Ants, Aphids, Fireweed

Fireweed Poems
Songs of Love and Loss I

strophe: an order of movement which articulates itself into stanzas or groupings or clusters of an irregular number of lines of irregular length; alternatively, in the original Greek meaning, a complementary back and forth between the two sides of the orchestra.

the conflicting orders of movement of degenerative chaos and disaster; alternatively, in the original Greek meaning, "the return to a point of rest and axial equilibrium of a lyre string after it has ceased to vibrate," which is, therefore, once again in a state of neutrality.

Love Grass

A spray of amethyst,
more texture than flower.

When one finally sees it, one

    "Why haven't I seen this before?"

An unvoiced purple whisper trailing along
the deep greens of a well-kept path, looking
for signs,

     "Which way could she have gone?"

Is it possible that even this tracery of joy must
wither and let go, finding no uncertain solace
in the irregular breath and tumble
of the coming winds?

Alternating Leaves

A dogwood blossom falls
from her hair,

the unripe berries that a squirrel might
be tempted to try,

trunks slender, a braiding together
of all seasons -- don't try to think
them apart . . .

   Long, simple, jade-green dress,

a single page, not quite finished,
barefoot, it slips

A Mallow of Wet Places

Sharp-toothed calyx,
the sheath which protects
the ripening petal's rosy pink.

     Which flower might
     open today?

     To what heavenly bodies
     might it align itself?

The cattails do not seem
to ask, but stand their ground,
  tall, straight, erect blades.

Native Bell Flower

The pale blue of skies which suffer ever
so slightly from too much exposure,

a faint reminder of the steadfast friendly
face of the exotic chicory, brightening even
the most brutal of roadsides...

     mow it down on hopelessly
     compacted clay, and there
     it smiles and rises again,
     all blossom, all prospect,
     on haphazard, crooked,
     naked stem.

But why the blue bell flower's shy, down-
turned demeanor? Does it know something
about the distant past we can only guess at?

She almost touched it, here, in the chicory's
new found world. Why did she not hesitate, then,

as an ephemeral of spring
appears and vanishes, unexpectedly,
but surely not unnoticed,

     she walked away?

| photo |


Some names we know to be ancient,
rooted in some unknown distant past which
continues to bubble forth into the here and now
like a spring,

even though we know not whence
the water might have come, or how
long it might have been under way.


Perhaps it is true:
Women do not read books the way men do,
imagining themselves to be more someplace
else than where they actually are, only to go
on to author more books about, say, the healing plants,
which to some might seem overly rigid or cautious.

     She offered him a ripe red fruit to try,
     commenting on its evident toxicity.

     He laughed, slightly concerned,
     as he tasted the sweet pulp
     under his tongue and spat
     out the poison pit.


as day comes to equal night, with the lucently scarlet red
cup-shaped arils which only the yew brings forth,
he would sometimes imagine her voice
again, and the dress, as he frequently did,
as gently flowing water, eyes tightly closed,

seeing clearly this deep ground of leaves,
a dark green which seems to protect and set
the curious fruits apart for all to question
and, for some, secretly admire.

Holding Hands

Two young women in
long matching gowns,
talking, walk arm and arm
down a tree-lined parkway,

   lost to the world;

A couple, up in their
days, sits on a sun-
facing bench to the side
of the river they love,

her right hand on his
receiving palm, she at
ease with her eyes
closed, he, with his

other hand, gently
stroking away the past;
On the grass nearby,
children playing,

a mother smiles at
the powerful grasp of
her baby clutching
her braided hair.

As evening comes,
many on their way
to the symphony wait
at a busy corner,

the traffic policeman,
wearing his blue uniform
with white gloves,
directs the buses and cars

with sharp, crisp,
military-like gestures.
Standing mid-flow,
he abruptly flashes up

his right palm and points
down with his left,
sounds his whistle and
signals for all to cross.

At the concert, a slow
movement with many strings,
two lovers sit enchanted by
the mysterious yoga of the conductor,

and the many thousands
of finely-tuned finger movements
of the performers, all by some
magic written down.

Furtively, the lovers hold
hands, listening, knowing
not what passes between

Taken by surprise as
the applause begins,
they hesitate, then stand,
as if caught in a wave;

she smiles proudly and
looks down as he begins
to clap, all to a different
rhythm, and to purify

with that high sparkling sound,
full of the light of so many distant stars,
and of the every-day miracle,
of two hands.

Mountain Path

As two learn to walk
together as one,

one of their most primal of fears
is that they might somehow,

by some accident, be separated --
perhaps irreversibly.

   That is why love seeks to protect
    every step freedom makes.


Continuous blessing,
feet moving lightly, swiftly,
over soft, yielding earth,

    skin of soles reading
    texture like eyes touching

   the storylines seen in the bark
   of many trees.

The simple thought of something sharp,
painful, these possible futures hidden
in the hard brown of dried grass.

Oh so careful child...
Don't let it take away this joy.


4 or 5 digits -- the splayed fingers
of an outstretched hand,

driven to the peripherique of tightly
cropped, well-fed urban meadows . . .

How the violets, moss and yellow flowers
of spring wish to return, showing us

that someone has given up all the fighting
and let their hair go wild again, gestures

shaped, even if ever so slightly,
by much sun, sparse rain, and the curious,
fickle ways of a prairie wind.

Prairie Grass

Big blue stem, how
did it come to be so long,
so tall?

     Little thin-fingered flowers
     reaching out to a precarious
     balance of sun and air,

patches scattered about here and there,
standing proudly in the foreground
of some uncertain future significance.

She couldn't keep from laughing at times
as he, close up, magnifying glass in hand,

would sway with his whole trunk,
back and forth, moving in unison
with the long culm of stem, flowers
now almost purple.

It was the mysterious rhythm of it. She
saw him there, almost talking to the wind,
cutting the odd figure

of someone looking deeply into the world
of the forgotten and unseen for some sure sign
of a safe and hopeful future.


In the open parkland, it
was not the tall, straight
trunk that caught their eye,

but more the unique, not
quite finished shape of leaf:
long, thin stem fluttering
anxiously about,

two curves rising from a common
source, flaring out slightly,
then quickly withdrawing into
a private, inner embrace,

leaving the climax of their
union for others to infer...

Two sides of one movement:
One cannot help but be reminded
of the way the faces of lovers
can sometimes be seen silently
to hold and reflect one another,

and, that a child does not yet know, that,
even in an ideal world, such unspeakably
beautiful symmetry is sometimes broken . . .

   How shall we teach them these things?

(Yellow-poplar, Liriodendron tulipifera,
a member of the Magnolia family,
called Apollo of the Woods by
Walt Whitman.)


A world without light or
sound is thinkable,

but not a world



(Photo: Fireweed with Aphids and Ants)
| Songs of Love and Loss: Part I ; Part II |
| go to Picture/Poems: Central Display | go to PicturePage: Week IV |
see also Week V (5) Departure Tree |
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Copyright © 2002 Cliff Crego   Comments to
XI.26.1999 (Last update: III.6.2002 )