Blue Heron Review Issue 7 Winter 2017

 

bhr7-winter-cover-titles-image

(Cover art by Ira Kennedy)

 

CONTRIBUTORS
Poets:
Ethel Mortenson Davis, Richard King Perkins II, Sarah Rehfeldt, Hedy Habra, Ann Wehrman, Sylvia Cavanaugh, Lorraine Caputo, L B Sedlacek, Jason Talbot, Keith MacNider, Lizzy Larson, Robert Ford, Sandra J Lindow, Timothy Walsh, Phyllis Beckman, Janet Reed, Eileen Mattmann, Sue Scavo, Steven Bucher, Martie Odell Ingebretsen, Irene Zimmerman, Mehtab Khalsa, Yvette Viets Flaten, Jacki Martindale, Beth Snyder, Richard Havenga, Fred Kreutz, Janet Leahy, Barbara J Holt, Marie Loeffler, Robert Lee Haycock, Julie A Dickson

Artists:
Ira Kennedy (Cover Artist), Leilani Carroll, Sarah Rehfeldt, Fiona Capuano, Anne C Kaiser, Karen A VandenBos, Teri Peterson, Jeannie E Roberts, Ann Leshy Wood Fuller, Lillian Havenga, Lorraine Caputo

gbheronfrozen-use-this-one-beginning-photo

(artist credit: Leilani Carroll)

 

ETHEL MORTENSON DAVIS

Laborer

He was dressed
like a laborer
in working clothes
and whistled tunes
that were classical symphonies.

I thought, how strange
he is dressed –
yet knows these tunes.
He should be dressed
In a beautiful coat like Joseph’s.

I went to the window
looking for him,
still hearing his whistling,
but then realized
I was waking from a dream;

like the Navajo holy woman
chanting under my window
that early morning.

I went to all the windows
to catch a glimpse of her,
but then realized
she was part of my dream.

Who are these people?

I think they are healers
that repair
the holes in the universe,
the tear,
the rift just outside
my window.

Ethel Mortenson Davis was born in Wisconsin where her parents were dairy farmers. Her years on the farm instilled a deep sense of the earth.  She studied fine art at the University of Wisconsin—Madison and has had two books of poetry published, I Sleep Between the Moons of New Mexico and White Ermine Across Her Shoulders.  Her poems have been published in magazines, anthologies, and small literary journals. Her pastels have been featured in a number of small galleries and publications. She currently lives in Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin. She also has a personal blog with her husband at www.fourwindowspress.com

RICHARD KING PERKINS II

Rogue Moon Spinning

Everywhere I may have been
seems most of eternity to me.

The afternoon we sat at the kitchen table
hardly listening to the real estate agent
seems longer than most;
those textured seconds when we stole secretive smiles,
lost in the reaches of mischiefs imagined.

Within the urgency of a slate crop of clouds
a thunderhead has broken;
darkness made whole once again,
pushing us forward with fierce acceleration.

The realtor kept asking what was so funny
but even given unbroken lifetimes,
we could scarcely guess such apparitions.

The early evening rain brought us
the integrity of love’s minstrel swarm,
the silence of ebony aged,
the honesty of damp and dirt.

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. Writing for six years, his work has appeared in more than a thousand 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 Hawai’i Review, Sugar House Review, Plainsongs, Free State Review, and Texas Review.

SARAH REHFELDT

near-water_rehfeldt-pair-with-january-poem

(artist credit: Sarah Rehfeldt)

January

The winter rains have ceased,
at least for now,
and rivulets of water
keep leading down the mountain.
I, too, go out –
this longer light,
the land
half in, half out of shadow –
to the low place,
where all the water runs together
with leaves of cedar, lichen, moss –
and sound –
the slightest rippling of language
breaking surface,
crossing one space for another.
I try the word “distance,” and it knows me –
that place in the forest winter belongs to.
Already it arrives here,
its presence always holding, taking
what is wind and rain-worn with it,
shaping, continually reshaping
what has ended, what begins again.

Sarah Rehfeldt lives with her family in western Washington where she is a writer, artist, and photographer.  Her poems have appeared in Appalachia; Weber – The Contemporary West; Presence: An International Journal of Spiritual Direction; and Kaleidoscope.  Her work has been nominated for a Pushcart prize in poetry.  Sarah is the author of, Somewhere South of Pegasus, a collection of image poems.  It can be purchased through her photography web pages at: www.pbase.com/candanceski

HEDY HABRA

The House of Happiness

I wanted to revisit the house of happiness
and found open doors and windows
a house where anyone can enter and I can’t step out

I tried to dive into the swelling well of memories
slide between yellowed images
sample once more the bittersweet taste of farewell

I used to walk by jasmine hedges redolent
of passers-by thread white buds
rolled around my wrists rippling over my chest

I wished to retrace forgotten steps steeped in oleander
but only see dried-up vines deserted
sidewalks where shadows sink in their own reflections

Hedy Habra has authored two poetry collections, Under Brushstrokes, finalist for the 2015 USA Best Book Award and for the International Poetry Book Award, and Tea in Heliopolis, winner of the 2014 USA Best Book Award and finalist for the International Poetry Book Award. Her story collection, Flying Carpets, won the Arab American National Book Award’s Honorable Mention. She is a recipient of the Nazim Hikmet Poetry Awards and she was a six-time nominee for a Pushcart and Best of the Net. Her work appears in Cimarron Review, Bitter Oleander, Blue Fifth Review, Cider Press Review, Drunken Boat, Gargoyle, Nimrod, Poet Lore, Verse Daily, World Literature Today, and elsewhere. Her website is hedyhabra.com

ANN WEHRMAN

Rhythm of Life

my body has ripened
like a rosy fig
powder soft peony
globe of petals
aging, I wane
yet pulse onward
dedicated, steady beat

no longer pizzicato
or clear timpani—
now a hide drum
stretched over wood
resonance deepens
standing gong

winter makes
its irrevocable claim—
hands, thighs, feet
call out in rhythm
your answer faint
from far away, broken

Ann Wehrman is a creative writer and musician living in Northern California.  She earned a bachelor’s degrees in English Education (2001, Humboldt State University) and Music (Flute) (2010, CSU, Sacramento) and a master’s degree in English/Creative Writing (2005, CSU, Sacramento).  Ann teaches English as associate online faculty for University of Phoenix and Ashford University.

