BHR Issue 5 Winter/2016


BHR Winter 2016 cover design image

(Cover art by Sharon Auberle)


Ethel Mortenson Davis * Chris Abbate * Elizabeth J Mitchell * Martin Willitts Jr * Joan Mazza * Richard King Perkins II * Kenneth Pobo * Lila Hope-Simpson * Steven Bucher * Robert Lee Haycock * Terrence Sykes * Su Zi * Karissa Knox Sorrell * Heidi Hallett * Mary Carroll-Hackett * Devi S Laskar * Philip Dacey * Gary Jones * Zara Raab * Anne Higgins * David Anthony Sam * Nancy Ann Schaefer * Patricia Williams * Sarah Gilbert * Emily Harel * Maryann Hurtt * Julia Rice * Marilyn Zelke-Windau * Katy Phillips * Bauke Kamstra * Linda Aschbrenner * Erina Booker * Judy Wucherer * Daniel Birnbaum * Florence Weinberger * Melissa Fu * Pamela Ahlen * Gonzalinho da Costa * Marcia J Pradzinski * Keith MacNider * Cathryn Essinger * Cindy Rinne * Cindy Bousquet Harris * Donna H DiCello

Sharon Auberle * Phil Shepherd * Richard Havenga * Daniel Adams * David Kessler * Keith MacNider * Robert Lee Haycock


Richard Havenga blue heron photo BH5 winter2016

(photo by Richard Havenga)



Pair with Ethel Mortenson Davis

(photo by Phil Shepherd)


I caught a glimpse
of my reflection
in a window,

an old, white-haired person
I did not recognize.

But the person
an ageless belle,
leapt, far above our heads,
like the hare
we saw this morning on our walk,

and sent its
resonance of rapture
out across
the snow-covered mountains
as the wind
began to shape it.

Ethel Mortenson Davis is an artist and poet who currently lives in Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin, two and a half hours from where she was raised on a Wisconsin dairy farm.  She has had two books published, I Sleep Between the Moons of New Mexico, and White Ermine Across Her Shoulders.  Her poetry has appeared in a number of small journals, magazines, and anthologies.  Primarily a pastel artist at the current time, she studied art at the University of Wisconsin-Madison under Milton Resnick and other masters of the late 20th century.  Her work has appeared in galleries in New Mexico and Wisconsin.  She and her husband publish a blog of poetry, art, and photographs at


The Reward

When I stepped onto the second floor porch tonight to admire the moon,
to fold the day into its envelope and file it along with the others

in the place after yesterday and before tomorrow,
I reached over the railing for a thin shoot of the beech

the builders had planted seven years before,
heavy with rainwater from the storm this afternoon

and bowed just enough for us to make our acquaintance,
a reward for our shared diligence, the tree for simply standing in place,

for grounding itself through the seasons, and me for arranging
the things inside – tables and chairs, hutches stacked with white plates,

mirrors to hold us – the potential energy of a house
and the child we have been waiting for who will someday arrive.

Chris Abbate’s poetry and short fiction has appeared in various journals including Main Street Rag, Common Ground Review, and Comstock Review.  His more recent awards include honorable mentions at the 2013 Nazim Hikmet Poetry Festival and the 2012 Flyleaf Poetry Contest.  He is a member of Living Poetry, an active group of poets in the Raleigh area.  Chris resides in Holly Springs, NC where he works as a database programmer.


Pair with Elizabeth J Mitchell

(photo by Daniel Adams)

Guardian of the Earth

On nights you appear
I cannot remove my gaze, your illuminated
face. The mouth that cannot open.

Hollow eyes beckon. I,
this echo of a soul seeking
someone who understands.

I follow your silent plea
into woods, quiet death beneath
my feet, stirrings of life in wind.

Listen. The grasshoppers are chirping. In the creek
a night heron gulps down its meal. Jewels sparkle,
an opossum’s eyes, kept safe by the glow
of headlights, lights to see what we cannot reveal.

Mask of Truth, let me hear that stillness—
no, that rustling— between leaf and star
that only the earth can whisper.

Peace comes to those who let the earth speak
remedies into their lives. But sadly
I forget to be still.
Too busy with life to watch swifts swooping at sunset
or to be surrounded by swallows on a soccer field
or to walk a path that leads me to the gentle eyes of a deer.

All this land, water, sky. How are you not dizzy with the earth?

When I lift my eyes to yours, your desire pierces
my longing to belong, to know wholeness.
On nights you appear, I clasp your hand
and become one with the sky.

Elizabeth J Mitchell grew up in Detroit, MI and calls southeast Michigan home. She is most at peace in nature, listening to water and watching water birds. She cares about youth, poetry, and social justice and builds websites for a living. Her poems appear in Mobius: The Journal of Social Change, BLACKBERRY: a magazine, and Sediments Literary-Arts Journal (forthcoming).



Snowbird is another name for the Dark-Eyed Junco (Junco hyemalis)

Gray skies or totally gray birds,
white bellies or snow,

make a high-pitched tinkling chip
chipping apart cold air from loss.

Do we sing a complex song like a snowbird?
We are overcast, in cold mist,

all blend and blur of movement, notice me!
For one moment we should try searching and finding.

Not everything is black or white or gray.
What has nestled in the strange woods of our hearts?

Is it all a blizzard of anger, like feathery snow?
Sometimes singing overcomes sorrow.

When you chip the ice off sadness,
out of the gray emerges songs worth singing.

Martin Willitts Jr was a featured author on the Blue Heron Speaks page of BHR, and has also had poems previously published in Blue Heron Review. He is a Quaker, organic gardener, visual artist, and retired librarian. He has 7 full-length poetry books, including national ecological winner, Searching For What Is Not There (Hiraeth Press, 2013) and 28 chapbooks, including national contest winner, William Blake, Not Blessed Angel But Restless Man (Red Ochre Press, 2014).


We Love Images of Tiny Houses

Some on wheels, one with a Murphy bed
and a basket on the wall filled with scarves,
mittens, hats by the door, and a hook

with an Anorak. Rag rugs, a crazy quilt,
cast iron pots and pans and a woodstove,
with a handy pile of seasoned logs. Outside:

a stairway to the roof to watch for shooting
stars. To live in one room, without clutter
or glitz of crystal, silver, souvenirs.

Enough space for one to sleep and eat
parked in wilderness with woods wide
enough for thought, where you see deer

at dusk and dawn. To drink from the swirl
of the Milky Way, sleep to the lyrics
of crickets and tree frogs. To thin

out the litter in our minds, let the loops
of obsessive thoughts flatten, drop
silently, like hair—cut and falling

around a chair. No sweeping it up.
Birds know how to weave it into nests.

