologize for not having the ability to place the images right-side up at this time!

The plan is to make this entire front area, from the parking to the water spigot by Wally’s enclosure accessible even when I am in a wheelchair. Having a slightly larger “landing pad” by the front door, and an extended (and level) patio by the pond will let me both garden independently, and entertain friends a little more easily. Grateful that I have people in my life with the strength and skill for this!

An added bonus is that already we are seeing more birds, insects, and other animals by the pond garden. Dragonflies are more numerous, as are the little things I call “hover bees” (I think they may actually be flies, but they are pollinators!). If Grant has time and energy, I think we will thin out the plants in the pond again, and perhaps reset the pond to orient a little differently so the goldfish are more easily seen from the paved area.

Next year we will start working on improving the “back 40” (about 1/2 acre) for accessibility and rehabilitation. We are losing a LOT of the trees to the warmer weather, I am afraid – they weren’t helped by the contractors digging too close to their root systems when we rebuilt. But it’s an opportunity to create a healthier, slightly more diverse and adaptable area. Rather than sticking to native plants only (my original plan 20+ years ago), we will be bringing in some trees that are better adapted to warmer, drier climates (manzanita, possibly umbrella pine, dawn redwood) as well as some understory plants that can provide more reliable forage and shelter for indigenous species.

I have three more weeks before the students are in the classroom, and every afternoon/evening and weekend between then and now I am spending outside as much as I can!

Hopeful in Hard Times

Posted by on 31 Jul 2019 | Tagged as: citizenship, editorial, politics, Politics and War

Like the author of this post on Resilient Resistance (The Race…), I am continually surprised at how surprised I am when even “simple” civil rights decisions take a turn toward unfettered authoritarianism or even full-on fascism. I am devastated at the media frenzy in the oncoming election cycle (the next federal elections are now 16 months away…) that already is poised to splinter and subdue anyone in opposition to the current administration’s racist, sexist, nationalist, able-ist, sectarian, (you get the picture) policies and actions.

How do I stay hopeful? There are also some major media outlets that are beginning to advocate for fact-checking, for actual debate (as opposed to innuendo and name-calling), and for looking for commonalities more than differences. They are willing to call out people who abuse polite conversation, and those who prefer polite discourse are finally refusing to be badly treated. There are literally millions of people who are talking about, writing about, speaking about, and showing up for civic activities that are essential to a true democracy; a community that has differences, but that can compromise when it’s useful, and that realizes that a person or group doesn’t have to be the “winner” of every discussion or plan of action.

I stay hopeful because I see young people who are starting to sit up and decide for themselves rather than blindly doing and voting as their families “have always done.”

I am hopeful because I see older people taking the time to explain and share how they came to their conclusions rather than merely belittling the opinions and knowledge of young people; and listening carefully to both questions and the new knowledge of the upcoming generations.

I am hopeful because I still believe that when each person does what they believe is BEST for the world (as opposed to self-interest) that it works out.

And, to be honest, I am hopeful because I teach and I garden. Things change, often unexpectedly and undesirably, and one adjusts and goes on. Because I teach, I must remain positive and proactive in taking care of the vulnerable young people in my care. I can do that because I garden. Because I garden, I know that as one plant

  • dies
  • is eaten
  • uprooted
  • damaged
  • changed

an opportunity is created for new ideas and better plant communities. And it is the same with people, with ideas, with politics.

It is time to plant hopefully, and work for a future that sustains and honors life. I am ready. Are you?

  • If you would like to vote and aren’t registered, you can check voter eligibility for your state at vote.gov or at vote411.org.

If you want to be in contact with your elected federal officials (even if you are not a citizen or are ineligible to vote, these people still represent you!), you can find the federal directories at senate.gov or house.gov.

April 7: Present-Joy

Posted by on 07 Apr 2019 | Tagged as: NaPoWriMo, poetry, Poetry Month

The prompt for today’s NaPoWriMo is based on a Tweet by Rachel McKibbens .