Ann’s writing has appeared in print and online journals including: Tule Review, Sacramento News & Review, Medusa’s KitchenThe Ophidian, Rattlesnake Review, and Poetry Now.  Rattlesnake Press published Ann’s broadside, Notes from the Ivory Tower, in 2007 and her chapbook, Inside (love poems), in 2011.  Her writing also appears on HubPages.com at http://healingsword.hubpages.com  Contact Ann at annwehrman@hotmail.com

SYLVIA CAVANAUGH

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(artist credit: Fiona Capuano)

Road Taken

For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face
I Corinthians 13:12

The young shaman speaks to me
of inhabiting the spirit world
born this way,
she gallops the labyrinth
hopes to choose the right road
among many
guided by glints of jewel-shine
along a shadowed course
a destiny not of her own design
yet accepted freely

she stands before me
with gleaming hair framing
a steady gaze – so present now
and all the while I sense
some higher vibration
she sometimes touches my arm
returned from having travelled
so far

it’s my recognition she wants
and, oh, I do see it all
dimly… maybe
I wait here
on the other side of the screen door
whose closely woven wires

sizzle in their unraveling

Originally from Pennsylvania, Sylvia Cavanaugh has an M.S. in Urban Planning from the University of Wisconsin.  She currently teaches high school African and Asian cultural studies and advises break dancers and poets. A Pushcart Prize nominee, her poems have appeared in An Arial Anthology, Gyroscope Review, The Journal of Creative Geography, Midwest Prairie Review, Stoneboat Literary Journal, Verse-Wisconsin, and elsewhere.  She is a contributing editor for Verse-Virtual: An Online Community Journal of Poetry. Her chapbook, Staring Through My Eyes, was published by Finishing Line Press in 2016.

LORRAINE CAPUTO

Meditating Twilight

I sit & watch
the clouds pack
& travel
around the distant sierra.
The westward sun
blazes the sky.

I sit & feel
the spray of the wind-
whipped water.
My loose tresses
capture almond blossoms.

Leaves scuttle across the
pebble & shell beach,
willows & palms bend.

I sit & listen
to the measured wash
of the waves.
Arriving geckos chuckle.

I sit & hear
a Buenas tardes.
An ancient Keq’chi woman
stands near the door.
The trussed turkey
in her thin arms
fans his tail.

Our star gilds those clouds
& silhouettes the mountains periwinkle.
The lake becomes greyer
& suddenly
coppery-peach in the
last rays of this day.

I wander & find
in the growth beneath a tree
an orange-colored anonia fruit.
Its soft skin ruptures, revealing
mango-flavored flesh.

Twilight darkens.
The palms & willows &
almond trees disappear.
Venus emerges on the eastern heaven
& Mars to the South.
Silent lightening throbs.

The waves roll more even, more
frequent, crashing against
the weed-strewn rocks.
& the air becomes sultrier as
a storm approaches

Lorraine Caputo is a documentary poet, translator and travel writer. Her works appear in over 100 journals on five continents, such as Drumvoices Revue, ENcontrARTE (Venezuela), übergang (Germany), Open Road Review (India), Cordite Poetry Review (Australia) and Bakwa (Cameroon); 11 chapbooks of poetry – including Caribbean Nights (Red Bird Chapbooks, 2014) and her new collection Notes from the Patagonia (dancing girl press, 2017), five audio recordings and 17 anthologies. She also pens travel pieces, with stories appearing in the anthologies Drive: Women’s True Stories from the Open Road (Seal Press, 2002) and Far Flung and Foreign (Lowestoft Chronicle Press, 2012), and travel guidebooks. In March 2011, the Parliamentary Poet Laureate of Canada chose her verse as poem of the month. She has done over 200 literary readings, from Alaska to the Patagonia. For the past decade, Caputo has been journeying through Latin America, listening to the voices of the pueblos and Earth.

L B SEDLACEK

Telescope Confessions

The glass in its tubular home
Is twice as powerful
As the
Naked eye.

Reminiscent of paints on a palette bed
Like that of the Masters.
Michelangelo, Münch, Monet.

Relics of future artist aspirations.

Blank canvas.
A new paintbrush submerged in water.
Specks of color strewn about.
Portraits begging to be drawn.

L B Sedlacek has had poetry published in Mastodon Dentist, Pure Francis, Big Pulp, sidereality, The Broad River Review, Sea Stories, Illumen, Tales of the Talisman, The Foliate Oak, and others.  L.B. is the author of 11 chapbooks, the most recent being, Spy Techniques, and served as Poetry Editor for ESC! Magazine.

JASON TALBOT

pair-with-poem-by-jason-t

(artist credit: Anne C Kaiser)

Someday I will Walk Through that Deep Forest

Someday, I will walk through that deep forest,
The eagle my guide, the bear my brother.
And I will breathe silence,
And I will drink the long rippling thunder.
When it rains, I will be wet.
When it is cold, I will be cold.
The high woodland oaks will be my cathedral.
And the world will become real to me again,
And I will become real to the world.

Jason Talbot grew up in Wisconsin, and for a couple years, in the Netherlands.  He graduated from Milwaukee School of Engineering with a degree in Architectural Engineering and has worked in the mining equipment business since.  Family, nature, and music are continual passions in all seasons, whether sailing, hiking, planting trees, skiing, or playing the fiddle (poorly) at home.  Jason has enjoyed learning about, and seeing, many parts of the world and lives in Wisconsin with his wonderful wife and daughters.