Joan Mazza has worked as a medical microbiologist, psychotherapist, seminar leader, and has been a Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net nominee. Author of six books, including Dreaming Your Real Self (Penguin/Putnam), her poetry has appeared in Rattle, Kestrel, The MacGuffin, Mezzo Cammin, Buddhist Poetry Review, and The Nation. She ran away from the hurricanes of South Florida to be surprised by the earthquakes and tornadoes of rural central Virginia, where she writes poetry and does fabric and paper art. Find out more about this poet at:


The Plains of Venezuela

Winter has never brought us a snowflake.
Come spring, our growing lands are seared,
and these we burn as is our tradition—
dead overgrowth serves as tinder.

Cleared of desiccation by consumptive fire,
our parched fields await the rains—
balm of life for the savanna
and healer of heat-cracked soil.

Scrub cattle flick string-tails
at swarms of parasites droning.
Weakened grazers shelter near a gnarled tree
as the season’s first thunderstorm begins.

As dull thuds raise small puffs of dust
it is time for the earth and ourselves to be healed.
Soon, the scarlet ibis will find the red crab
and blooms from the deluge bead the bleak horizon.

As ever, the burst of rain will cease,
and again, the father star will scorch mother earth
and again, we shall fire our fields to tender the flood—
as it has been throughout our history and also before.

I believe these cycles of death and life to be true,
for as grayness prospers and muscles wither,
I watch a scarlet ibis circle over vast plains
drifted with the heaviness of a coming winter.

Richard King Perkins II is a state-sponsored advocate for residents in long-term care facilities. He lives in Crystal Lake, IL with his wife, Vickie and daughter, Sage. He is a three-time Pushcart nominee and a Best of the Net nominee and has had work appear in hundreds of publications including: The Louisiana Review, Bluestem, Emrys Journal, Sierra Nevada Review, Roanoke Review, The Red Cedar Review, and The William and Mary Review. He has poems forthcoming in Watershed Review, The Alembic, and Milkfist. He was a recent finalist in The Rash Awards, Sharkpack Alchemy, Writer’s Digest, and Bacopa Literary Review poetry contests.


Dad and the Sliver

At 89, widowed, he enjoys
winning at ping pong
4 times a year.  I show him a picture

of mom, him, and me standing
in church clothes, April 1963.
He didn’t go to church.
Easter?  The picture, snapped
before my grandparents’ house.

To be useful matters to him.
Like it does to Stan’s grandma,
102 years old, sad that she
can no longer help make dinner.
She’s useful just by being.

I have a sliver—I jammed
a dead stalk into my thumb
cleaning up a garden bed.
No tweezers.  He sits me down
at his dining room table
with two bananas and bills,
focuses the light on my wound.
I’m six again.  Several times
he tweezes the sliver
as I muffle screams.
My thumb throbs but he gets it.

Happy blood.  We drink Sprite.
He tells me stories
of people he loved, now dead.
Some slivers go so deep
you never get them out.

Kenneth Pobo has a new poetry book, forthcoming, from Blue Light Press called, Bend Of Quiet.  His work has appeared in: Hawaii Review, Nimrod, Mudfish, Weber: The Contemporary West, The Fiddlehead, and elsewhere.


Mice and Moles

Camouflaged in the birch tree
On a snow covered branch
Owl feathers ruffled for warmth
On this January morning.

Are you so wise?
Can you see so far?
Do you think about mice and moles
Or moons and mornings?

You take flight with wide brown wings
I can hear the wind part for you.
You are wise
Blinking with the yellow eyes of a sage.
You know more than night hunting
Every molecule of evolution is in your wings
You have seen my blood.

Yet today
It is only mice and moles you seek.
And a warm nest beyond,
Emerging in this frozen slice of winter.

Lila Hope-Simpson is the author of Fiddles & Spoons: Journey of an Acadian Mouse (Nimbus Publishing, 2012), Lila was awarded the Marianna Dempster Award for Children’s Literature from the Canadian Author’s Association. She received the Best Specialty Column Award by the Atlantic Newspaper Association for her Positive Parenting columns, which were compiled in the book, The Clothesline Collection. Lila is the author of the novel, Stepping Out (Three Dogs Press, 2013). She was honored to be the featured poet of Red Mare 9, a limited edition, handmade chapbook, titled Emerging (2014). She has also been featured in the Blue Heron Review summer edition 2014 and freelances for the Chronicle Herald in Halifax, NS. Her writing reflects her interest in diversity, destiny, heritage and exploration. Originally from Montreal, Lila Hope-Simpson is a writer and Early Childhood Educator living in Nova Scotia, Canada. (Facebook page: Lila Hope-Simpson, Author).


Pair with Steven Bucher

(photo by Phil Shepherd)

Left for Others

Pale pirouette
From a pendent sky
Dawn descending
A solitary flake…

The breathless point

Till wind lays hold
And sky spills over
As my feet sink
Into the deepening day

Windswept howl of February
Whips slanting snow
While horses forage
In patient hope
Of blades overlooked

The barn’s metal roof
Rumbles in the wind
Like a bass drum
Rolling down hill

Winter’s hoar reaches
Through my boots
To sap my stores
As I turn stalls
In sepia shafts
And warming scents
Of cedar and sweet hay

Dark solace and quiet kinship
Drift together in dun and dusk

The blades overlooked

These I leave for others
Emptying myself as snow
Into a deepening day

Steven Bucher is a new poet living on a small farm in the Virginia Piedmont and is an active member of the Poetry Society of Virginia.  Steven’s poetry has been published in Blue Heron Review, Calliope Magazine, the Smokey Blue Literary and Arts Magazine, the Artemis Journal, and in the upcoming anthology, NoVa Bards, published by Local Gems Press.


From Saranap to Rheem

Like a procession of Druid giants
Those ancient oaks march
Across the billowed hills
Raising their many arms
To a cold and tired sun.
They move ever so slowly
Toward the southering dawn
Unable to see their fog-wound feet.

Robert Lee Haycock grew up in California’s Santa Clara Valley, “The Valley of Heart’s Delight,” and now resides in Antioch, California, “The Gateway to the Delta.” Robert has been an art handler at the M H de Young Memorial Museum and the California Palace of the Legion of Honor in San Francisco since 1988.


(to Carol … My first & constant Muse)

Rambling down another
long & forgotten
dirt road
in search of something
lost yet had
never found before

A gathering of stone
built an altar
for a seagull-shaped rock
that we discovered
amongst the rubble
though we were eons
from the sea

We never returned
again to that road
once & only once traveled
though traversed in memory
perhaps the day
too sacred to trespass
upon again

Terrence Sykes was born and raised in the rural coal mining area of Virginia. This isolation brings the theme of remembrance to his creations, whether real or imagined. Though not traditional in his spiritual path, these traditional threads of his past are woven into his tapestry of writing. His poetry has been published in India, Scotland, Spain and the USA.