Today I choose

authenticity / revelation / no more clouded thoughts

the bright, burning begins with a churning yearning

THIS is the goal: to celebrate what is / not what is not / a double negative turns doubly positive

a small flower hidden by leaves / the spider in the center / feasts

nests in rugosas / tiny fledglings practice / secure from cats

a thought unknown a skill unlearned / bends to necessity / mastery

discovering the flaws reveals / new opportunities / growth seeps in

because

today I choose

April 6: Possible, a day late…

Posted by on 07 Apr 2019 | Tagged as: NaPoWriMo, poetry, Poetry Month

The writing prompt for today asks poets to consider that which could be, IF…    As models, I looked at the suggested poems:  [Poem abut Naomi; Unsent] by Rachel Mennies and Daayan at Gold Streak River by Raena Shirali.

That which is possible, / envisioned or ennobled / by hunches, intuition, wishes and guesses

Revealed in the light after research / study of the facts / creating and

manifesting in somnolence as well as deeds

All people one community and one soul / one glorious /rejoicing

A reaching outward instead of turning inward / embracing the great unknown

Action / Rest / Laboring and Striving / Reclining and Preparing

for the next adventure / if only we would…

Yes, we can

Poetry Month 2019

Posted by on 05 Apr 2019 | Tagged as: NaNoWriMo, NaPoWriMo, poetry, Poetry Month

I was on vacation, then under the weather since the first. So, my first post this month will have [drumroll] FIVE poems!

This year, I have chosen to use the prompts from NaPoWriMo. You can also sign up to participate!

April 1: How to own a pet (or a child)  Inspired by How to Make a Crab Cake by January Gill O’Neil

Start with an open space in your heart,

a small, warm corner of your being

where you can add another life.

Into this pour your hopes and dreams

your gladness and plenty,

embracing lack of solitude and increasing effort.

Every morning, every noon, every night

rise and attend to the needs of another

receiving only affection in return

April 2: Life’s Lingering Lessons Inspired by The Meadow, The River by Claire Wahmanholm

We needed to know everything, / before we were done

We asked questions daily / walking through the garden/ walking to school

We listened intently or watched closer still / waiting for wisdom or insight

For every new task mastered / and every thought acquired / loomed still more

Does education end?

When do we know enough?

April 3: Angled Time Created after reading Pivot Points by Larry Levis

The languid, brightening shadows awaken to calls of birds / and other residents

Trees huddle together, sheltering wildflowers and giving strength to each other / the slow shuffle of the day getting started

again

The arc carved in the globe / tracing the path never more than twice a year / the waning and waxing and waning of seasons

Did you ever wonder about the observers?

Those who tread the same paths, think the same thoughts, but removed – by days, weeks, months… millennia

What did they think as they hunted or farmed or gathered or rested in the heat of the noon-day fires?

Diagonal lines moving from one side to another, growing in the middle, shrinking at the ends, never stopping

Until the last glittering rays punctuate the clouds, inviting the stars to play.

April 4: Sorrow’s Song after reading Son by Craig Morgan Teicher This is actually in sonnet form, with the first rhyming pattern in the middle of each line instead of creating four lines with alternating text.

A small brown animal walked here among the worried orchard trees

Bigger than a rabbit but smaller than a deer – it knelt a moment on its knees

Then getting up it stretched and paused to watch the leaves against the sky

Who knows what it really thought or saw as it pondered the great why

Running now from or to – it passed the moment of safety, of escape

Without thought by now it drew back against the ghastly shape

Of the last lingering breath and faced its death.

April 5: Sleeping Dogs after reading Diaspora: A Narcolepsy Hymn by Kyle Dargan This one is in the form of a villanelle, one I haven’t worked with before. I like the repetition and the rhythm this form sets up.

Before you approach

Know that sleeping dogs do not lie

they are always waiting.

In the morning they want for nothing

but a walk and a treat

before you approach.

Throughout the day

they nap and wake and watch

they are always waiting.

When you return or arrive

No matter how long ago you left, say their name

before you approach.

And be ready to play

before you sleep or rest or recline

they are always waiting.

A pat or a hug or a treat reassures them

That you haven’t forgotten them, just remember

before you approach:

They are always waiting.

Prophesies

Posted by on 06 Oct 2018 | Tagged as: citizenship, editorial, hope, Making a Difference, musings, poetry, politics, Politics and War, social justice

Dark times, dark of intellect, dark of hope, dark of prosperity, dark of joy, dark of freedom, dark of life.

Current events.