KEITH MACNIDER

Connemara Greening

His prose, thickened from small shoot to trunk,
As if woven by the wind and tiny sprites that
Walked the path each night when the moon was dulling
And the sea answered his questions with that wish wash
Sound it murmured against the nearby shore. Perhaps
Each night his words became prayers as they slipped
Into the dark? Perhaps they were never meant to be
But became so, black and tipped with indefatigable
Light? I know when I read them I think of the rain
Sodden paths, the bogs that hold the light even on
The darkest days, stones that seem to chat and chant,
Mists that beard the mountains, swathes of ferns rippling
Like green freckled velvet, that something far older is
Present, an ancient pathway like a band of light around
Which words begin to coalesce, something you can’t see
But feel in your bones, a hum, a honing of sight.

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: www.placedreaming.com

LIZZY LARSON

Divorce

No matter that the walls of this house are crumbling,
and oozing with grief and loss and fear beyond compare…

I still rise

and kiss my little girl,
and do the laundry,
and make the meals,
and read the books,
and play the music,
and sing the songs

because she’s there, she’s there, she’s there

with her round-rimmed glasses,
and crème-colored cheeks that rise up, like dough,
when smile after smile stretches, like a boundless horizon,
across her kindergarten face.

We are there
in this crumbling house
and no matter how depressed, or devastated I feel,
when night after night,
rainstorm after rainstorm
blows into this crumbling house
and drowns me with rage and sadness
and a fear so raw that I gasp and choke
for the little air that is there…

I still rise

and kiss my little girl
and do the laundry,
and make the meals,
and read the books,
and play the music,
and sing the songs

because she’s there, she’s there, she’s there

with her tousled morning hair
and pink-colored cheeks that rise up, like dough,
when smile after smile shines, like the sun’s ray,
across her kindergarten face.

Kiss by kiss,
day by day,
we rebuild this crumbling house
with our love that was always there, always there, always there.

Love,
the great wiper of tears,
the healer,
the giver of hope,
a field filled with joy.

Lizzy Larson lives in Milwaukee, WI where she is happily engaged in the rare joy of watching her thirteen-year-old daughter, Lia, blossom up. When Lizzy isn’t working to pay the bills, she writes to feel alive, bikes for good health, and walks their dogs, Smooch and Niko, to commune with nature and people watch. Lizzy is an emerging writer in the sense that she has rarely attempted publication. However, like many writers, she has been writing since childhood. In her late forties, she decided to actively pursue writing, and landed a job writing a series of children’s stories for an off-beat annual report. Writing is something she must do, like breathing.

ROBERT FORD

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(artist credit: Karen A VandenBos)

January

Scraping back the steady,
now matted, accumulation of
leaf-fall from three darkening

months, and surfaced today
with a softly-glazed frosting,
reveals the yellow-green

points of galanthus, crocus,
narcissus, in a silent, cloaked
gathering of the faithful,

staking their futures on a
promised spring, still more
than a moon’s cycle away.

Robert Ford lives on the east coast of Scotland, and writes poetry, short stories and non-fiction. His poetry has appeared previously in Scrittura, Clear Poetry, Dream Catcher and Firewords. More of his work can be found at https://wezzlehead.wordpress.com/

SANDRA J LINDOW

Rain Dance

Sudden rain
leaves
circle-dance on edge
September odds
and ends

Under
cloud asana,
mist rises from lake,
the effortless postures
of water.

Each step,
a controlled
fall,
drumbeats
of focused
footsteps:

sumac changes;
cottonwood languishes,
maple leaves
shade toward
rapture,

launching
upward from the land
returning
to the burning
bush of the body.

Sandra J Lindow is semi-retired and lives on a hilltop in Menomonie, Wisconsin.  She teaches, writes, edits, and competes with wildlife for the sustenance of her gardens.  She has seven books of poetry and has been WC VP of the Wisconsin Fellowship of Poets since 1987.

TIMOTHY WALSH

Following the Sound of a Bell into Silence

It happens sometimes without my knowing it
as I walk through this thinness of air—
the song of sky a blue quench above,
the earth spinning beneath my feet—
when the sound of a distant bell catches my ear,
arresting my mind,
and I flow into that sound, become that sound,
so that when it dies away on the distance,
I die away, too.

I suppose you’d be astounded to see me
as I vanish in this way,
walking along one moment, then fading, growing
fainter and more diffuse,
until I’m transparent as air, invisible as sound.

It is not something I learned or cultivated,
just something I fell into,
so enrapturing is the sound of a bell
to a hungry ear.

You can do it, too, if you are graced with
a sounding bell,
flesh that quivers sympathetically,
if you can usher the vibrations into your mind’s sky,
channel the tone through the sound post of your neck
into the church of your skull,
so that the receding sound carries you with it,
beyond the brink.

It’s pleasant to drink in that bronze brightness,
that bell-clear brass,
then wander the far country a bell can bring you to
beyond this thin sliver of light and sound
by which our senses are schooled.

Now, as I walk, I listen for the metalled wind—
church bells, the bells of the carillon or clock tower,
even singing bowls or wind chimes will do.
It happens with them all,
the ghost of the tone lingering long after,
infusing each and every breath—
the timeless moment, the vision of splendor,
the beautiful death.