The blooming was your undoing
of dark eyes
big fellow
The first of the heat
against the sand
It’s all my fault
and no penance will suffice
I was planting flowers
was drunk on horsehair and birdsong
was a thoughtless petunia
On the Friday of Death

When the light slanted
you were already prostrate
All the ice
could not rekindle your life
Though we tried – the neighbors,
the big man you loved,
my whisper.
You lay unseeing
the nurse noting your temperature:
109.5, 107.5, 105.5
as April’s afternoon slid west.
My whispering, my hands
More ice, more fans
You, the gentle
even in your throes

The washtub of your bathing
your final bed
because you are so big

The blood moon rose

The man began
your final sentry post
by moon
and truck light
Your shroud, the tools for your
final duty
in the ghost world:
my mother’s watch.

When the East Star arose
poor yellow girl took your
favorite sentry post,
trying to do your job
despite aging bones
The tractor howled
pushing sand
into holes you had dug:
your listening posts.
You have one post now
that awaits rain
then concrete
jewelry of perpetual passion
tributes of dedication.
Your absence is large
for such an unassuming fellow
Yet the pasture of your patrol
bears the path of your diligence
which no season can easily heal.

I will look for you
in the sudden silence
the shy eyes
the effortless air
And I will wait
for you as I do
for all of you
who own me, my
agony and adoration
my beloveds
my babies.

Su Zi has spent her life in dedication to art, working in the various genres of writing and visual work. She is the founding editor of Red Mare Press, a handmade chapbook serial publication. Each copy has an individually block printed cover, a hand sewn binding, and is numbered. She is a bibliophile, a tattooed person, an equestrian, and a second-generation eco-conscious person. Su Zi welcomes inquiries about her work. She has had essays published on both the Cosmoetica and the Gypsy Art Show site. Su Zi’s latest art book, Pillar of Salt, is available on Amazon: To browse handmade, original art by Su Zi, and to view copies of the Red Mare Press annual chapbook series, please visit her Etsy page:


Pair with Karissa Knox Sorrell

(photo by Phil Shepherd)

A Mother Brushes Her Daughter’s Hair

You cry out.

I don’t want to hurt you,
but you must learn this lesson:

Your hair is your strength.

A woman’s hair is much like a woman’s soul:
pinned back, tugged tight, lest one lock
fall out of line.

You will learn to love the curls nagging
at the nape of your neck, their rebellion
hidden from the world.

And then you will learn to use
your hair to be dangerous. It will
rush from your scalp and shout!

You will learn the many ways
a woman cries, and sometimes
that is by laughing.

You will learn that every 28 days
your skin sloughs off, giving you
new armor to inhabit.

You will learn to drape your hair
across every wound,
cover your body with softness.

You will learn the force
of love, of grief – are they not one?
You will learn that you can bear both.

You will learn to be untangled
without flinching.

Every tug of the brush
will be a tug on your memory
one day,
the weight of remembering me
too hard to bear.

Here is what you will remember:

This was your first lesson
on how to be strong.

Karissa Knox Sorrell earned her MFA from Murray State University in 2010. Her poetry and non-fiction have previously been published in journals such as Alliterati Magazine, Silver Birch Press, Parable Press, Flycatcher, Cactus Heart, San Pedro River Review, and St. Katherine Review. Her poetry chapbook, Evening Body, is forthcoming from Finishing Line Press. Karissa lives with her family in Nashville, Tennessee, where she mentors ESL teachers. Find her on Twitter @KKSorrell.


Winter solstice sun
Glissades to dusky sky
On to starlit peace

Heidi Hallett sees creative expression through poetry as a way to collaborate or converse with others.  She finds that poetry enables us to examine and appreciate life, and she enjoys working with the imagery in poems to explore an idea.  Heidi is a small animal veterinarian who paints with oils as well as words, often using these two mediums to complement each other.  To find out more, please visit


It Is Not What Waits At the Door, This Love

it is not the petals that fall when the roses have given up. It is not the scarred heartwood nor what settles into the trees beneath a calling of stars. It is not the knee bent toward things to be believed in, nor the finger angled toward need. It is not the echoed script the dove leaves on a seamless sky, not the dreamless nights that shiver like sheets on the line, not the listen listen of a love song, radio knobs silver tuning to voices out beyond the beyond. It’s not the never-be-gone-from-me, not the if-you-leave-I-can’t-breathe, not the til-death-do-us-part, no, especially not that, as hearts made of dust already, gold dust, star dust, the dust on the hardwood that no matter the sweeping it stays, this love is the always already, the sound, that sound that some thousands and thousands of years in the past, some heart gasped into being, a whisper, a sentence spoken so softly, it floats, out there beyond everything known, toward the no-limits, going on and on and on.

Mary Carroll-Hackett earned an MFA from Bennington College and is the author of four books: The Real Politics of Lipstick, Animal Soul, If We Could Know Our Bones, and most recently, The Night I Heard Everything, from FutureCycle Press. A chapbook, Trailer Park Oracle, is due out in November 2015 from Kelsay Books. She teaches at Longwood University, and on the low-residency MFA faculty at West Virginia Wesleyan. Mary is currently at work on a memoir.


Most Days a Passage

There are nations within me,
tribes of angry dispossessed

people who are good at riding
horses, making spears, singeing

souls with a single glance. Look
at me, I change but remain the same

the way a wall clock pulses forward
the time but still retains its shape.

I try to gather the people
within, as the days gallop

by me, when I study the stars
at night. There is something up

there, looking back at us: see
how those constellations blink

and nudge, disappear altogether
when the sun gods come out

to bicker over the price of shade.
Don’t try to follow me,

you’ll only disturb my dust.
There are days when the rains never

stop, there are days when the snow
drifts in to every crevice and hides

all our faults. Most days it’s a passage,
the thinning line between the living

and the dead, the moment just as
Persephone leaves the underworld

and steps into the lands of Ra,
Apollo and Surya, shimmering.

Devi S Laskar was born and raised in Chapel Hill, N.C. She holds a B.A. in journalism and English from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, an M.A. in South Asian Studies from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and an M.F.A. in writing from Columbia University. Ms. Laskar is a photographer, a writer, and a former crime reporter in Florida, Georgia, Hawai’i, North Carolina, and Illinois. Her poems have been published in The Atlanta Review, The Squaw Valley Review, Pratichi, The Tule Review, and The North American Review, where her poems were finalists for the James Hearst Prize in 2011 and 2009. She now lives in California.