Cautionary tales a half century old (and more), based on suppositions and “if this, then that,” Toffler may have been right, Roddenberry designed it…  the ancient hermits in the desert railed against it.  What has happened will happen and now is happening.  Look there!  The last of….  Hark to the new…  Stepping out of the comfortable, the familiar, to envisage this brave new Huxleyan scene:  those who wield power, and those who rejected it, caught in the web of uncompromising consequences.  Best to reject Orwell and Bradbury outright.

It never was enough just to live and let live, and never will be.  Is it too late?  I whisper to the unborn: never.

In the dark are the mysteries of promises half-made, and all-but forgotten.  In the dark are echoes of pleasures to come.  In the dark reside your ancestors’ hopes/fears/pain/joy.  In the dark…

Prophesies are not promises.  They do not restrict this person or that, they do not require belief or obedience.  They will (or won’t) manifest in this lifetime or another.  The route may lead through many unseen and fortunate misadventures; and unbidden ease may assault our purpose. 

What conditions will compel us to stay?  To go?

Survival is not the question.  The question is:

Is survival desirable?

August 2018: Back to School?

Posted by on 15 Aug 2018 | Tagged as: economy, Education Professional, school

The season of going back to school has begun again. Teachers plan and get their classrooms ready, families shop for school supplies and new clothes, and custodial and grounds crews work at breakneck pace to get everything safe and shiny.  Teachers eagerly anticipate returning to their hearts’ work, and wonder if last years’ students will drop by during open house, and whether the new crop of kids will like us.  I will be ready — tomorrow I will get most of the rest of the organization completed and put together an order for the print shop.  

However, as I write this update, it is not certain that our district will start school on time.  Many Washington State school districts renegotiate their staff contracts regularly, and in those years everything usually goes smoothly.    Tomorrow (August 16) our union’s negotiating team will meet again with the district to discuss the contract that needs renewing.  So far, most districts are still negotiating, a process that started fairly late this year when the legislature met the “McCleary decision’s” obligation by simultaneously releasing large pots of money to schools while tossing aside the state teacher salary schedule which used to set minimum salaries for every year and for several levels of education.

Earlier in legislative history, the state guaranteed to meet education obligations for through an altered property tax calculation while restricting levies to only “extra” expenditures.  Districts around the state have come to different conclusions about the purpose and meaning of this. Many districts are trying to keep any salary increases to under five percent saying they are capped (untrue) or that the legislature won’t fund salaries to this same extent in the future (untrue).   There is a lot of uncertainty as to whether teachers may need to strike (which is very bad for morale statewide) as representatives of the teachers attempt to educate districts on the import of the laws and new revenue streams. There are also issues with classified staff (mostly paraprofessionals and office staff) who are also having to renegotiate contracts.  My school is scheduled to start the week  before Labor Day, though most seem to start the day after, which means we are rather pinched for time.

What <em>is</em> certain is that the $1 billion dollars allocated by the legislature for staff salaries cannot be used for anything else.  Everything else from transportation, to books and teaching supplies, to special education, should be fully funded by the state according to EHB 2242 (final bill report) instead of local levies; and within four years this transition should be complete.  There were four items in EHB 2242 that were line-item vetos, those are listed at the very end of that document.

Meanwhile, many districts are choosing to interpret the salary money as a one-time investment on which contract negotiations should not depend; they are also claiming that the lost ability to ask for levies for basic needs -after current levies end- will eat into future state funding.  Which, according to SB 6232 (final bill report) is incorrect.  The salaries that are to be negotiated are not going to roll out incrementally as in EHB 2242, but immediately beginning with this new school year.  And the funds proposed by the state for future years outpace the previous state+local monies.  In other words many districts are using red herrings.

It is clear that the legislature intends for salaries to be brought closer to a reasonable standard relative to other occupations this year; there is NO CAP on salaries that are negotiated this year although there are minimums; there will be caps for future salary negotiations based on cost of living indexes.  They are also reducing the interval for examining cost of living increases for teacher salaries from 6 years to 4 years; and there are additional calculations for districts that have high costs of living (mine really doesn’t), have high poverty rates (mine is), or other factors that would increase staffing needs or costs to hire.  It is disingenuous for districts to allege that teacher salaries will not be honored or paid fully by the state after this school year.

