Sunday, August 4, 2013

Two Poems by Rick Hartwell

Tern Around
Not lonely, alone.  She is
solicitous of her solitude.
Her limitless blue world
expands seasonally to
four compass points.
Speckled tan against ivory,
head cocked to one side,
she is the focal point
centered in the stark
arctic of her world.
Is she praying in this
austere light or the prey,
or perhaps part of the
prayer itself?  She is
unique, vibrant in a
world of visual sterility.
Some subtle switch in
electromagnetic flux,
perhaps a temperature
trigger in her cortex;
for whatever reason,
she prepares for extended
flight, unaware of any
Darwinian dilemma.
Why now, here, right in
the middle of creation?
One Leaf Falling
I watch one leaf drop from
a rose tree at twilight and
wonder what it signifies.
I note it was not a petal
from a bloom long past
its blush, but mere leaf,
one of many, not one
soured by the sun, tanned,
not fit to serve any longer.
It was a leaf still green,
presumably still full of life.
What made it fall then?
Why let go mother branch?
Or was it flung from its nest
for some unseemly conduct?
I’ll never know, not being
knowledgeable of leaf lore,
tree coda; but I would wager
that within the tale of the
fall of the leaf – or was
she or he pushed after all? –
lives the story of mankind.
Yes, I’ll wager; but what

will you put up on your side?
Rick Hartwell is a retired middle school (remember the hormonally-challenged?) English teacher living in Moreno Valley, California. He believes in the succinct, that the small becomes large; and, like the Transcendentalists and William Blake, that the instant contains eternity. Given his “druthers,” if he’s not writing, Rick would rather be still tailing plywood in a mill in Oregon. He can be reached at

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