Piper Durrell loves to wander through woods and gardens and is always seeking inspiration for poems that will remind her of the beauty that she finds in the world outside.
Nature is Indifferent
The smell is sweet
on an early morning stroll
through an overgrow field:
soon, the bittersweet is revealed.
Milkweed, sentry of this field
stands erect, awaits
the usual summer guests coming from afar.
Pink, white, wet with dew and sap
globes of multi- faceted stars
on slender tall stalks,
this is a temptress of bees and bugs.
Today all is eerily silent.
I pass hundreds of these flowers on my path
no flitter, no dance, no slow-flapping wings,
not a single butterfly hovers at the blossoms.
There is beauty found in the words of science
in syllables, in formality, in the rhythms of Latin and Greek
From chrysalis to wings of flight
journey north, journey south
monarch searches for milkweed.
Ingenious, imponderable, the circle of need.
A kaleidoscope is the proper word
for a group of butterflies. I pause my walk,
think of beginnings and endings and
swirls of color in motion that go away
in the blink of an eye.
Forms of Address
Your feet trudge slowly up
destination and desire
to the top
where you take in the view
pose for a picture
Do you know who I am?
Every and each mountain
to be climbed
is the same to you.
The creeks you cross
are regarded as obstacles
not blessings that
slowly softly meander
across my grounds or
burst with energy
after spring rains
their sounds and touch
sooth or roar
like the moods of a lover.
The paths you take
smooth or rocky
required cutting of trees
whose roots were connected
to my heart;
the flow of life cut short
your heavy footsteps
pound with impatience.
Some stop to admire
my little beauties, flowers
of colors and smells and shapes
that fill the soil and tickle
me with delight in the breeze
as they sway this way and that,
so tender and pleasing that the dew
leaves teardrops for the sun to display.
Chirps of birds, caws of crows
scampering of squirrels,
all sweet melodies to me
are ignored. It is only
the occasional soar of an eagle that
brings your cry of excitement.
Within me are rifts, crannies
and beauties yet to be found
rocks of ages past
ancient memories of
creation and extinction.
We mountains are not mere objects
but living, breathing
On the horizon
or under your feet
It was a Friday hike, in the middling rain
of the first week in January,
a time of the year not usually known
as hospitable for hikes
in the mountains of southwest Virginia.
Accompanied by rain pants, raincoat, waterproof shoes
poles, smiles, backpacks, hoods over frizzing hair,
cellphones placed in baggies
then in pockets inside raincoats.
Today was not just a ramble
on a not so beautiful day
through forests and fields and pastures-
instead, an annual reverent walk to a wonder of nature,
a remarkable tree of Virginia.
Mud, bridges, flowing creeks
acreage that once was farm country
and a homestead to the Keffer family.
An uphill both ways trail where
halting for a breather and a view
is both necessary and recommended.
even AT hikers passing through look up
from their long journey ahead to stop, look, listen.
Today the rain beats a steady rhythm on hoods
clouds hang low on the mountains
across the way barns and cattle paths
cross empty pastures. Our marked trail meanders
back and forth, between woods and fields,
under hardwood trees and over wet leaves,
with glimpses of running cedar and galax,
a tall and lonesome stone chimney,
one tottering log cabin, and, then, a sign, a fence,
a very long and long-dead branch leading us to
this huge, very much alive, oak tree.
The Keffer Oak, 300 years old, 300 feet high
a trunk with a diameter over eighteen feet
neither huggable nor climbable but
knarled and scarred and long-limbed
imposing, yet just a tree in the forest,
a tree that has managed to survive whatever
nature and humanity have done to its environs
whether it be highways or pipelines or hurricanes.
We walk farther up, past the oak into pastureland
step over cow patties, keep on moving up
more out of respect than the photo opportunities.
There are many angles from
which to contemplate majesty
looking down from the hill
circling the trunk with joined hands
imagining the fullness of spring foliage
from underneath the branches or just
looking toward the heavens
to watch bareboned limbs
against a threatening sky.
How the Kingdom was Lost
I lost an earring today
most likely buried within
roots and dirt of a
dying painted fern
transported by shovel
to a newly dug hole
filled in as the rain began.
The fern had not yet succumbed
to a floral version of
failure to thrive.
It needed shade.
Once upon a time
the plant was surrounded
by rhododendron bushes
but, when their limbs
were pruned, the shade
Those long suffering bushes
sent their roots out to mingle with
those of pop-up trees, english ivy,
bittersweet and other vigorous vines.
The underground labryinth
had been attacked
for three years with shovel and saw
by a gardener who resented
its very existence
and impressive infrastructure.
The vines continued their growth
creating vast thickets above
offshoots sprouting up
among anything that dared
to compete for survival.
that lost earring
will be just
another glittering relic
of human existence
among a crossroad
of various root systems.
Blame dangling earrings
blame climate change
blame invasive plants
blame the proclivity
to fill a void
just as a poet
across a blank page.
In early spring
a traveler observes
hills off the highway
covered in pink.
Swarms of buds
a display like no other
mile after mile of
trees offering up their artistry
palettes of tiny flower clusters
reds, purples, fuchsia together becoming
billows of flamingo flamboyance pink
a vision that remains in the memory
long after the journey.