So through all of this, I am setting up my room (as we all do), planning lessons (as we all do), buying a few “homey touches” for the room (as we all do)…  and trying to keep my cool.  The kids deserve to know they will have school starting up; that their teachers are ready for them; and that the school district values their education and future enough to be sure the people who care for these children for more than 8 hours each day are given the income they deserve.  I am eager and happy to be returning to the same school for the fifth year, working with dedicated, passionate colleagues who do the best they can for their students under sometimes very difficult conditions.

Some editing for clarity on 18 August 2018.  And a quick update:  our district negotiations with certificated staff were fruitful and school will begin on time (pending union vote just before school begins).  We are, however, still waiting on a final decision for classified staff salaries!

Rules for Being Human (Cherie Carter-Scott)

Posted by on 28 Jun 2018 | Tagged as: 3rd Grade, children, citizenship, editorial, musings

I didn’t know the original author of these (nor apparently did the Washington State PTA in 2010). It is apparently Cherie Carter-Scott, according to the website elephantjournal.com.

These were typed on a piece of paper in a slightly altered form by my mother in 2010. The paper has soot all over it, but I found it when organizing this week and thought I would record it where others can see it and enjoy it (and I won’t lose it).

  1. You will receive a body. You may like it or hate it, but it will be yours for the entire period this time around.
  2. You will learn lessons. You are enrolled in a full-time informal school called life. Each day in this school you will have the opportunity to learn lessons. You may like the lessons or think them irrelevant or stupid.
  3. There are no mistakes, only lessons. Growth is a process of trial and error, experimentation. The “failed” experiments are as much a part of the process as the experiment that ultimately “works.”
  4. A lesson is repeated until learned. A lesson will be presented to you in various forms until you have learned it. When you have learned it you can then go on to the next lesson.
  5. Learning lessons does not end. There is no part of life that does not contain its lessons. If you are alive, there are lessons to be learned.
  6. “There” is not better than “here.” When “there” has become a “here” you will simply obtain another “there” that will, again, look better than “here.”
  7. Others are merely mirrors of you. You cannot love or hate something about another person unless it reflects something you love or hate about yourself.
  8. What you make of life is up to you. You have all the tools and resources you need. What you do with them is up to you. The choice is yours.
  9. Your answers lie inside you. The answers to life’s questions lie inside you. All you need to do is look, listen, and trust.
  10. You will forget all of this.

Now, there are some parts that I think in today’s world need caveats, but what I will say is that apart from the author’s obvious privilege (for example assuming that “there” cannot be better than “here” – obviously has not lived in a place of war/high crime/high poverty) and lack of disabling conditions, the core is true. We are all given a life, a person, and situations to deal with. How we comport ourselves, how we deal with situations, is central to our character. We can sit and complain, or we can do what we can.

Those who “know” me via facebook will know that the last few years have had many sometimes life-threatening health struggles, but I have persevered and this coming year will be my fifth year teaching third graders. I spent five of the last seven days attempting to deal with a migraine without OTC medications, and yesterday was my first day that I didn’t actually sleep for several hours mid-day. Today I am working on organizing art supplies that have piled up and become unusable because I couldn’t find them. Little steps, small gestures, taking advantage of moments that arise — What do we do in our daily lives to make our small sections of the world better?

Missing month… catching up

Posted by on 26 May 2018 | Tagged as: education, Education Professional, NaPoWriMo, poetry, Poetry Month

This is the first year in a long time that I didn’t participate in NaPoWriMo (National Poetry Writing Month). I was working with poetry, reading and writing it nearly daily, but didn’t have the energy to even sign up at NaPoWriMo. So here are a couple of poems I wrote during that time.

Song of My Heart
The children on the lawn struggle
I sit in the shade and languidly point out that the toy they desire is near me.

The youth on the roadside with his friends shaken and shaking
I arrive and tenderly direct them to the safety of my car.

The figure on the bed no longer moves or breathes,
With my camera I capture one last moment and preserve the silence.

