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.

LEAPS and GROUNDS

The tulips are up.
Why? What do they know?
That the Groundhog was right?
That we’re done with snow?!?

It’s still February,
They’re shaking my nerves.
It’s been warm this week
But March weather curves!

Suppose they keep rising
Up out of the yard
And one night a frost
Descends on them hard.

The head start each bulb
Will have by then got
Could in one cold flash
Become all for not.

Which leaves me to wonder ….
About flower brains,
And the speed and direction of
Flower thought trains….

Are my tulips digging
Toward their own demise?
Or are they well informed
As they reach for the skies?

I’ve watched and I’ve listened,
My ear to the ground,
But so far there’s been
Not from them one sound.

Loose lips may sink ships
But these tulips don’t speak,
Except by the rise
Of their eager green beaks,
Out of the dirt
Propelled maybe by knowing:
This year’s nearer to flowers
Than it is to snowing.

 

SEA-SONA-NON-GRATA

Be gone Old Man Winter,
You’ve had your prance.
I’ve already put away
all my corduroy pants.

April is half gone now,
the green grass is showing,
so much that I can hear
folks down the street mowing.

Baseball has returned,
we’re all thinking spring
nobody has interest
in one last icy fling.

You’re in this year’s rear view
as we head forward,
away from you Winter,
and the hot summer toward.

After the long, drab winter, popped lilacs are like purple pyrotechnics. (Photo: PaC)

After the long, drab winter, popped lilacs are like purple pyrotechnics. (Photo: PaC)

A BASKET CASE

UPDATED 3-26-16: To read this poem as a STELLER STORY, click on the photo below.

Screen Shot 2016-04-02 at 11.18.07 PM

Last year’s Easter egg hunt
was in the old cornfield.
Now it seems that day
not every egg was revealed

and that from those left back
are this year being born
acres and acres of stalks
sprouting tiny eggcorns.

Nature’s packaged each one
in a shell in a husk,
so cracking the eggcorns
is a rusty padlock fuss.

But once their outer layers
are opened up and clean
the cob yolks deep inside
are like nothing that you’ve seen:

Purple, pink, and yellow,
orange, blue, and jade,
all the prettiest pastels,
every springtime shade.

Just how nature made this magic
Science is still figuring,
but one thing learned so far:
is mighty omelets
from the tiny eggcorns spring.

AN EASTER EGG RAINBOW

Eggcorns are the kernel of a colorful Easter breakfast. (Photo: PaC)  

FLIPPING FRIGHTENED

When I woke up this morning
The weather was hot.
But where were my flip-flops?
Did I know? I did not.

All through the long winter
All we wore was boots
Then suddenly the
Flipping trees had flopped fruit.

So in my bare feet
With nerves that were fraying
I searched for my flops
While I shoulda’ been playing.

Being flipflopless
Was terribly scary,
‘Till the moment I found’em –
That flipped on my merry.

‘Cause nothing says good times
Like flops on your feet
Not inside the house
But out on the warm street.

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)

MULCH GULCH

Don’t wear a cute suit

if you go to Mulch Gulch,

wear the filthiest clothes that you own.

And don’t call for help

because friends never answer,

when calls from there light up their phone.

Bring a pitchfork for heavin’

and plan to be leavin’

wearing dirt from your ears to your feet.

Because down in the Gulch,

named after its Mulch,

the Dirtiness cannot be beat.

mulch_scooby_tagged

ZOINKS! – Scooby-Doo (above) wisely armors himself in a protective Mystery Machine-issue Hazmat suit while investigating the Notorious F.I.L.T.H. of Mulch Gulch. (Photo: PaC)

A MAN IN A TREE

Look Hard To See The Man In The Tree

Look hard,
Do you see?
The Man in the tree?
Way up high
Looking wee
A bark scaling flea.
Saw in hand has he,
Hanging from two or three
Ropes, hooks, pulleys,
And the squeeze of his knees.
How he must feel free
Part man,
Part leaf,
Like a branch in the breeze:
Breathe in sky,
Exhale glee.
That is, at least,
Till he gets company
In the form of some bees,
Who appear suddenly.
Nothing about them
At all unfriendly
These makers of honey
Always aiming to please.
To the hive they’re returning
As they do normally,
But that’s not what the Man in the tree
Thinks he sees.
So he waves and he flails
And he clings nervously
Contemplating a way he can
Flee gracefully.
From here it appears
(perhaps you’d agree)
he cannot speak even
a few words of Bee.
If he could
It might change things,
Presumably
The Man might agree:
He does not need an
Exit strategy ;
That the bees are no bother ;
If he’ll just let them be ;
And enjoy the beauty
At the top off the tree.

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.