Timothy Walsh’s most recent poetry collections are When the World Was Rear-Wheel Drive: New Jersey Poems and The Book of Arabella. His awards include the Grand Prize in the Atlanta Review International Poetry Competition, the Kurt Vonnegut Fiction Prize from North American Review, and the Wisconsin Academy Fiction Prize. He is the author of a book of literary criticism, The Dark Matter of Words: Absence, Unknowing, and Emptiness in Literature (Southern Illinois University Press) and two other poetry collections, Wild Apples (Parallel Press) and Blue Lace Colander (Marsh River Editions). Find more at: http://timothyawalsh.com/

PHYLLIS BECKMAN

table grace

do you want an egg?
he calls from the kitchen,
carefully cracking
and scooping two soft boiled
eggs into my bowl.
I love you too,
I whisper,
sliding into place
at the breakfast table

Phyllis Beckman of Onalaska, Wisconsin is pleased to have had her poetry included in a few Wisconsin Fellowship of Poets’ calendars, Verse Wisconsin, Essential Inklings, Reflections from the Center, Coulee Region Women magazine and the Wisconsin Fellowship of Poets’ Museletter.  She has been included on Your Daily Poem and in the Ariel Anthology (2015).  Phyllis enjoys her family – her husband Dave, four children, nine grandchildren and one great grandchild. They travel frequently to visit them around the country.

JANET REED

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(artist credit: Anne C Kaiser)

Sock Widow Empathy

Empathy happens
when you do your laundry,
finally folding socks
bottom feeding in the basket
and discover your favorites

became widows
in the wash cycle,
and you mourn
their alien aloneness –
pairs without partners.

It happens
when you are waiting
in a long line of cars,
and a sound breaks through
the idling engines:

geese – a whole family
honking their goose joy
with such ardor you
forget about the old man
holding up the line.

Or, when you call
a road trip to escape
your routine and discover
no number of miles
scratches your itch.

That’s when you know
the ache to be part of
more than you and you
know why erasers need
pencils, why words are fire.

Janet Reed earned her master’s degree in English Literature from Pittsburg State University.  Currently, she teaches writing, literature, and theater at Crowder College in Missouri.  In her spare time, she allows the voices in her head to emerge; that these voices have found homes in several journals is a bonus she enjoys.

EILEEN MATTMANN

Winter Owl

Through the night air, round
throaty tones of a great horned owl
vibrate in my head like the notes
of a cathedral choir.

Crisp, cold stars sing their chill
alleluia, music that shatters and
twinkles through the brittle air.

The hoot, a long silence,
yet another, then stillness as he surveys
the night, lifts off in pursuit
of some owlish winter dream.

Eileen Mattmann’s poetry has appeared, or is forthcoming, in the Wisconsin Fellowship of Poets’ 2016 Calendar and the online journals, BoomerLitMag and Portage Magazine. She is a retired elementary school teacher and lives in Wisconsin.

SUE SCAVO

Slaughter Canyon Cave

Once, on a tour in cave deep in Colorado,
I sat with a group of strangers, our flashlights off.
In the absence of shadow, I did not imagine things
crawling on me, the dripping water did not
become flood, the rock walls, now unseen,
did not crowd in. I have worked hard
not to say this. How it was clear
when I moved the hand no longer visible,
my body was something unfathomable.
Or how the rock, the water, the blind crickets,
fossilized bat bones, all of us sitting there, fell
and were held at the same time. I have never felt so
uncontained. How, for those few seconds we did not speak,
we were not in Colorado, in the cold, in a cave.
We were not strangers.

Sue Scavo is a poet, writer, editor, and Archetypal Dream Practitioner/Teacher. She is a student of the dream and the poem, the unconscious and what wants to be made conscious, finding that the dream realm and the realm of poetry are the same for her. She received her BA in English Literature from the University of Cincinnati, studied English Literature at Middlebury’s Breadloaf School of English, Women’s Spirituality at California Institute for Integral Studies, and received her MFA in Poetry from New England College.

Sue is the Co-Founder/Co-Editor of Deluge Literary and Arts Journal and Co-Founder/Co-Owner of Students of the Dream. She has taught and facilitated Dreamwork retreats and Writing/Dreamwork retreats for over 12 years all over the US and Europe at such venues as Esalen, Kripalu, and Hollyhock. Her poems have been published in journals such as Poet Lore and anthologies such as What Have You Lost.

STEVEN BUCHER

Autumn Bonfire

Fall flame
Burns blush to ember

Winter bitten limbs
Drop to ash

Day’s west wind
Dies fast to frost

Star stretched night
Grows conscience clear

A darker night
Than cast to ground
Lies at my feet
His feline beacons
Blaze on glowing coals

Alike in hour
And twitching tail
We find fiery solitude
In tolling night

The new moon sinks
Late beneath the trees
As kindred thoughts convene
In quiet covenant

We stay a brief telling
At fire’s edge
Tenebrous
But for the bones we burn
At season’s end

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, Artemis Journal, NoVa Bards, California Quarterly, Smokey Blue Literary and Arts Magazine, deLuge Journal, and Calliope Magazine.

MARTIE ODELL INGEBRETSEN

pair-with-poem-by-martie-o

(artist credit: Teri Peterson)

Night Window

Your window is open to let in a part of night.
Perhaps a lamppost star drizzles a light-line there,
encased in a coat of gray in day, now making a halo
at each corner that whispers direction to the morning birds.

Or, a cricket rustles in the leaves a song to you
all drenched in sleep; behind your eyes
you hear it as a lullaby fenced into yard,
a nighttime friend keeping watch, for silence it will not let in.

You fold the moon within your lips,
blow out stars with every breath,
and in that deep sound of a dream
they dance around the window screen.

Your sheets are warm with length of leg
as hand grips air then opens flat on pillow;
grace is caught within the curve so sweet at rest,
I see it find a place of colored memory
where each finger trembles into touch of a secret place.

Within the curve of night, the tides turn,
and the waves break and keep time with a promise,
for in the night, just before first light,
you hear it tell you, with moon glow,
things you always wanted to know.

The night cannot explain to day
the way its canopy, like a treasure chest,
holds the key to secrets
that in the dark the heart begets.

