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Poetry of Nature | Late Spring | Geoff Oelsner

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A photo of a bee on a pale green leaf with small purple flowers that are about to bloom

Geoff Oelsner’s PONderings

Poems of Regenerative Oneness with the Earth

For the Coming Summer

A pause can be a portal

to an open moment,

an open invitation

to rest and resonate

with what you’ve read.

Here are some summer poems.

When one touches you,

take time to pause and bask

in your bodily experience.

Let its word-music stir you.

Let these poems serve

as possible prompts

to inspire your own poems.

Let them be portals

and prompts.

We’ll return to them

on June 13 when we meet

and write some more,

and celebrate together

the coming of summer.

~ Geoff Oelsner

(The Summer Solstice arrives on Tuesday, June 21st at 2:14 AM PST)


How again today our patron star

whose ancient vista is the long view

turns its wide brightness now and here:

Below, we loll outdoors, sing & make fire.

We build no henge

but after our swim, linger

by the pond. Dapples flicker

pine trunks by the water.

Buzz & hum & wing & song combine.

Light builds a monument to its passing.

Frogs content themselves in bullish chirps,

hoopskirt blossoms

on thimbleberries fall, peeper toads

hop, lazy—

Apex. The throaty world sings: Ripen

Our grove slips past the sun’s long kiss.

We dress.

We head home in other starlight.

Our earthly time is sweetening from this.

~ Tess Taylor.

* * *

By the Peonies

The peonies bloom, white and pink.

And inside each, as in a fragrant bowl,

A swarm of tiny beetles have their conversation,

For the flower is given to them as their home.

Mother stands by the peony bed,

Reaches for one bloom, opens its petals,

And looks for a long time into peony lands,

Where one short instant equals a whole year.

Then lets the flower go. And what she thinks

She repeats aloud to the children and herself.

The wind sways the green leaves gently

And speckles of light flick across their faces.

~ Czeslaw Milosz

* * *

An excerpt from:

The Garden

What wond’rous life in this I lead!

Ripe apples drop about my head;

The luscious clusters of the vine

Upon my mouth do crush their wine;

The nectarine and curious peach

Into my hands themselves do reach;

Stumbling on melons as I pass,

Ensnar’d with flow’rs, I fall on grass.

Meanwhile the mind, from pleasure less,

Withdraws into its happiness;

The mind, that ocean where each kind

Does straight its own resemblance find,

Yet it creates, transcending these,

Far other worlds, and other seas;

Annihilating all that’s made

To a green thought in a green shade.

Here at the fountain’s sliding foot,

Or at some fruit tree’s mossy root,

Casting the body’s vest aside,

My soul into the boughs does glide;

There like a bird it sits and sings,

Then whets, and combs its silver wings;

And, till prepar’d for longer flight,

Waves in its plumes the various light.

~ Andrew Marvell

* * *

On the Hill Late at Night

The ripe grassheads bend in the starlight

in the soft wind, beneath them the darkness

of the grass, fathomless, the long blades

rising out of the well of time. Cars

travel the valley roads below me, their lights

finding the dark, and racing on. Above

their roar is a silence I have suddenly heard,

and felt the country turn under the stars

toward dawn. I am wholly willing to be here

between the bright silent thousands of stars

and the life of the grass pouring out of the ground.

The hill has grown to me like a foot.

Until I lift the earth I cannot move.

~ Wendell Berry

* * *

White Flowers

Last night

in the fields

I lay down in the darkness

to think about death,

but instead I fell asleep,

as if in a vast and sloping room

filled with those white flowers

that open all summer,

sticky and untidy,

in the warm fields.

When I woke

the morning light was just slipping

in front of the stars,

and I was covered

with blossoms.

I don’t know

how it happened—

I don’t know

if my body went diving down

under the sugary vines

in some sleep-sharpened affinity

with the depths, or whether

that green energy

rose like a wave

and curled over me, claiming me

in its husky arms.

I pushed them away, but I didn’t rise.

Never in my life had I felt so plush,

or so slippery,

or so resplendently empty.

Never in my life

had I felt myself so near

that porous line

where my own body was done with

and the roots and the stems and the flowers


~ Mary Oliver

* * *

One more poem to share.

It’s about time:

Not Mine the Years Time Took Away

Not mine the years time took away,

not mine the years that might yet be.

Time’s wink is mine, and if I tend it, then

the maker of years and eternity is mine.

~ Andreas Gryphius (1616-1664)

translation by John Peck

* * *

Yes, our pauses can be portals

to an open moment

to an open meadow

to an open me

What will you find?

Where will you pause?

What might you write?

I look forward to being, pausing, writing and sharing with you on June 13!

With Summer Love,

Geoff O

A photo of a stone birdbath with three grey birds with black spots on the left and two on the right. There is thick dark green foliage in the background.

"Each moment of the year has its own beauty."

~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

Dove parents with their three fledglings


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