Pair with Philip Dacey

(photo by Phil Shepherd)

(for Doug Johnson)

“Shift” was Walt Whitman’s
last spoken word, a direction
to his nurse Warren Fritzinger
to move him in the bed he would
die in moments later,

and now you remind me
of that last word by your return
to manual transmission
with your new car, shifting,
one might say, to shifting again

and thereby letting me connect,
to my surprise, you and Walt,
you slipping into high gear
and Whitman slipping into
lower and lower gears,

the hum of your engine
the translation of his song
of the open road, so that whenever
you shift, you do so for two
instead of one, moving Whitman

into a new and comfortable position
for which he is grateful,
for Whitman rides with you,
in the back seat.
Now shift, Doug. Shift.

Philip Dacey’s latest of thirteen books of poems is Church of the Adagio (Rain Mountain Press, 2014), and his previous book, Gimme Five, won the 2012 Blue Light Press Book Award.  Work of his appears in Scribner’s Best American Poetry 2014.  The winner of three Pushcart Prizes, Dacey is the author of complete volumes of poems about Gerard Manley Hopkins, Thomas Eakins, and New York City.


Snow Falling

A snow falling on the pines sort of day,
windless flakes sifting down from leaden skies
black sentinel crow frozen to an oak limb,
in the distance, the scrape of shovel on cement,

the sort of day when long novels beckon,
forgotten quilt pieces call for stitches,
hickory nuts await the hammer and picks,
overdue letters ask to be written and sealed,

a well-made bed on this sort of day, invites,
accepting no regrets, warm bare skin pressed,
the past rediscovered between flannel sheets,
buried under fragrant layers of vintage quilts

a day of sorting, of sifting, of searching,
when questions aren’t answered, but forgotten.

Gary Jones recently retired from teaching writing at the University of Wisconsin-Platteville and now summers on Wisconsin’s Door County peninsula.  His verse has appeared in Rosebud, Pearl, Verse Wisconsin, Knock, Museletter, Peninsula Pulse, Wisconsin Poet’s Calendar, Memory Keepers, Fox Cry Review, Clutching at Straws, Nebo, and Red Cedar Review.  His poetry has won prizes in the Hal Grutzmacher contest and most recently, a first in the 2014 Bo Carter Memorial Contest.  His poems appear in the Ariel Anthology (2014) and Soundings (2015).  Jones has taught poetry workshops to high school students and adults, including classes at the Ellison Bay (Wisconsin) Clearing in winter.


North Adams

It all begins in childhood
on these streets of green,
growing in the turn of leaves,
green to orange and red,
past the year’s own turning,
flood to harvest of olives,
till snow grows in your beard,
till wind and sleet and rain
undress the trees.
I saw how, trembling, they stood.

Snowflakes fall unhindered
along the street; each tree,
too, differs in its being,
though standing by the roads
together, as cars zip by,
the trees seem a tribe,
so kith are they, so kindred.
Man or woman or tree,
we are rooted here a century,
our thoughts, free. Each one, a bird.

Although Zara Raab has a Master’s Degree (U. of Michigan), she has never worked in academia, perhaps because with a working class background, she did not have the confidence to make that happen. But Zara’s various work experiences have kept her writing well fed. Her latest book is Fracas & Asylum. Earlier books are Swimming the Eel and The Book of Gretel, narrative poems of rural Northern California. Her work, including book reviews, has appeared in Verse Daily, River Styx, West Branch, Arts & Letters, Crab Orchard Review, Critical Flame, Prime Number, Raven Chronicles, and The Dark Horse. Zara has served as a contributing editor to Poetry Flash and The Redwood Coast Review. Rumpelstiltskin, or What’s in a Name? was a finalist for the Dana Award. She lives in western Massachusetts and makes her living as a cashier in the local K-Mart, as well as cleaning houses. Find out more about this author:


Inquiring Eye

Gluey with pollen’s morning,
cataracts growing like fine mildew,
how long will you see?
How long will you be my seer?

Blue of my father’s eye,
will you see with his ninety-three years?
Will you see people but not know them?
Already your partner is partially blind.
Will you stay true to the end?

Still you show me the
eye line of the warbler,
eye ring of the kinglet.
Still you give me the link to
the brain’s recognition.

Shakespeare’s Cornwall cried,
Out, vile jelly!
but you are my fragile jelly,
my treasured pearl.

Anne Higgins teaches English at Mount Saint Mary’s University in Emmitsburg, Maryland. She is a member of the Daughters of Charity. She has had about 100 poems published, in a variety of small magazines. Garrison Keillor read her poems, “Open-Hearted” and “Cherry Tomatoes,” on The Writer’s Almanac on October 8, 2001 and August 8, 2010, respectively. Five full-length books and two chapbooks of her poetry have been published: At the Year’s Elbow, Mellen Poetry Press (2000); Scattered Showers in a Clear Sky, Plain View Press (2007); Pick It Up and Read, Finishing Line Press (2008); How the Hand Behaves, Finishing Line Press (2009); Digging for God, Wipf and Stock (2010); Vexed Questions, Aldrich Press (2013); and Reconnaissance, Texture Press (2014).


Pair with David Anthony Sam

(photo by Phil Shepherd)

A Matter of Gravity

The weight is borne in the bone,
suspending us above the hard
center which draws us down.

We walk by stepping forward
into our falling, catching
ourselves in time, stepping on

the roundness of a space
which curves us into itself,
desiring reunion in dust.

The equation may be calculated
in a mathematics of distance,
mass, and the absolute unseen.

We are worn like the wind
grinding time against stone,
sculpted towards dissolution.

It is a heavy matter to rise daily
against the pull, and in that
resistance, define ourselves.

David Anthony Sam has written poetry for over 40 years and has two collections, including Memories in Clay, Dreams of Wolves (2014). He lives in Virginia with his wife and life partner, Linda, and currently serves as president of Germanna Community College. In 2014-15, he had poems accepted by American Tanka, Artemis Journal, The Birds We Pile Loosely, Carbon Culture Review, The Crucible, FLARE: The Flager Review, From the Depths, Heron Tree, Hound, Literature Today, On the Rusk, Piedmont Virginian Magazine, The Scapegoat Review, The Summerset Review, and The Write Place at the Write Time.


Living at Hope’s Edge

Under an apple blossom sky,
the river flickers and flows—
catches droplets thrown up by
paddlewheel of passing steamboat,
its spray and foam a necklace of lotus
flowers floating on cerulean face.
Waves push past like our days
and we are marked by interior music
—an inexplicable riverness.

Then the Mississippi swells, upends
and chastens river life. Water overtops
green banks, tears tugs from moorings,
swamps roads, storm drains, basements
—churns sediment. What was hidden
in depths is now revealed: catfish,
water stargrass, old tires.

Relationships too break surface, roil
and bob like red buoys anchored
in swift current. Family, friends
toil against the surge: fill sand bags,
ferry neighbors, strangers in flotillas
of row boats and canoes. Muscles strain
as raw hands pull hard on heavy oars,
chop dark waves, shiver against high tide.