Martie Odell Ingebretsen was born in Pasadena, California.  She fell in love with books at an early age and continues that love of reading.  She received her AA degree at Pasadena City College and attended the University of California at Berkeley, as well as several California State College campuses, where she majored in English Literature and Creative Writing.  She is a child-development specialist and has taught young children for over thirty years.  She and her husband owned a flower shop for twenty years, where she spent many holidays delivering flowers.  Her Novella, Sweet William, was published in 2013.  She has written a number of short stories, and over two thousand poems, currently.   She continues to write, and finds poetry to be a way to express her deepest feelings.  She is a keen observer and finds imagery in all things, and in so doing appreciates the beauty and learns from the wisdom that surrounds her.  Martie lives in the Sierra Nevada foothills.

IRENE ZIMMERMAN

Interconnections

In this interconnected universe
I am moving in a river,
immersed in living water,
a part of the ebb and flow.

I am moving in a river
running toward an infinite sea,
a part of the ebb and flow
in this space and time.

Running toward an infinite sea,
I give my life to the river’s life
in this space and time,
pouring in my thoughts and actions.

I give my life to the river’s life,
imprinting it with my cupped hands,
pouring in my thoughts and actions
running inevitably toward the sea.

Imprinting it with my cupped hands,
I am immersed in living water
flowing inevitably toward the sea
in this interconnected universe.

Irene Zimmerman is a retired high school teacher and Catholic sister from Greenfield, Wisconsin. She has published four books of poetry, the last two devoted entirely to scriptural events and characters. Especially during the Christmas, Lent, and Easter seasons, she collaborates with a pianist to give presentations of her scripture-related poems at churches, retirement homes, and other venues. Her poems have appeared in many periodicals and anthologies including Anglican Theological Review, Christianity and Literature, Cross Currents, Fox Cry Review, the annual Goose River Anthology, and the annual Wisconsin Poets’ Calendar. Her poems won awards from the Catholic Press Association, the Wisconsin Fellowship of Poets’ “Best Poet” contest, and several honorable mentions including the annual Wisconsin People and Ideas contest.

MEHTAB KHALSA

pair-with-poem-by-mehtab-k

(artist credit: Jeannie E Roberts)

Dear Mary Oliver

I have been in love more
than once myself. And found you
there today, among my lovers, the trees
with faerie fingers, the cathedrals
with doors in my heart, ceilings
in the sky, holding your
lover, the sun. And my lover
also, the moon, there. The people,
young ones and old too, like for you,
they are all mine. And you,
poetess of the heart, there too in love.
I want to dress in my finest
fresh pressed cotton shirt
just to gaze on your words. The sounds
from my lips, that is the sweetest.
With you now, reading – love, love, love –
I can only continue
to the next line, where you reveal
more, clouds and music. And for me
also, the breath and song. I imagine
this is how it continues.

Mehtab Khalsa is a poet, yogi, healer, and seeker of life’s depth living in northern New Mexico. His work is an offering to share the joy of that journey with all.

YVETTE VIETS FLATEN

Rose Morning

Like the roundel windows of cathedrals
the flesh pink light of new birth floods
my panes, splashes the flowing blood
of dawn across my living room walls.

Struck, I take my camera outside but
like those snaps I strove to frame on tour,
true light cannot be captured.  I try and
try, but am finally stilled, breathless
under the swell of this solitary birth.

Yvette Viets Flaten, Eau Claire, is active in Eau Claire’s local arts community, and her poetry has appeared in numerous journals.  She won the Wisconsin Fellowship of Poets’ Muse Prize in 2008 and 2013.  She won the Wisconsin Writers’ Association’s Jade Ring Prize in 2010 and again in 2015.  Yvette enjoys cookery and travel, and learning something new every day.

JACKI MARTINDALE

West of Rockford, Illinois, November 2015

Over there the angular shafts of towering grain elevators reach out
Depositing corn into corrugated cylinders
Gleaming even on this overcast day.
Smokestacks without factories
Billow out spirals of steam from drying bins.
All surrounded by harrowed acres like brown herringbone
Or stretches of soybean fields felted gray.
Windbreaks of pine trees line this highway
As we speed toward electric derricks,
Iron titans astride the fields
Hold power cables in their mighty glass fingers.

Then the huge blades of wind turbines
Circling in the gales of November:

How they open the lowering sky!

Jacki Martindale is currently the Wisconsin coordinator of Poetry Out Loud, a national recitation contest supported by the NEA. A former high school English teacher at Lodi, WI, she is now semi-retired, enjoying writing poetry, travel, art, drawing and painting. She is working on her first chapbook. A grandmother of two, she lives in Sun Prairie.

BETH SNYDER

pair-with-beth-s

(artist credit: Ann Leshy Wood Fuller)

Miss Dashwood

Somewhere in the tenor’s Agnus Dei,
I reached a sane unruffled air
above a blue smoke that had settled.

Grant us thy peace, he sang,
and sopranos joined in, with earnest,
black-robed at the chancel.

I wandered, to weeks gone by:
a Sunday. The beach had beckoned,
as did your kiss in the parking lot,
holding enthusiasm, seeking new touch and taste.

If sadness floated back
to me, if tendonitis checked athletic love,
if funds and family angst obscured
romance, wasn’t that life?

What would Elinor do? Miss Dashwood.
Heroine behaving so well,
tying the apron around her,
accepting the unwanted circumstance.

Grant us thy peace, he sang,
and sopranos joined in, with earnest,
black-robed at the chancel.

Applause and bows began. Choral notes
still traveled round the pews,
singing in forgiveness.

Beth Snyder holds a bachelor’s degree in liberal arts from Sarah Lawrence College (1978) and an MFA in Writing from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago (2001). In her professional life, she has worked in advertising production and print publishing and, for the last 15 years, as a senior editor/writer in development at Northwestern University. She has received a CAAP grant from the City of Chicago and completed writing residencies at the Ragdale Foundation. Member of The Writers in Glencoe and co-founder of THENEWSTUDIO, Beth lives in Evanston with her dog.

