Welcome to where I am, where my kitchen's always messy, a pot's (or a poet) always about to boil over, a dog is always begging to be fed. Drafts of poems on the counter. Windows filled with leaves. Wind. Clouds moving over the mountains. If you like poetry, books, and music--especially dog howls when a siren unwinds down the hill-- you'll like it here.


MY NEW AUTHOR'S SITE, KATHRYNSTRIPLINGBYER.COM, THAT I MYSELF SET UP THROUGH WEEBLY.COM, IS NOW UP. I HAD FUN CREATING THIS SITE AND WOULD RECOMMEND WEEBLY.COM TO ANYONE INTERESTED IN SETTING UP A WEBSITE. I INVITE YOU TO VISIT MY NEW SITE TO KEEP UP WITH EVENTS RELATED TO MY NEW BOOK.


MY NC POET LAUREATE BLOG, MY LAUREATE'S LASSO, WILL REMAIN UP AS AN ARCHIVE OF NC POETS, GRADES K-INFINITY! I INVITE YOU TO VISIT WHEN YOU FEEL THE NEED TO READ SOME GOOD POEMS.

VISIT MY NEW BLOG, MOUNTAIN WOMAN, WHERE YOU WILL FIND UPDATES ON WHAT'S HAPPENING IN MY KITCHEN, IN THE ENVIRONMENT, IN MY IMAGINATION, IN MY GARDEN, AND AMONG MY MOUNTAIN WOMEN FRIENDS.




Friday, March 20, 2015

HOW DO THE ANIMALS CELEBRATE SPRING? Prompt #2

Too often we forget that we share these mountains with others, the wildlife that our Native American neighbors have often called our brothers and sisters.  How would a bear, a salamander, or a raven celebrate spring?  Here are a few poems by Bill Griffin to help us begin to imagine some answers to that question.  This would be a great exercise for K-12 science teachers to use to stretch their students imaginations.   








BILL GRIFFIN is a family doctor in rural North Carolina, where his ‘writers’ group’ is a hawkswept footpath that wanders the crest of the Blue Ridge. His poems have appeared in many regional and national journals, including Tar River Poetry, POEM, NC Literary Review, Pembroke Magazine, and Illuminations. He has two chapbooks in print: Barb Quill Down (Pudding House 2004) and Changing Woman (Main Street Rag 2006).

Every summer Bill assists Mike Barnett with High Adventure Camp, leading a small crew of teenagers on their first backpacking experience in the southern Appalachian wilderness. They hope to instill in the young people not only a greater sense of self-reliance and teamwork, but also a deep sense of connection to earth, water, sky, and all life. For a week in 2007 Bill and Mike hiked Snake Den Mountain and its connecting trails; they encountered most of the creatures that speak in this collection (especially Mouse!).

Bill and his wife Linda have collaborated on plenty of creative endeavors during their 35-year marriage (including raising their two children, creative in their own right), but Snake Den Ridge: A Bestiary is their first book project undertaken together.









RAVEN

Listen.
I’m not going to say this twice.
The sum and product of words
is no mark of intelligence.
Case in point – cousin Crow,
not half as smart as all his talk.

So listen,
I know three things:
Sky, that small kiss of warm air
that rises through my primaries;

the Water on its breath, ridgeblown mist
that bathes us all and makes springs
overflow into Inadu Creek;

and Earth, slope and cup of cove,
the steep that gathers with wide black wings
to draw down Sky,
draw Water up,
that sets free all things green
into a world first fledged.

But listen.
I know from twenty circles
of snowdeep and hungry moons
and twenty circles of fresh shoots
that Sky . . . Water . . . Earth . . .
none of them are mine.

And I know none are yours.




SALAMANDER

This is my gift –
to change.
From Inadu Creek I leave behind
my frilly gills and climb
the spire of blue-eyed grass.
Having become a creature of air bathing
myself in dew, am I not still
a creature of water?

I invite you to discover
in each of my family our variations,
discern that every runnel, every spring,
every palm-sized cup of moisture
holds its lithe expectation, for this
is my gift to you –
to notice changes.

I will let you lightly touch
the welcome of my smoothness
while I drink a little warmth
from your hand. Now count
the dapples down my length,
measure the blush of my cheek,

then find when you descend
the eastern face of Snake Den Ridge
those subtle alterations my cousins
are accumulating until finally
they acquire a new name.

And when you have returned me
to my bed of blue-bead lily, then touch
a smooth place within yourself
and carry with you into the world
your own changes.




TROUT

Today Inadu Creek’s so clear
it’s like swimming in the sky.
Oh yes, sky . . . for even Trout
look up, if usually for the hopeful
rainfall of Mayflies, then again sometimes
to dream of discovering
a hatching out of stars
that sprinkle down the stream of night
between the blackgum leaves.
Heaven isn’t the other side
of darkness, it’s here
above the rocky spray that holds
piscivorous Brown and Rainbow down
in Cosby Creek, and here below
the love embrace of shade
that drips manna
every morning from its leaves.
Look closely. Learn heaven’s language
scripted on my sides –
ripple shadow of pure water,
lace of insect wings,
gold and silver speckle stars –
kisses of God.





BEAR

If you hear me, it will be a nut falling
from the buckeye. If you hear me,
it will be a dry branch
seeking earth,
it will be slender fingers
of mountain ash waving praises
to the ridgelined sky.

If you see me, it will be a shadow
only one breath deeper
than twilight.
If you see me, it will be the twist
of heart that skips
a beat, the stark
of pupils gone abruptly wide.

I am mist that enfolds the laurel.
I am stone that reclines beneath black hemlocks.
I am a rumor at Maddron Bald,
a tremor at Mt. Guyot.

Raven is mistaken – this Ridge is mine.

And if you hear me, it will be the rising chest
of the mountain and its timeless slow
exhale,
and if you hear me
it will only be because
I didn’t hear you first.


4 comments:

Bill Griffin said...

Kathryn, thanks for once again letting these creatures have their say. We did a workshop on "animal persona poems" when I was the Zoo poet a couple of years ago and as you mention it is a real imagination stretcher.
Linda and I thank for your sharing these images and words.

Bill Griffin
http://GriffinPoetry.com

Stanley Workman said...

My girlfriend is a natural blue head.
A virgin, with a pierced labia.
Not so much a dog walker, as a member of their pack.
Pop rock & infinity pools.
Goose stepping backwards; rewinding history's odometer.
Selling it as new.

-Marc Breed
An Ohio Poet Laureate candidate

http://topclevelandartists.blogspot.com

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