The smell of the cow-fields across the road, the scent of dryer sheets in the wind, the town-folk waking to another day in the rain,
The churning of tires on gravel with diesel fumes, the giggle of recognition and mumbled greetings,
The rumble of carts in the halls, the unlocking of doors, the slamming of books,
Lights, projectors, desks, chairs, shuffling feet dusting off snow or mud, The maestra standing in the doorway or in the center of the room,
The students peering solemnly at the topic without interest or understanding,
The playground now empty, now full of chasing, racing, gamboling figures,
A whistle, or a call, and the fun ends,
Books and papers strewn about the room, a pencil or highlighter sent across the table,
Chairs tipped backward falling suddenly and gales of mirthful laughter,
No harm done, microscopic wounds need less attention than imagined slights,
Shifting, moving, growing, pushing, emerging,
Fighting for survival, for friends, for attention,
In a minute, these small bodies will be sent into Life,
to work, to vote, to battle, to marry, to rejoice and to grieve,
I watch them through the decades —
and I let them go.

Commentary on Whitman’s Leaves of Grass

Section 6 “Grass”
The grass… This one really wandered around for me, and I had trouble catching the thread of his thoughts. The grass seems to point to an overarching purpose or design in the stanza “Or I guess it is the handkerchief of the Lord, A scented gift and remembrancer designedly dropt, Bearing the owner’s name someway in the corners, that we may see and remark, and say Whose?”

I am reminded that in the 1800s it was
common for lovers to leave a handkerchief, or visitors a calling card, or the dead mementos of their passing through one’s life. The grass, on the other hand, also stands for democracy — the egalitarian dream that Whitman had: “Sprouting alike in broad zones and narrow zones, Growing among black folks as among white, … I give them the same, I receive them the same.” And it stands for the enduring nature and persistence of life: “The smallest sprout shows there is really no death, And if ever there was it led forward life, and does not wait at the end to arrest it, And ceas’d the moment life appear’d.” This reminds of some of the other sections where life and death are juxtaposed and held in tension or opposition or comparison: Just as you are, so I was once (a consistent reminder in Crossing Brooklyn Ferry).

I think the beauty of this section is that Whitman seems to note a child’s question and take it seriously. As a teacher, I would like to think that he was able to make time for children and young people, and that his willingness to explore the possibilities of a blade of grass shows a patience that many people lack. I also think… going back to that first week of the course, that the use of grass as a metaphor here isn’t accidental. It’s related to the title, and the somewhat feminine style of the binding; perhaps emphasizing that even the least-grand materials are worth exploring to uncover the deeper connection and meaning.

A Lesson that didn’t happen
I had enthusiasm for teaching poetry to my current class, but the class itself was apathetic about so many things there was little time for innovation this time around. Still, the lesson’s bones are good and I want to try it again next year. We did talk about Theodore Geisel’s anapestic tetrameter and ABAB patterns, so we got to part of it!

Classroom Discussion
I am going to share The New Colossus with my third graders in April, to help them recognize that immigrants have been the backbone of progress, the drivers of economies, the creators of opportunities throughout U.S. history. So this is a relevant question for me: how do I introduce this Very Big Idea to such young children? I think by first addressing what symbols our nation currently has that support the ideas of freedom and opportunity, and asking my students what they would choose as a symbol and why. What would speak to their experiences and knowledge — or to children just like them from other lands — what would it look like? How big would it be? Would it make a sound? What could it be made of (a living animal, a statue of metal or stone… fabric?). I would ask them to draw a picture of their symbol and write about it in prose. Getting them to think first about how something could appear would provide an entry point for them to understand what Lady Liberty symbolized for the original sculptor as well as the immigrants who saw her as their first introduction to their new home.

I could then ask them to compare their idea for a symbol with Lady Liberty, and offer The New Colossus as one way to think about her as a bridge to writing their own poems. I have taught 6th graders to write sonnets, but I think that form might be too complicated for the students in my current class. The idea of rhyme is familiar enough to them, but learning to recognize the patterns would be enough of a challenge, so I would start with asking the kids to work in groups to identify the rhyming patterns in either the octave or the sestet. Then I think I would ask them to write quatrains based on the rhyming patterns they identified (ABBA, or ABAB). I would set the task as writing about their own symbol. And I think making a class book or bulletin board of their pictures of the symbols, prose, and poems would be a great way for them to display their work.

Dr. Seussian Doggerel
All the kids in grade three
think they know what they’ll be
as a grown-up of age twenty-nine: a police man, or soldier, a fine master chef, fire fighter, or rich without effort, or struggle, or itch, super heights they’ll achieve
with relative ease
they’ll say, “Hey!
I am number One-A!”