RICHARD HAVENGA

photo-by-lillian-havenga-pair-with-generosity-poem-copy

(artist credit: Lillian Havenga)

generosity
(In loving memory of Richard J Havenga and Peter Draugalis Sr)

The lake hides its generosity
beneath its reflection;
just like my father
whose generosity
was hidden
below the surface.

In the 1950’s
we’re sitting
in his plywood fishing boat.
I can still see my boyhood face
reflected in his lenses.
“Here, try my sunglasses,
you can see fish down there.”

Sure enough,
chunky bluegills
slowly fanning their fins
among the vertical weeds.
A Largemouth Bass,
suspended and motionless
above the drop-off;
predator eyes silently surveying
its watery kingdom.

My father,
with fisherman’s eyes
surveys the contents
of the tackle box.
“Here, try this lure,
it always worked
for your grandpa.”

Stretching his meaty, muscled hand
over the center seat of the boat,
he hands me the lure;
a wooden flatfish,
pale green,
made in the 40’s.

I reach back,
meeting him halfway,
stretching out my small fingers,
cautious of the treble hooks
dangling down.

Anticipation
blessing the space
between us.

Generosity
filling the hours,
rising to the surface.

With the curiosity of a naturalist, the keen eye of a nature photographer, the perceptions of an artist, and the creativity of a writer-poet, Richard Havenga marries experience with awareness, reflection with response. Richard wants his readers to be immersed in a fresh current of expression, caressed by sensory pleasure in nature. He delivers a subtle blend of inquiry and receptivity; illuminating his work with affectionate attention, prayers of praise, and a grateful heart. Find out more about this author and artist at his blog: http://walkwithfathernature.blogspot.com

FRED KREUTZ

Song to Grandchild

You are born to soar—
to vanquish gravity
to chase your tomorrows amid the clouds.

You are born to be a child of flight
to swim on zephyr waves
and share with winged cousins
the eye of the eagle
the sweep of the falcon
and the gaze of the owl.

You are destined to rise unbounded,
dance over mountain tops,
encircle the earth,
and draw ribbons between the stars.

You will nest in the tallest of trees
closer to the sun,
closer to the stars,
and closest to God.

Fred Kreutz has been in school for sixty-five years (on one side of the desk or the other). He has taught photography, language, and literature. His poems have been accepted by Farquier Poetry Journal, Little Brown Poetry, the Wisconsin Fellowship of Poets’ Calendar, and One Vision (A Fusion of Art & Poetry in Lake Country) 2009 and 2011. He likes poems that ask questions and invite readers to ponder ideas in a fresh way.

JANET LEAHY

The Soul Wants to Sing

When the soul lies down
under the night sky
with Jupiter rising
and Venus
in the cradle of a new moon

When the soul lies down
under the blaze of stars
with celestial cities in transit
and Venus rocking the cradle
of a new moon

When the soul looks up and listens
stories spill from the cradle
of the moon
stories of a people
walking out of bondage

When the soul listens
the stories spill, a people following
Polaris, walking north along
river banks, hoping dogs
would not catch their scent

When the soul lies down
under the map of the heavens,
and listens to the stories
of people walking through
the terrors of night

the soul wants to sing.

Janet Leahy is a member of the Wisconsin Fellowship of Poets and the Academy of American Poets. She has published two collections of poetry—The Storm Poems of War, Iraq and Not My Mother’s Classroom. Her poems have appeared in the Wisconsin Poets’ Calendars, Midwest Prairie Review, Wisconsin People and IdeasSoundings, Goose River Anthology, WingBeats II, Verse Wisconsin, and other print and online journals and anthologies. She works with critique groups in the Milwaukee area and participates in a poetry seminar at UW Waukesha. A highpoint for her was attending Billy Collins’ poetry workshop in Key West.  Janet lives in New Berlin, WI.

BARBARA J HOLT

pair-with-poem-by-barbara-holt

(artist credit: Anne C Kaiser)

Kiss Them Open

It amazes me
year after year
that blades of grass
and hibiscus buds,
violet plants
and bridal wreath,
chestnut trees
and lilac bushes –
they each,
all,
begin so small
with their entire world
wrapped up tightly
or curled up slightly
waiting
for warmth of sun
to kiss them open,
to nudge their faces
into the light of day,
this wonderful May
when lush greenery
spreads down hills,
along walkways,
across spacious lawns,
hopeful signs of spring.

Poems started writing their way into Barbara J Holt’s life in front of a fireplace in Green Bay, WI back in the 1970’s, and they have continued to come ever since, whether on a beach, 30,000 feet over land, in a Lascaux cave, a Salzburg garden, or at home by a pond in Milwaukee, WI.  Her poems have been published in There Is a Season, House Blessings, and Soundings: Door County in Poetry. Barbara’s poems have also appeared with artwork, or alone, in Wisconsin galleries.

MARIE LOEFFLER

img_9507-copy

(artist credit: Ann Leshy Wood Fuller)

Blue

At twilight on a winter night,
looking out a window at the sky.

Smooth glass bottles resting on shelves
at a cafe in the French Quarter.

A shop display of folded jeans
piled high and neat with crisp edges.

The ink in a clear well
that sits upon a mahogany desk.

Krishna’s skin against bright yellow silk
as he charms sacred cattle with his flute.

A vivid ocean beneath white-washed buildings
on a mountainside in the Greek isles.

Sun-warmed ripe berries
dotting the edges of a long hiking trail.

Ultramarine that defines the swirling black strokes
of finely painted arabesques.

A snow-covered field
beneath a full moon.

Bright cornflowers waving
fluorescent in endless prairie.

The cracked cerulean of Mary’s robe
in old paintings that hang upon museum walls.

The low glow of a television
at midnight in a darkened living room.

Narrow lines of notebook paper
covered in cursive.

Tessellations of inlaid tiles
in a Turkish mosque.

Rustic indigo toile etches
on thin bone china.