As the river recedes, signs abound—
Dank moss. The brown coverlet
of marbled mud. A torn polybag
on twisted tree limb. A pink tricycle
encased in sludge. The high-water mark
on clapboard house off its foundation,
tilting oddly, like us, out of kilter.

At hope’s edge, the spaces between us
open and close in concert with the rhythm
of the river. Like a monarch butterfly
fanning her wings. Like deep breathing.

Nancy Ann Schaefer is a recovering academic living in Maine with her husband, dog and three cats. Her poems have appeared in a number of anthologies and journals, including Off Channel, Numinous, Avocet, Tipton Poetry Journal, In Other Words: Mérida, Lake City Lights, Distilled Lives, and The Rockford Review, among others. A Pushcart Prize nominee, her first chapbook, In Search of Lode, was published by 918studio. She is currently working on her second collection.


North Country Spring

Cool spring showers
banish remains of lingering snow –
fresh winds ruffle open water,
wrinkle the pond.
Winter’s rusty-nail-red leftovers
contrast with newly-grown green.

The distress of the world vanishes,
whistled away in the breeze,
excised from immediate recollection,
masked by returning miracles,

buried in velvet time.

Patricia Williams, professor emerita, University of Wisconsin – Stevens Point, taught art and design for 35 years. Art, design, poetry and creative prose, she feels, are natural partners, their work being the creative examination of life and living. Her poetry is published or forthcoming in online and print journals and anthologies in the U.S. and U.K. including: Camel Saloon, Lake City Lights, Poetry Quarterly, Stoneboat, Inquisitive Eater (The New School), Fox Cry, Red Booth, Third Wednesday, Negative Capability Press Georgia Anthology, Midwest Prairie Review, among others, and was nominated for a 2014 Best of the Net Award. She belongs to the Wisconsin Fellowship of Poets.



In the fading evening light
my eyes return again and again
to the sugar maple crowning
the woods outside our hotel window
glorious October mix of color
glossy against limbs rain-blackened

and he comes to mind again
the scruffy gray man
along this morning’s drizzly road
his sign clearly printed
Have you thanked God for this day?
his hand waving, blowing kisses
to faceless windshields, only wipers waving back
and again I say
yes, yes I have
yes I do
thank you

Sarah Gilbert’s chapbook of poems, from her several cancers, Tendril: Living With Lynch Syndrome, was released by Finishing Line Press in February 2015. She serves as a regional VP for the Wisconsin Fellowship of Poets, and coordinates monthly poetry readings at a cafe in Appleton, WI, where she lives with her family. Her work has appeared in Fox Cry Review, The Wisconsin Poets Calendar, The Healing Muse, Your Daily Poem, and A Year of Being Here. She can often be found volunteering out in the community, at her loom, in her garden, or trapped under cats on the couch.


Pair with Emily Harel

(photo by Phil Shepherd)


you place the wet frog in my hand. water drips
off his body, pools in my palm. with a croak,
his white throat a balloon.
a thin rain falls.  thousands of shooting stars.
in the darkness, we stand
face to face, quiet as trees.
we stare at each other, at the silver rain running
down our bodies, at the tiny pale moons cupped in our hands.

Emily Harel is a mother, wife, and poet, who specializes in nature-themed poetry.  In her spare time, she loves hiking, swimming, camping, and biking throughout Rhode Island’s varied and beautiful habitats, from which she gleans most of her writing ideas.


Great Lake Lullaby

his fox tail shadow
blurs into breathe green woods
spider webs tickle the air
absorb the sound
of his bark
alewives glitter the beach
and the Lake
pushes and pulls
pushes and pulls

I will close my eyes
listen deep
hear divine heart beat
in everything

lullaby and good night

Maryann Hurtt lives down the road from the Ice Age Trail near Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin.  She retired a year ago, after thirty years working as a hospice nurse, and is savoring the next chapter of her life.  She and her husband were sturgeon guards on the Wolf River this spring and watched hundreds of sturgeon in their spring spawning run.  She ice fishes in below 0 weather (usually catch and release with an occasional fish dinner – now if she could just learn to clean the fish, she would feel better about eating them.)  Published in several regional journals, including Verse Wisconsin, Stoneboat, Fox Cry Review, Wisconsin People & Ideas, and a few anthologies, she has received scholarships to study poetry at Charles University in Prague, Fishtrap, and Orion-Breadloaf.  She will be reading from her manuscript about a toxic Superfund site in Oklahoma at the Tar Creek Environmental Conference this fall.


Four Nuns

They sat together at the table,
strangers united in their later years,
four lives that vibrated as a chord
in four keys, sharp and flat.

One played the notes as they were written.
One wrote her tune with dissonance
that modulated to a hum.
One improvised her phrases on the wind
that blended voices in a melody.
One stumbled on the strings until
her fingers plucked some notes that sang.

The harmony, original,
rode on the wind, sweet strumming
a new serenade to the world.
Even as the strings of a lute are alone…
they quiver with the same music.
–Khalil Ghibran, The Prophet

Julia Rice admired the biography of Louis V Clark III, spoken at a conference of the Wisconsin Fellowship of Poets.  He interspersed his story with his poems.  She thinks that might work for her. Julia’s poems have appeared in WFOP Museletters and 2014 and 2015 Calendars, Songs of St. Francis, Echolocations: Poets Map Madison, Goose River Anthology 2013, Alive Now, Soundings Review, Stoneboat, The Ariel Anthology, and on the Internet in Wilda Morris’ Poetry Challenge. It might even be more interesting than the computer newsletter she edits: WAUCtalk.  Julia is a Franciscan Sister.


Passage Rites

There was a shiny brightness to your face,
reflected in faceted fire on your finger,
when you suddenly appeared at my desk to say,
“Come in the living room, Mom.”
When had you arrived?
I hadn’t heard a cry, a whimper.
I thought you were content, dreaming
in sleep with your pink binky and Puff Puff.
When had you grown up so much?
When had you learned to walk and talk
about life and love and marriage,
to be so electric, so bold and strong
and sure of your future?
Your past was hardly minutes behind me
and you, so confident, in your love
for another
wanting to share, to show and tell,
you were beaming.
I remember beaming.
It was when you pulled yourself up
to gain the swing
to fly free
in our backyard.

Marilyn Zelke-Windau is a Wisconsin poet and a former elementary school art teacher. She enjoys painting with words. Her poems have appeared in many printed and online venues including Verse Wisconsin, Stoneboat, Fox Cry Review, Your Daily Poem, Midwest Prairie Review, and several anthologies. Her chapbook, Adventures in Paradise (Finishing Line Press), and a full length manuscript, Momentary Ordinary (Pebblebrook Press), were both published in 2014.