April 22 Lesson Plan – scuttled

Creative Assignment for Third Grade
With the best intentions, I had poems and lessons ready to go for this month, but there were some very weird days, and my students were resistant to trying new forms of writing. These particular students are less moAtibvoautted in general than most third graders, and so it is difficult to anticipate what will work — things that have sparked kids’ imaginations in other years consistently fall flat this year.

However, I think I have an idea that could unlock some of the curiosity and wonder that third graders “should” have: Using the idea of tanka (linked poetry from Japan) and word families (common spelling/phonics work from primary grades), I think I can present the students with word lists and ask them to work in pairs to create ABAB quatrains a la Seuss. We dissected anapestic tetrameter last week, and it was a hit, so by asking them to continue the exploration with this lesson I have modified from one I delivered to 6th graders many years ago, I think I can build a little more excitement.

Goal: With a partner write two poems with linked stanzas using ABAB rhyming scheme and a rhythmic scheme (anapest or iamb or other).
Supplies:
Examples of “Seussian Tanka”
writing paper and tools
lists of ten-twelve rhyming words (self-generated for the more-capable students, teacher-created for on-level), or words from same word family (for students who need still more scaffolding)
1) Explain what a Tanka is, and share some examples. Ask the class to discuss how the authors added their own ideas/personalities. Explore why this kind of poetry might be fun and/or useful. Make a class chart of their ideas/responses.
2) Students will each write one line of a poem using one of the rhyming words on their own paper (pre-selected for those who need simpler words, randomly assigned for more capable students), then pass their paper to the partner who will write the next line with a different set of words. Student pairs will be teacher-selected for similar work
Students who refuse to participate will be asked to write a quatrain on their own (likely with a few).
Scoring: (Maximum 20 pts)
Consistent rhythm within own lines – 4; inconsistent rhythm – 3; no obvious attempt to create rhythm or pulse – 2.

After the first line of the poem, the subsequent lines reference the
previous line: every time – 4; most of the time – 3; Sometimes – 2; Rarely or never – 1.

The student retains the mood set by the first line of the poem: Consistently or Mostly – 4; Sometimes –
3; Rarely or Never – 2.

The student can explain their thinking about their own work: Yes – 4; No – 2.

The student conjectures what another student was thinking or feeling: Yes – 4; No – 2.

Golden Shovel

This type of poem is called a “Golden Shovel.” It was inspired by a book of poems by Nikki Grimes that I ordered a couple months ago from Scholastic. You can see more about her book at https://www.nikkigrimes.com/books/bkonelastword.html A Golden Shovel puts the words of an inspiration poem as the final word in each line of a new poem. This is my first attempt at writing such verse, I hope it is at least a little bit successful.

Dreaming of the Future until it is Past (inspired by Dorothy Parker’s The Red Dress)
The Red Dress, stanza three: “And he would be a gallant one, With stars behind his eyes, And hair like metal in the sun, And lips too warm for lies.”

There is nothing like grief; And
when I said, “Come,” he
always forgot so it would
be useless to ask, it should be
easier (I think) to be a
friend, or a lover, a gallant
knight in armor, just for one.

Night, I wandered, With
the best intentions; the stars
were wandering, too, behind
the trees and buildings… his
smile, hiding the pain in his eyes.
Well-hidden thoughts, And
still my heart, my hair
my face and hands like
fire scorching metal
memories in flesh, in
deep brands, the
heavy brightness of the sun
Embedded for life. And
then forgotten, our lips
were lovers too
mixing cool and warm
ignorant of their lies.

Spontaneity

    A lovely time…

I wasn’t sure
if I was ready to take
the plunge
I worried about
note-taking and
rule-breaking
I thought –
This will take forever,
can I go the distance,
Will I pull my weight

Now I look back
with gratitude for
all who took this journey
who carried me
when my strength failed
who shared their own
hearts and grief
generously
walking through the landscape of learning.

Of life and learning

Posted by on 10 Jan 2018 | Tagged as: poetry, Politics and War

so much depends
on the breath of a butterfly
the wings of the hummingbird
or the termites ready to mate

they shift the skies
tossing tree limbs into the heavens
like graduation caps

making craters in the earth as they land
unlooked-for and unbidden
deep gouges in the soil

furrows for tomorrow’s
seeds

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