The glass smooth turquoise
of glacial ice.

A dusty hound napping on the flat
boards of a worn-out porch.

The sleepy eyes
of a strawberry-blonde toddler.

Marie Loeffler has published poems in Lilliput Review, Third Wednesday, Verse Wisconsin, the 2017 Wisconsin Fellowship of Poets’ Calendar, The Journal of a Musician, and Echoes Anthology. She has enjoyed reading and reviewing poetry for Prick of the Spindle, Flutter Press, Portage Magazine, and Verse Wisconsin. She has written freelance interviews, classical music reviews, and articles for Isthmus The Daily Page (Madison, WI). She has been a speaker and reader at the Southeast WI Festival of Books and the AllWriters’ Summer Free Night for All. She is a current member of the Wisconsin Fellowship of Poets and SCBWI. In her free time, aside from reading, writing, studying words and languages, cooking, gardening, playing in ensembles, and devouring serious news, she enjoys challenging her musical skills with difficult violin pieces. She loves sharing everything she learns with her violin and writing students.

ROBERT LEE HAYCOCK

Rusty
The neighbor’s bougainvillea weeps papery pink tears under my garage door.
Those pepper trees cast vermilion shadows.
My redbuds rattle their heart-shaped leaves in this new breeze.

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 de Young Museum and the Legion of Honor in San Francisco since 1988.

JULIE A DICKSON

Loving Hands

My walk to the marketplace in the village is long
on the path that runs alongside the dusty road.
Sometimes carts with tired oxen or horses roll by me,
steam rising from nostrils against the morning chill air,
wheels turning slowly, creaking in the deep ruts.
Horses’ heads are coaxed away from the weeded roadside;
I carry my basket, not even wishing for a ride atop
their carts with driver and cloth, nor do they offer.

I study the basket woven by my mother long ago
with its intricate pattern in deepest tones
of russet and burnt umber against pale hues
of washed reeds, softened and wound by
her loving hands in a design taught to her
by the great grandmother I never knew,
but heard of often when my mother and gram
sat cross-legged, skirts hiked up above knees.

While I watched and tried to study their technique;
instead my eyes were often drawn to their feet
encased in rough sandals, also crafted by their hands;
the leathery soles of their feet almost blending –
indistinguishable from the sandals; I stared,
until a sudden burst of laughter jolted me awake.
I looked down at my own basket, never chided by
my mother and gram, but feeling so inadequate.

As their experienced hands flew over their work;
mine rested or moved sluggishly, feeling the resistance
of the fibers, my fingers sore and cracked, in contrast
to their calloused hands, effortlessly bending reeds
into beautiful work that would bring money at the market.
Today, I look back in my mind while trudging slowly;
the tune I hum absent-mindedly entertains me on the path
to the market with my mother’s empty basket, ready to fill.

I no longer sit with my mother and gram; weaving days are
long since past. My mother sits wringing her arthritic hands –
the liniment barely helping these days; gram would have known
but some techniques and recipes were lost when she passed.
I sometimes smooth oil into mother’s fingers, her eyes closing peacefully
and I study her lined face, wondering if, beneath her closed lids
she is sitting with gram, weaving baskets and laughing.

Julie A Dickson is a NH Poet whose day job is in IT at a hospital. Her latest book, Untumbled Gem, was published by Goldfish Press, and she was the poetry editor for Prey Tell: Poems about Birds of Prey in 2015. She has written several young adult fiction books, including Bullied into Silence, published in 2014 by Piscataqua Press. Her poetry can be seen in Poetry Quarterly, Kind of a Hurricane Press, The Harvard Press, Five Willows Literary Review, The Avocet Nature Poetry Journal, and the Poet’s Touchstone.

 

lorraine-caputo-blue-heron-last-photo-issue-7-winter

(artist credit: Lorraine Caputo)

ARTIST BIOGRAPHIES

IRA KENNEDY (Cover Artist) – Born in a tent near San Saba, Ira Kennedy is a fifth-generation Texan of Cherokee-Irish descent.  His artistic career began in New York City, where he held two solo exhibitions and participated in the group show, “The Art of Money,” with Andy Warhol and other notable artists in New York’s Chelsea Gallery in 1969. His paintings are in private collections from Australia to South Korea, and New York to Texas and California.

As an award-winning artist, Ira’s art has appeared in Acrylic Works 2, Acrylic Arts Magazine, and Southwest Art Magazine. He is represented by River’s Edge Gallery in Kerrville, Texas & Echo Gallery in Johnson City, Texas. The artist currently lives in Llano, Texas. His work is also on view at his studio, by appointment only, or on-line at www.IraKennedy.com and https://www.facebook.com/ira.kennedy.1

LEILANI CARROLLLeilani Carroll has had an appreciation for all things “nature” for as long as she can remember, but birds of all species are her passion. Leilani is a retired RN who has adapted her photography around the limitations of living many years with young onset Parkinson’s Disease, which is now very advanced. Despite her disability, she thinks “outside the box” to find ways to capture many of her images. Always using the opportunity to give credit to our Creator for the beauty that can be found in everyday life.  Leilani lives in Birmingham, Alabama with her husband, Gary, with the good fortune to have a small lake in back and a neighborhood that adjoins a 10,000-acre State Park. She is delighted when any of her photos can spotlight “Alabama the beautiful” and the treasures it holds for those who look, listen, and linger.

