THE LION-LAMB BRIDGE

Every year on the 16th
Of the 3rd month
Just before noon
Two dear old friends meet,

A baton passing tag team
Without whose exchange
The long march from winter
Could not be complete.

The first to arrive
Wears a top hat and tails,
Holds a chair to keep big cats
Tuned like a clock

The next at all times
Will take wools over wolves
And is expert at how to
Keep tight-knit, a flock.

They are the Shepherd
And Lion Trainer
And March is the moment
Their paths come together,

To smoothly transition
Best as can be done
The fierce-cranky-cold
To the pleasant-warm-weather.

Standing halfway between
February and April
These two get the Lion
To shake with the Lamb,

And say these magic words,
“Hocus-pocus-snowkiss-crocus:
Now spring us from winter,
AbbraCalendar-zam!

Some years their spell
Has an instant effect
Others it works
As if on delay,

But quickly or not
On the journey toward summer
The Lion-Lamb Bridge
Is the only way.

And to navigate it
Needs the Shepherd and Trainer
The duo that meets
Every noon, March Sixteen.

How lucky we are
For their teamwork each year
Making the March
Wacky Weather Swap clean.

THE IRON HOG STREAK

East of Ohio
West of New York
Lived an old hog,
The “ground” kind, not the “pork”.

Yes, a groundhog he was
By the name of Phil
In the town of Punxsutawney
Living under a hill.

Known to all as “The Iron ‘Hog”
For his unbroken streak
Of predicting if winter
Would have six more weeks.

Well, one year just as
His big day drew near
Phil’s “Iron ‘Hog” streak
Was in danger, he feared.

That’s when Philippa Aliquippa
Elsewhere in PA
Heard her phone ring
The night before Groundhog Day.

“Hello there, Pippa?
It’s your old pal Phil
Here in Punxsutawney
And feeling quite ill!

I tried not to call
I tried to hold out
But it’s nearly tomorrow
And my health is in doubt.

Shadowed or not, a groundhog must be here
Shadowed or not, a groundhog must go!
To sort out the seasons,
So everyone knows!
Tradition … the streak …
To put on the show!”

Philippa Aliquippa
Detecting desperation
Said, “Phil, if you’re extending,
I accept the invitation!”

Then off to Punxsutawney
From Aliquippa, PA,
She set out for a surprise trip
On Groundhog Day,

And at old Gobbler’s Knob
Still dark before dawn
Pippa met Phil
On the calm, moonlit lawn.

In between sneezes
He talked through each step,
Then one at a time
Had Pippa review it
She listened and nodded
And played along well,
Keeping to herself
That there was nothing to it.

Then as the sun rose
And a buzz filled the town
Pip and Phil peered out
From below the ground.

“Any questions?” he asked,
“Any last minute stuff?”
“Yes, I’m really” Pip said
“Craving marshmallow fluff.”

She smiled then giggled then laughed,
Phil did not.
“No worries, Pux-pal.
This old i, I can dot.”

Then upward she climbed
And outward she went
And spotting no shadows
Away winter she sent.

A top hatted fella
Then held Pip aloft
There were cheers and snapshots,
In his den, Phil joy-coughed.

That was the year partnership
Saved old Pux Phil
When the Iron ‘Hog Streak
He could not solo fulfill.

Still the problem was solved
In time for Groundhog Day
The Philippa Aliquippa
Turned Punxsutawney Pippa way.

YOU CAN’T, LEAF!

You there, leaves,

Back on the trees!

You may NOT yet come down

And blanket the ground!

You must help us stall

The beginning of fall,

Because the end of summer

Would be such a bummer.

So up, up, you go

To those branches you know,

Back up in place,

This isn’t a race!

Then in one month feel free

To LEAP off the trees,

Right now I can’t take

The thought of a rake.

AUTUMNA NON GRATA - (Photo - PaC)

AUTUMNA NON GRATA – (Photo – PaC)

POETIC COMPASS

Peter’s senses observed
until his notebooks were full
the heat of July,
the blossoms of April,
October’s colored leaves,
December’s deep freezin’,
yes, Peter wrote stories
about every season.

