Thursday, October 8, 2015

Three Poems by Rick Hartwell


Free-wheeling south on Highway 101,
giant redwoods render purple shade;
unseen sunrise over left shoulder,
dawn's red turns soft orange then to
vertical bands of soft-filtered yellow
a slant between majestic trunks to right;
crowded sentinels individually
wading through lush ferns,
careful not to tread on the
dappled fawn unfolding.


I'm continually seduced by the wind,
from the small caresses tickling hairs
on the back of my neck to the vagrant
zephyrs drying sweat on arms and face;
such minimal acts of kindness kindle
thoughts of more intimate contact.

So I revel in the roiling currents of air,
first buffets on the distant tree-line, as
it creeps closer, touching dead leaves,
stray flotsam, driven before its lunge
across vacant lots and empty streets,
to embrace me in its clumsy groping.

Klamath Falls

A ravenous hawk spirals over the grove
finally alighting on one of the ancients.

Scurrying mammals and bird attendants
wizard cautious warnings to one another.

Falls of sunlight cascade through pines and firs,
slight zephyrs stir and dry needles rain down.

Freckled and cancerous bark of white birches
rise from lime-colored moss and coiled ferns.

Incongruity of a white doe frozen in full light
next to a fallen giant, creator of a pygmy glen.

Diagonal yellows slash through upper branches
as seedlings strive for lebensraum and growth.

Lightning-struck snags pierce lowering clouds,
river ospreys compete for flashing surface fish.

Fog starts to settle oozing down-slope, fewer
redwoods remain perpendicular to the planet.

And I recall the taste of black licorice as our
tongues played around in this dark theater.

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