SARAH REHFELDTSarah Rehfeldt lives with her family in western Washington where she is a writer, artist, and photographer.  Her poems have appeared in Appalachia; Weber – The Contemporary West; Presence: An International Journal of Spiritual Direction; and Kaleidoscope.  Her work has been nominated for a Pushcart prize in poetry.  Sarah is the author of, Somewhere South of Pegasus, a collection of image poems.  It can be purchased through her photography web pages at: www.pbase.com/candanceski

FIONA CAPUANO – was born in Istanbul and raised in New York City. Fiona has an MFA in Fiction Writing from The New School and a BA in Clinical Psychology, Art History, and Creative Writing from NYU. She loves photographing birds that fly to her windows. She has a genuine spiritual connection with Nature. Her Nature photos are on display in permanent collections in Village Hall and Ridgewood High School, and have been awarded by the Ridgewood Arts Council (2016). Fiona’s New York City architecture photographs are in print (It Happened in Manhattan, Penguin Putnam, 2001). She shares her latest photos on Facebook and Instagram. Fiona is also a surrealist painter. She sells paintings in New York art shows. Her paintings appeared as the set for a play about the effect of bipolar disorder on a family, Next to Normal (Porchlight Productions, June 2014). She teaches kids through art and poetry workshops. Fiona is a poet and gives poetry readings in New York. She lives in New Jersey with her husband, two kids, and a dog. Find her art and poetry at: www.fionacapuano.com

ANNE C KAISERAnne C Kaiser is a fine artist and writer residing in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. She enjoys journaling and writing memoir, poetry, and creative nonfiction. Her current projects include a collection of essays about being the mother of a child with special needs, as well as a haiku journal focused on nature. Nature also inspires much of her photography, line drawings, and paintings. She enjoys spending time with her family and exploring the natural world. Anne holds a BA in studio art and anthropology and an MA in English/Writing Concentration. Her poems have appeared in Blue Heron Review and Twisted Vine Literary Arts Journal. You may view her artwork online at http://cargocollective.com/AnneKaiser

KAREN A VANDENBOS – From the time she read her first story book as a young girl, to her high school years of being active in journalism and editor of the student Writing & Art magazine, Karen A VandenBos has always known she has the heart of a creative spirit. Being a seeker by nature, Karen’s curiosity led her to explore many interests.  Some let her follow her muse, like having a few of her poems published locally, while others steered her way off course.  In 2008, Karen completed a PhD in Holistic Health.  One of the courses was about Shamanism which influenced her to write her dissertation on the healing power of nature and the importance of finding one’s totem animal(s).  Just three years ago, photography connected Karen to her spiritual path.  While she has always dabbled in photography, this time taking photos has become her passion.  It is nature that speaks to her heart and Karen’s photographs showcase this connection.

TERI PETERSON – Portraiture and commercial photography are Teri Peterson’s main source of livelihood as owner of Perren Photography Studio in North Lake, Wisconsin. However, it is nature photography and the art of watercolor painting that she considers food for the soul. She finds capturing images of birds the most fascinating. Not only for their beauty but also about their biology; of how they strongly share physical attributes yet factually vary in species and behaviors. More of Teri Peterson’s artworks and photography may be viewed at www.perrenphotography.com

JEANNIE E ROBERTSJeannie E Roberts writes, draws and paints, and often photographs her natural surroundings. Her fourth book, Romp and Ceremony, a full-length poetry collection, is forthcoming from Finishing Line Press. She is the author of Beyond Bulrush, a full-length poetry collection (Lit Fest Press, 2015), Nature of it All, a poetry chapbook (Finishing Line Press, 2013), and the author and illustrator of Let’s Make Faces!, a children’s book (2009). Her work appears in online magazines, print journals, and anthologies. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in secondary education and a Master of Arts degree in arts and cultural management. Born in Minneapolis, Minnesota, she lives in Wisconsin’s Chippewa Valley area. Learn more about her at www.jrcreative.biz

ANN LESHY WOOD FULLERAnn Leshy Wood Fuller is a Lebanese-American poet who graduated from the University of Florida, doing her post-grad work in Creative Writing under the esteemed tutelages of William Logan and Debora Greger. She has work published in many literary magazines: The Yalobusha Review, The Calabash Review, The Georgia Review, the ACPA of St Augustine, Florida to mention some, as well as attending writing conferences where she reads and discusses her work, one favorite being, The Other Words at Flagler College. She is a member of the national CEA and the Florida College English Association, where she reads her work and discusses how landscape and place figures into her poetry. She took 2nd in the Colby Kullman Literary prize in poetry at the Southern Writers Southern Writing conference at Oxford, Mississippi for outstanding technical merit depicting southern genre for her poem, “The Last Resort.” Ann is also a member of a large, prestigious, musical chorale that performs world-wide singing in several languages. Her hobby is photographing abandoned ruins or the sea. She lives alone in a home she built in the woods of old Florida.

LILLIAN HAVENGALillian (Draugalis) Havenga isn’t a photographer by trade, but she has captured and made memories all of her life. Born in 1922, Lillian grew up in a Lithuanian neighborhood in NW Grand Rapids, and graduated from Union High School at age 16. After marrying Richard Havenga in 1946, this city girl came to live in the country, and adapted to life on the farm. Lillian served as bookkeeper for her husband’s meat business. She sewed clothes for her kids, and gave the gift of time to family and friends. They enjoyed many summers at the family cottage with their four children: Gloria, Richard, Shirley, and Marie. In their fifties and sixties, they explored Northern Michigan, camping in their travel trailer. In the 1950s Lillian liked to see her father, husband, and son hunting and fishing together. Now 94, she loves watching Lake Michigan, as the waves keep rolling on and on.

LORRAINE CAPUTOLorraine Caputo’s artwork is in private collections on five continents, in the Museo de Arte Contemporáneo (Chachapoyas, Peru), and has been exhibited in the U.S. and Ecuador and several publications, including Blue Fifth Review, Sea Stories, and Ofi Press (Mexico). Her poems and travel narratives appear in over 100 journals, eight chapbooks, and 17 anthologies in Canada, the US, Latin America, Europe, Africa, Asia, and Australia. She has done over 200 literary readings, from Alaska to Patagonia. Ms. Caputo continues journeying south of the Equator. You may view more of her work at Latin America Wanderer (https://www.facebook.com/lorrainecaputo.wanderer)

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