On your birthday
we drank lemonade and iced tea
reaching out to each other
in words not yet on the page
You read May Sarton
whose words shape the reality of aging
into poetry
and I added the voice of Kathleen Norris
poems of her foremothers
releasing memories of our own
From a hidden nest,
a lone robin foretold the sunset
while our words held on to the light

After living for 40 years on the edge of the Kettle Moraine, home is now an apartment two blocks from Lake Michigan, for Katy Phillips.  Reflecting on that move . . . and living it . . . is a major source of energy for Katy, as she approaches her 80th year. Writing poetry is her way of staying in touch with the world: what is within and what is outside her window.  For Katy, poetry is prayer and song and story, connecting the present with the past and making her whole.


The Prevalence of White

How can I find myself
buried so deep
in this flesh

before and after
doesn’t matter
when there is no time

you’d think an hourglass
would be too small
but much of me
has squeezed through by now

the ghosts I see
are all of me
come here before
a white body
a white bed
a silver moon
like a child
I hold on to color despite
the prevalence of white

my eyes have no tongue
but they have a voice
each morning I reopen
a flower drawn
to the light

even now
somewhere in these woods
is the laughter
I left last spring.

Bauke Kamstra has been a visual artist for much of his life. He now paints his life and the beauty around him with a different medium: words. He resides in Nova Scotia, where each morning he can be found writing poetry among the trees, listening to the wisdom of silence. His poetry has appeared in Three Line Poetry, Poetry Nook, Vine Leaves Literary Journal, Shot Glass Journal, and Hedgerow Journal. His book, We All Reach the Earth by Falling, published by Vine Leaves Press (2014) is available in paperback and e-book. You can find additional information about Bauke at


Pair with Linda Aschbrenner

(photo by Phil Shepherd)

First Time in Heaven

I’ve never been to heaven before, but it’s just like
I thought it would be—all my books are here
on the same shelves as at home—eternity to read.
How did I guess heaven would be this tranquil perfection?

Once a week I have to take a turn doing dishes
in the cafeteria in this division, the north quadrant,
but it’s not as if I’ve never done dishes before.
And once a month, it’s laundry duty: wings, gowns,
that type of thing. Then, every Saturday at five,
required exercise class because our flying skills could atrophy
if we are too sedentary. December, of course, is set aside
exclusively for Earth duty. We each have to perform
ten miracles a day.  I’m not sure how this works,
but we’ll get instructions.

The siren!—one short, two long tuba blasts.
That means meditation time. Or is that the call
for watching for space debris? Jamming the guns
of the deranged on Earth? Now: allegro bagpipes!
We are to help lost children find their way home.
No, that’s the stalled airplane alert. Three high-pitched
piccolos! They come so fast, these alerts. At least
I’m quite sure the piccolo trio means the dispersing
of hurricanes and/or tornadoes. Where’s my manual?

Linda Aschbrenner (Marshfield, WI) edited and published the poetry journal Free Verse (1998-2008) and founded Marsh River Editions in 2001, publishing 17 chapbooks for fellow poets. She is presently working on a family memoir in poetry and prose with her sisters. She enjoys reading, writing, and photography.



Time has spun
a golden autumn,
and the trees shake
their diaphanous canopies,
dripping coins
to the ground,
while the shade beneath
is astrally strewn
with jagged patches
of light and leaf –
a random harlequin
upon the earth;
The nymph Echo,
as sliver-silver mist,
escapes across
the valley
in muted tints
of bronze, old gold
and evanescent russet;
And my life
has also spun
to autumn  –
diaphanously –
veiled memories
coming and going:
and look!
I can see
through you

Erina Booker has written poetry for most of her life. She completed a Major in Literature within her Bachelor of Arts degree from Griffith University, Queensland, Australia. While living at Cornell University, Ithaca, NY, she studied and wrote poetry. Her first publications were in The Ithaca Grapevine. She has published six books of poetry, and is currently working on her seventh. As a counselor, and teacher, Erina uses the power of words for healing.


the egret rises
a soft white feathered prayer
of grace – ascending


a slight blue s-curve
heron catches light

Judy Wucherer’s work has appeared in Verse Wisconsin, Echoes Poetry Journal, the Pewaukee Area Arts Council project, One Vision: A Fusion of Art and Poetry, The Avocet (print and online), and the WFOP Museletters and Calendars. A life-long resident of Wisconsin, she enjoys reading and sometimes writing…poetry.



it’s a merry-go-round
listen carefully
then look
get closer
wait until you’re spellbound
we should place merry-go-rounds
along roads
along mysteries
for youth voices
may speak wisdom
better than skies.

Daniel Birnbaum, 62, M.D., lives in Provence, France. He has published poems and short novels in several French reviews and five books.


Pair with Florence Weinberger

(photo by David Kessler)

Three Miles on Gracie Ditch, Nevada County

To whatever power banged sun into being,
pinned oak, pine, sycamore, big leaf maple
to the black unsettled earth, I give thanks

for the walk on Gracie Ditch Trail this morning.
For rocks and roots that declined to trip me,
for cooling shadows.  We dodged the joggers,

the dogs, the bikes, shmoozed between breath
and silence, your cousins, the town where
you live now white charm through the trees.

When conversation lagged, the birds kept it up,
tailing after us with their scolding and nattering,
so we laughed as if we knew

and I was grateful, too, for the light that drizzled
like manna through speckled leaves, banked dirt
that subdued the meandering ditch,

how its waters sang as they zig-zagged,
nimble as your hands that gripped
my elbows, guided my unstable steps,

eased me around the rusty gate, its trusty
cadence mostly unnoticed until you got me
back intact to my daughter’s house,

still humming its stumble and consequence.

Twice nominated for a Pushcart, Florence Weinberger has four published books of poetry, most recently, Sacred Graffiti. Poems have appeared in Rattle, River Styx, Another Chicago Magazine, Comstock Review, Nimrod, Passager, Cider Press Review, Poetry East, and numerous anthologies.  Florence served as a judge for the 2012 PEN Center USA Literary Contest.



Dreams disperse
like prayer flags
faded by sun
unravelled by wind.

Morning gusts
blow bright fancy
into thin-threaded echo

as colored strands
ascend to become
woven into waking.

Melissa Fu grew up in northern New Mexico and currently lives in a village near Cambridge, England. She is working on a collection of memoir-style pieces based on growing up in the Rocky Mountains, two of which have been selected as competition winners, appearing in Words and Women: Two, (Unthank Books, 2014) and Original Writing Summer Short Story Anthology (Original Writing, 2015). With backgrounds in both physics and English, she has enjoyed a career in education, ranging from classroom teaching, to university-level lecturing, to curriculum development and consultancy. In 2014, she started leading and facilitating Writing Circles, small writing groups in Cambridgeshire, designed to create community and cultivate writers’ voices.