And he loved all his lines,
from the first to the last,
till that fateful day
in Geography class,
the moment he learned
what happens to weather
when it travels down south
below the equator
where December gets steamy
and July has snowballs,
October pops buds
and April is Fall.

Peter worried his work
if published abroad
would make him seem like
an unworldly fraud.

But then his frown flipped as
he wrote these introductory words,
“If reading this in the southern hemisphere,
please do so upside down and backwards.”

Pete’s misfit climate was —
Like that! — a win.
‘And all it required,’ he thought,
‘Was one spin.’

WALKY TALK

4seasons_editcomp

TO SEE THIS WALKOPHONOUS POEM & COLLAGE AS PART OF THE #STELLER STORY IN WHICH THEY WERE ORIGINALLY POSTED, CLICK HERE. 

If my footsteps,

(Fall crunch: over leaves)

Were able to talk,

(Winter crisp: on snow)

The sound of their words,

(Spring slosh: through puddles)

Would depend when I walk.

(Summer scratch: sandy toes)

THE PERFECT FOIL

How I love fall foilage,
How its colors are grand,
How they make a painting
How it revamps the land.

How I love fall foilage,
How it lights up the trees,
How it falls into piles,
How they reach my knees.

How I love the foilage,
How it scatters like sprinkles,
How it’s earth toned confetti,
How when crushed, it crinkles.

Oh, how I love foilage,
If it had its own song
I’d know every word
And get none of them wrong.

foil_og copy

SCOOP

Dad says what we got’s magic snow,
That somehow made our driveway grow,
That somehow made him say words that
He swears he doesn’t really know.

Dad says that each new inch that falls
Lengthens the driveway by ten feet,
That if we left right now, perhaps,
Some time next year we’d reach the street.

Dad says the thing we need most now
Is a summer-style-sun,
To melt some of this magic snow
And make our driveway a walkable one.

Mom says that sounds great but while we wait
A pass with the shovel may be in order.
Dad hears and looks nervous before blurting out,
“But I can’t! Don’t you know? I’m a magic snow hoarder!”

scoop_drivewaypic_edit

WINTORY LAP

On the shortest day of the year
The sun takes an extra long lunch,
So long it doesn’t end until
Almost the next day’s brunch.

Head lights and night lights get lots of action
The day of the year that’s shortest.
While that day more than any other is for
golf clubs and lawn mowers the boredest.

It seems like it should be relaxing and yet
There’s always so much around you,
On the year’s shortest day, falling as it does,
Right about when the holidays do.

Still songs like “Oh, What a Night” or “Thank
the Lord for the Nighttime” spread cheer,
Of how happy folks get after early sunset
On the shortest day of the year.

shortest_edit

Among everything else it is, the shortest day of the year is half a calendar away from its cousin the longest day of the year.

FLOWER SHOWER

A flower shower

Turned the tree green

Turned the grass pinker

Than I ever seen:

Cotton-candy colored

It yesterday was

When into and out of it

All the bees buzzed.

Then the quick change.

Perhaps it was the breeze:

Petals went packing

To the lawn from the leaves.

Now the Pink Tree Photo

I had taken in my head

Resembles Sun-dodging

confetti instead.

WINDING DOWN WINTER: A Steller Story from Hamilton, NJ

The remarkable GROUNDS FOR SCULPTURE is like no place I’ve ever been.  Part museum, part botanical gardens, this indoor/outdoor art gallery contains the realistic and abstract, the sublime and ridiculous.  As remarkable as the space looked during my visit, I left thinking that I could probably enjoy entirely different experiences of it in the spring, summer, or fall ; in the early morning or by the light of the scattered lampposts and landscape lights.  So large and diverse is the installation, that every trip there seems as though it would offer something unique.

On the afternoon I spent at this world class exhibition — tucked into a quiet, central New Jersey town between Trenton and Princeton — the plants on the snow covered landscape were still shivering, but doing so with their leaves turned optimistically toward the sun.  The scenes produced by the intersection of the natural and man-made artwork on that Eve of Spring inspired my latest STELLER STORY, readable by clicking on the photo below.

Click the photo above to view scenes from the Grounds for Sculpture.