Goff, Diane – Photography, Poetry

Diane Goff

Diane is a writer and photographer who has lived in the New River Valley for 50 plus years. Gardening and the natural world has always been a large part of her creative process.

Diane Goff, photographer

Morning Garden
by Diane Porter Goff

The sun sings
on the bright lip of the world
the garden wakes from
its night dream

something scurries
something alights
something flies
the mystery of the garden
settles over me
like grace

the silken throat of the lily
whispers today’s secret
as the bee takes suck
her feet festooned with pollen

attar of skunk
bedevils the crisp pink rose
the crow drops like a dark kite onto
the white pebble path

a breeze conducts the choir
of the grasses
the track beckons with
fragrant twists
and succulent turns

frowsy seed heads stir
with my breath
buxom and roly-poly
tumble under my fingers

I must touch
I must breathe

morning has come
and I open my mouth
to take sacrament.

Diane Goff, photographer

Crow Call
by Diane Porter Goff

Crows come to my call     sailing
in like dark leaves
falling through the trees
hop and dart   at the bread and apple curls
flung onto my pebble path
fly to dip   the bread in birdbath
smothered with leaves
scold and peck     to break
the bread against a branch

last summer
one crow lit on our live power pole
BANG   dropped like a black stone
my husband and I ran to its body      limp
beak open     tip of grey tongue
bead eyes wet

we waited for others   to circle
to mourn
to only be curious   nothing

we stretched the cool body out
with pins
on cardboard
took photographs
the ragged fringe of wing like unfinished bits
of poems

that night I dug out my black candles
used for spells
lit a candle for crow
on my altar
under the rough carved wooden statue
of a nature goddess
from South America
her pointy breasts
the leaves at her base reminded
me of wings
I lit another candle to celebrate
the element of        sudden

Diane Goff, photographer

by Diane Porter Goff

beating up from the tap root   the pulse
forms the bud
raindrop slides into the tiny crevice
unfolding a petal    the finger
of the sun
twirls open the full array-
pink fan with a purple heart
bees nuzzle the sex
stamen pistil        piercing
the membrane   emerging glorious
lapping the air
pollen drifts in a golden swarm

A bead of nectar quivers at the tip
reflecting the sparkling disk
of the day
A bird cries a note of longing
from deep in the bush

the poem
takes its place in the world

Diane Goff, photographer

by Diane Porter Goff

The daffodil’s happy snout,
preposterously yellow,
has nosed open a door in me
I had thought    closed
and locked
long ago.

Durrell, Piper – Poetry

Piper Durrell

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
Danaus plexippus,
symbiotic pollination.
migration phenomenon.

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
take you
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
where now
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
taking, giving

On the horizon
or under your feet
mountains remain.

While you
shall disappear.

The Pilgrimage

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
good health
and impressive infrastructure.
The vines continued their growth
creating vast thickets above
swallowing, surrounding
roots below,
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
of weeds
to fill a void
just as a poet
scribbles words
across a blank page.

Appalachian Redbud

In early spring
a traveler observes
hills off the highway
covered in pink.
Swarms of buds
spreading branches
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.

Goette, Ann – Photography, Poetry

Ann Goethe

Ann Goethe’s (Goette) novel, Midnight Lemonade was a finalist for the Barnes & Noble Discovery Prize. She is the founder of the Blacksburg New School and active in ReNew The New and the Giles Early Education Project. Goethe’s novel, Goner, was a Literary Fiction Finalist for the 2018 Indy Award. She lives on a peninsula surrounded by the ancient New River.


In a June
New green
Tree by the
Riverside, the
Queen of Hearts
Splits in two
And becomes
A scarlet pair.

Ring in Spring – Ann Goette


Early light of Easter morn
A pair of bald eagles,
The only thing flying.
They are the American
come back kids.

The Path Away from the River – Ann Goette

April’s Cover

Morning sun tugs
back black billows
to illuminate nuclear
green grass slashed
by silky crow wings.
A sudden quilt of cloud
smothers out the sun.
The land goes still.

Another Sunrise – Anne Goette


Scarecrow tree still blooming
After standing steadfast in a
Couple centuries of Nature’s
capricious temper tantrums.

Two summers ago, a fat bear
Climbed the tree to get that apple,
The one just out of reach, that
Failed to fall too far from the tree.

Local lore claims Washington,
After crossing the river right here,
Passed over this sunken roadbed
Shaded by a long line of apple trees.

Why did Washington cross the
River? All that he could see was
The other side of the mountain,
The other side of the mountain
Was all.

Electric Green – Anne Goette

First Day of May

Rain-drenched sunlight hefts
Locust blossoms like heavy
Albino grapes, indigo buntings
Splash unexpected puddles
Iridescent rising tadpoles
Turned bird, not frog.

Misty Morning – Anne Goette

Campagna, Mary Ellen – Poetry

Mary Ellen Campagna

Mary Ellen Campagna has been a writer and a teacher for over twenty years. She earned both undergraduate and graduate degrees from Hollins University. (2000/02) She has just completed her third fictional novel entitled, Una. She also has a memoir out now on Amazon titled The Blue Velvet Glove. She taught English for several decades and was also a local journalist for the Roanoke Times and other local newspapers under the name: Mary Hamlin/Mary Campagna. She also wrote features for the Roanoker Magazine for several years, including one about her depression under the pen name, Anne Pryce.

“Examining Corona”

A set of adaxial appendages growing from the corolla, or the outer edge of stamens. … The corona is located on the perianth of a flower. This is one of the non-reproductive parts of the flower. The perianth is composed of the petal, sepal, calyx and corolla.

The beauty of botany
The violence of beauty, and strangely, of innocence
The fleeting power of science, inadequate to fully explain
The portals of the dark divine,
Of terror, birth, and the death of innocence.
How we cling to mystery
Because we must.
Enchanted, because we are.

Lessons in the Dark

As a child I often dreamed of the forest. I was lost and overcome with shadows.
Yet, I made a plan, fashioning a rope out of small ties torn from the material of my dress. I connected each pied tie with a tree branch, slowly and meticulously, until a path was forged. There were warning owls, prickles and moaning night witches, but somehow I was able to focus on the mission at hand. The monster, Fear, even crippled me a few times, but did not break my resolve. Eventually, I saw a modest, earthy path that would lead me straight to the light.
Once there, I walked though a radiant field of green grass, up a hill. I sat there and looked out over the pastoral scene.