An annoyance
of grackles long-leg the lawn,
stop-overs on the way
from here to winter’s elsewhere,
a stark white one tagging along,
lagging at the edge of grackle rejection.
She can’t see much,
maybe not at all,
too red-eyed, brittle-winged
for flying what will soon be too far.
Good morning, I say,
to me you’re beautiful—
like an ivory flute among kazoos,
a balm among the rusty saws.

There have been other stop-overs here,
some critter in the weed-seeds and trees,
its timely appearance when I needed help
tearing out the kudzu invading my brain.
Wild things are numinous, I think,
and bear oracular signs,
some thing I can sense
in a tail-twitch, a keen blink—
I have the eye to see
this one’s no gloom of doom,
more a courier of rare approval
I am what I am
vintage fruit gone by,
an unsalable annoyance
in a culture that idolizes what’s spiking on the vine.
Do we want to be anything but ourselves—
a rare bird picked clean of sheen?

Pamela Ahlen is currently program coordinator for Bookstock (Woodstock, Vermont), one of three Vermont literary festivals.  She organizes literary readings for Osher (Lifelong Education at Dartmouth).  Pam received an MFA in creative writing from Vermont College of Fine Arts.  Her poems have most recently appeared in About Place (Black Earth Institute), Bohemia, The Sow’s Ear, and The Comstock Review.  She is the author of the chapbook, Gather Every Little Thing (Finishing Line Press).


My Body Is a Slowing Clock…

My body is a slowing clock,
My molecules tick to sleep.
God is my watchmaker;
In his pocket I wish to keep.

The day winds to a close,
The night springs awake.
Time, a river, empties
Into an eternal lake.

Gonzalinho da Costa is the pen name of Joseph I. B. Gonzales, Ph.D. He teaches Methods of Research in Management, and Managerial Statistics at the Ateneo Graduate School of Business, Makati City, Philippines. He is a management research and communication consultant, and Managing Director of Technikos Consulting, Inc. A lover of world literature, he has completed three humanities degrees and writes poetry as a hobby.


Pair with Marcia J Pradzinski

(photo by Sharon Auberle)

Cairns in Ellison Bay, Wisconsin

faces reach up
in sun
at dusk they nudge
that reside here
to begin
their silent steps
through trees
where loons choir
leaves mimic
pines anoint the air
and insects
to elevate rock –
piles to cathedral status.

Marcia J Pradzinski is a poet who lives in Skokie, Illinois. Her poetry has won awards in Highland Park’s Poetry Challenge, the Jo-Anne Hirshfield Memorial Contest, and in the Journal of Modern Poetry. She has been published in After HoursRHINO 2008, Avocet, Poetic License, Journal of Modern Poetry, Blue Hour Magazine, Exact Change Press, Mom Egg Review, The Poetry Storehouse, RHINO 2015, in anthologies and online blogs. Her first chapbook of poems, Left Behind, was recently published by Finishing Line Press (2015).  Ever since childhood, the sounds and images of words have intrigued her.


Arctic Journey

She said those mountains dreamed you
When you woke into pain and all doors
To living seemed shut.

They held you like a window frame
Where only looking was possible.
At the foot of the mountains

Large plains where caribou roamed
Thousands of them – dotted like tiny tents –
Busy on building strength just as yours had waned

Only the mountain ice seemed to flicker in smile
As if it already knew that the low clouds curling down,
Sounds of caribou, their snorts and swirls of breath,

Hooves drumming the earth, the bones of them,
Freckled chatter of the river nearby, cry of the sky
Rumbling with intent, all these would channel you back

To health, that in the looking came the listening,
The opening of eye into self beyond self;
There too the beginning of new in old life.

Writing is healing, a way to connect with soul and the Otherworldly presence, for Keith MacNider. Keith has a PhD in History and lives by the sea in South Australia. He has poems published in Transnational Literature, Mascara Literary Review, and Friendly Street Poets (SA).


Pair with Cathryn Essinger

(photo by Phil Shepherd)

What He Saw…

She holds the moon between two fingers
like a pearl, and then places it in the sky
between the church steeple
and the distant river,

and if she tips her head for
just a moment, rests her chin
in her cupped hands, she might
become Art Deco,

a billboard perhaps by Mukta,
but she stands, picks up the check
and moves to the door just as
the moon clears the steeple.

It continues to rise after she is gone,
papery and thin, finding other landscapes
to imitate, all the while making
it clear that it is what it is,

and nothing more, no more a part
of art than the girl who created
the moment.  Still, he thinks
about a watercolor by Monet

and then a Van Gogh arbor painted
“by moonlight.”  But it is not
until he pushes his books away,
spreads his hands on the table

that the moon, that sweet conspirator,
bends over the table and he sees
the smooth china of her face,
reflected in his empty cup.

Cathryn Essinger is the author of three books of poetry: A Desk in the Elephant House, (Texas Tech University Press), My Dog Does Not Read Plato, and What I Know About Innocence, (Main Street Rag). Her poems have appeared most recently in The Southern Review, The Antioch Review, and The Alaska Quarterly, among others.


Father led the family up the hill
To Thien Mu Pagoda, unofficial symbol
Of the city of Hue, a temple of seven stories.
The New Moon reflected in the Perfume River
And water buffalo munched the grasses.
A pine scent enwrapped
Mai Ly as she followed father. Phong sung
(Ca Dao) a folk song about a bronze bell
And a boat.

Three Buddha statues –
Past, present, future lives.
Uncle Bao and Aunt Tien bowed by a bronze
Gong, offered gifts of chicken, meat-roll,
And ghost money. Incense smoke whirled
Upward with chanted prayers
To bring wealth, health, and

Away from their family, the
Fortune-teller oracled Phong’s short
Life-line, held his cold hands.
Visioned Phong carrying a cracked,
Clay boat on his back. Mai Ly plucked
A pink bud sprouting near the temple,
Sign of immortal life, burned Mai Ly’s
Fingers as Phong’s third
Soul rose.

Cindy Rinne creates art and writes in San Bernardino, CA. She is the author of spider with wings (Jamii Publishing). Quiet Lantern is forthcoming (Turning Point), and she co-authored Speaking Through Sediment with Michael Cooper (ELJ Publications). Her poem, “Mapping,” was nominated for the Liakoura Award by Pirene’s Fountain. She is a translator. Cindy is a founding member of PoetrIE, an Inland Empire based literary community. Cindy is an Editor for Tin Cannon by PoetrIE and for the Sand Canyon Review, Crafton Hills College (CA). Her poetry appeared or is forthcoming in The Honest Ulsterman (Ireland), Spectrum: An Anthology of Southern California Poets, Snapdragon: A Journal of Art & Healing, Naugatuck River Review, Zoomoozophone, Indiana Voice Journal, Muddy River Poetry Review, Eternal Haunted Summer, Cactus Heart Press, and others.


