With Spring In Our Flesh – Don Welch

American Life in Poetry: Column 579

Don Welch

Don Welch

Early each spring, Nebraska hosts, along a section of the Platte River, several hundred thousand sandhill cranes. It’s something I wish everyone could see. Don Welch, one of the state’s finest poets, lives under the flyway, and here’s his take on the migration. His most recent book is Gnomes, (Stephen F. Austin State Univ. Press, 2013).

With Spring In Our Flesh

With spring in our flesh
the cranes come back,
funneling into a north
cold and black.

And we go out to them,
go out into the town,
welcoming them with shouts,
asking them down.

The winter flies away
when the cranes cross.
It falls into the north,
homeward and lost.

Let no one call it back
when the cranes fly,
silver birds, red-capped,
down the long sky.



Event Alert: Poets and Dreamers Fiction & Poetry Literary Reading Series

If you’re located in Southern California, southern Orange County in particular, here’s a poetry event that may be of interest to you. Here are the particulars:

Event Type: Poetry/Fiction Reading/Performance
Event Date and Time: October 24, 2015 2:00 PM – 4:00 PM

Description: Poets and Dreamers authors of fiction, poetry & memoir will gather to perform selected sections of thier works; signed books will be available for purchase.

Anne Tammel, author of fiction and poetry, will read selected works from her upcoming fiction series.

Poets and Dreamers Fiction & Poetry Reading Series at Village Book Exchange
99 Avenida Serra
San Clemente, CA 92673
View on map

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The Ramblings of a Poetic Fool Now Available for Kindle!

rpfkindleI’m happy to announce that my book, “The Ramblings of a Poetic Fool”, is now available for Kindle! That means you can enjoy my poems anywhere on your smartphone, tablet or computer using the Kindle Reader app. If you’ve hesitated or been unable to buy the print version of my book, at $2.99, I think it’s a real steal. You can see and buy the Kindle version here. Give it a look. I hope you will enjoy it and leave a review on the Amazon website. Thanks so much for reading!

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In the Land of Ennui – Rick Stephen

This poem was inspired by a particularly slow and tedious day. I was far more than bored and blue, I suffered from full-blown ennui. It’s a word I rarely use but was most apropos, I think. As you read, you will notice a tip of the hat to William Shakespeare toward the end, a quote I think fit in with the flow quite well. Thanks for reading. As always, your comments are most appreciated!

ennuiIn the Land of Ennui

The sun rises
on another day
just one more
in an endless sequence
that hold nothing
but onerous seconds
followed by more
onerous seconds
making mundane minutes
and the minutes, irksome hours
laden with fatigue
marked only
by heavy sighs
and rolling eyes
holding no interest,
challenge or danger
only an unsated desire
for some flame of fire,
a spark of hope,
a break in the tedium
waited for
but not coming
and after waiting interminably,
the sun dips low
and shadows grow
the day succumbs
and what dreams may come,
will be my salvation,
in the land of Ennui



Signs of Spring – a Pale Swallowtail

Pale Swallowtail Butterfly

Pale Swallowtail Butterfly
Click to enlarge image
Photo: Richard Stephen 31-March-2014

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A Hybrid Haiga/Senryu … of sorts!


I’ve written a hybrid haiga/senryu … of sorts. I say, “of sorts” because a senryu like a haiga follows a 5-7-5 syllable pattern. Purists don’t get upset! I realize that in an authentic haiku this pattern is in “on” and that “on” don’t necessarily equate to syllables in English. That aside, haiku are typically about nature, have a reference to the seasons and have a “cutting” word. Senryu are typically about human nature, our foibles in particular and are also typically cynical or darkly humorous. They have no reference to a season or a cutting word.

This little piece doesn’t really fit into either genre. Since I wanted the message to be about serenity and beauty in the human soul, a part of human nature, I call it a senryu. Whatever it’s called, my hope in writing it is that when you have the chance to enjoy a beautiful, serene moment (a sunrise, sunset or whatever), you allow it to not only bless your eyes but also allow it to fill your heart. Let the beauty and serenity of the moment still your soul and center you. You won’t regret it!

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New Feature! The Audio Poem of the Day.

poetryfoundationIf you haven’t noticed, I’ve added a new feature to my blog; the “Audio Poem of the Day”. As you know, I love reading and writing poetry. As I’ve gotten into it more I’ve developed a greater appreciation for the spoken word especially poetry read aloud. It can be an entirely different experience from simply reading a poem to yourself. Poetry comes alive when spoken and can take on a myriad of meanings and emotions depending upon the mood and inflections provided by the speaker’s voice. Indeed, the same poem voiced by two different speakers can almost seem like two different poems.

So, I’ve decided to add the “Audio Poem of the Day” feed from the Poetry Foundation to my blog. I enjoy listening to them each day and I hope you will too. You can listen to each day’s poem as well as the previous two day’s by clicking on the “Audio Poem of the Day” links on the menu to the right. Enjoy!

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Do you want to join other poets, musicians, songwriters, and artists around the USA and across the planet in a demonstration/ celebration to promote serious social and political change?

“What kind of CHANGE are we talking about?”

The first order of change is for poets, writers, musicians, artists, anybody, to actually get together to create and perform, educate and demonstrate, simultaneously, with other communities around the world. This will change how we see our local community and the global community. We have all become incredibly alienated in recent years. We hardly know our neighbors down the street let alone our creative allies who live and share our concerns in other countries. We need to feel this kind of global solidarity. I think it will be empowering.

And of course there is the political/social change that many of us are talking about these days. There is trouble in the world. Wars, ecocide, the lack of affordable medical care, racism, the list goes on. We are only asking that local organize events about change within the guidelines of peace and sustainability.

It appears that transformation towards a more sustainable world is a major concern and could be a global guiding principle for this event. Peace also seems to be a common cause. War is not sustainable. There is an increasing sense that we need to move forward and stop moving backwards. But I am trying not to be dogmatic. I am hoping that together we can develop our ideas of the “change/transformation” we are looking for as a group, and that each community group will decide their own specific area of focus for change for their particular event.

~ Michael Rothenberg and Terri Carrion (Co-Founders, 100 TPC)

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Happy Independence Day!


I’d like to take this opportunity to wish everyone a safe and happy 4th of July. As you celebrate, take a moment to remember the sacrifices made by everyone from our founding fathers to the courageous men and women serving in the military here and abroad.



Above the Clouds

Above the Clouds

Above the Clouds
Click image to enlarge
Photo: Rick Stephen - 19-June-2013

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