Many Waters

Welcome the rivulet
bursting from moss,
vague syllables of fog
between blue spruce,
a freshet
sprung from the over-spilling creek
and hail’s fierce percussion
on your roof;
rejoice in a canticle of rain,
murmuring doves warm-nested
under eaves,
welcome the ice floe
broken – floating still –
cataract thunder
and morning drizzle,
gather them in dream music,
in drumbeats,
in downpours,
in dove wings.

Cindy Bousquet Harris is a poet and a licensed marriage and family therapist.
Her poetry has appeared online and in print journals, including The San Diego
Poetry Annual, Spectrum Magazine (U.C. Santa Barbara), Indiana Voice Journal,
and Snapdragon: A Journal of Art and Healing. Cindy has had the pleasure of
reading at the Claremont Library and at Beyond Baroque Literary Arts Center
in Venice, California. Born and raised in the Midwest, she now lives in southern California with her husband and their children. You can contact her at:


Paired with Donna H DiCello

(photo by Keith MacNider)

Standing on a Beach in Vik

Her face, angled against a chill that travels
down each bone, maps the history of roads

well taken, or not; a compass for ancient
and ashy ground swelling beneath her,

a ground crying with holiness,
each smooth stone a marker

of something arcane and pure, as under
her feet they root her to the cleansing of fire,

the translucence of ice; she feels the stories
make their way, turning each bone

in clockwise rhythm, the landscape of her face
turning to the sea, as each frigid wave of brine

calls up a mist that rests on her cheek,
and bearing witness, changes her.

Donna H DiCello is a clinical psychologist whose first loves have always been the mind and the shape, sound, and meaning of words. She has had poems published with Blue Heron Review, Kind of a Hurricane Press, The MOON Magazine, Greensilk Journal, and Minerva Rising Literary Journal. Along with her co-author, Lorraine Mangione, she has a recent non-fiction release with Impact Publishers, Inc., titled Daughters, Dads, and the Path through Grief: Tales from Italian America. She is currently working on a series of poems about Iceland. Donna lives in CT with her spouse and their spirited Norfolk Terrier, and travels to Cape Cod as often as she can for inspiration.


Robert Lee Haycock BH5 winter2016 sundown contra loma

(photo by Robert Lee Haycock)


SHARON AUBERLE (Cover artist and contributing artist for BHR Winter 2016) ~ is the author of three poetry collections – two of which also contain her photographs and artwork.  She has also collaborated with poet Ralph Murre, in a collection titled Wind Where Music Was.   She has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize, a Best of the Net award, and her work has appeared in numerous publications and anthologies, both on-line and paper copy.   For reasons, which are still a mystery to her, she has authored a blog – Mimi’s Golightly Café for nine years, which contains a potpourri of her images and words.

PHIL SHEPHERD (Featured photographer for BHR Winter 2016) ~ is a portrait and music photographer residing in Ocean County, NJ. Being a musician himself, Phil has always had an interest in the arts and is drawn to all creative expression. He became serious towards photography, when his now sixteen-year-old daughter was accepted onto her dance school’s competition team at the age of ten. In watching her dance, he noticed the strength, elegance and beauty dancers possess and decided to start documenting the school’s events. He was hooked and quickly became deeply involved in the artistic and technical side of photography. Residing at the Jersey Shore, he was also quite take by nature and the beauty of our planet. Many of his land and seascapes have found homes in numerous residences in the area. Phil frequently combines his love of portraiture with environmental images that create worldly combinations.

RICHARD HAVENGA ~ seeks to make the ordinary extraordinary through close, personal observations of nature. Weaving words of grace and gratitude through the tapestry of his exquisite photographs, Richard shares everyday miracles with the rigorous curiosity of a naturalist, and the immeasurable perceptions of an artist. Richard writes with a supple blend of awareness, spirituality, and discovery. Always attentive outdoors, always searching for new epiphanies of beauty, always grateful for the extravagant gifts of creation, he leads the reader/viewer along an inviting trail of words and images; gifts thoughtfully selected, and graciously given. Richard Havenga is a writer, nature photographer, poet, teacher, naturalist, and author of the blog, “Walk With Father Nature.” He’s been married to his loving wife, Mary, for 43 years, and they have two children: Sarah Havenga Partin, and Aaron Havenga. They live on ten wooded acres, on a designated “Natural Beauty” road near Cannonsburg, Michigan. Find out more about this author:

DANIEL ADAMS ~ is an accomplished artist and gallery owner, living in the beautiful Hill Country of Texas.  He has won hundreds of awards, including many Best of Show awards across the United States.  He was head of an art department for Walt Disney Productions.  He has drawn over two hundred thousand people.  Daniel has taught different art processes and techniques, juried art shows, and designed the Challenger license plate for the State of Florida.  Revenue from this design built the Astronaut’s Memorial at Cape Canaveral.  He also designed the Official Flag for Orange County, Florida.  He is a founding member of “The Open Arts Alliance.”  Winner of the “Idea of the Year” at Disney World, Daniel was also an Art Director for Metrovision Motion Picture Studios.  The winner of several poster design competitions, he also received the “Ambassador’s Award” from the Astronauts’ Memorial Foundation, their highest honor to bestow.  Learn more about this artist:

DAVID KESSLER ~ was born and raised in Brooklyn, NY. He was an average student who barely managed to graduate from high school. His first and only love has been in the creative arts. David received his first introduction to photography while serving overseas in Vietnam. After being honorably discharged from the US Army in 1971, he began a 35-year career at Eastman Kodak in Rochester, NY, where he followed his love for photography. The last 3 years of his career were devoted to Digital Imaging. David has devoted many hours to taking digital images and manipulating them into artwork, with the use of Adobe Photoshop and other imaging software. He has since used his skills to create book covers, artwork in various magazines, and websites.  Recently he collaborated on a self-published book of artwork and poetry with a poet friend from Australia.

KEITH MACNIDER ~ loves to be by water; it has so many expressions. He lives by the sea and was born near it. Keith has been involved in Druidry for many years, is an historian and a clairvoyant. Read more about this writer and artist at his blog:

ROBERT LEE HAYCOCK ~ grew up in California’s Santa Clara Valley, “The Valley of Heart’s Delight,” and now resides in Antioch, California, “The Gateway to the Delta.” Robert has been an art handler at the M H de Young Memorial Museum and the California Palace of the Legion of Honor in San Francisco since 1988.

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(Blue Heron Review holds first publication rights of poems. All original rights go back to individual authors/artists.)