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Posts tagged “Maxwell Corydon Wheat Jr

Lycopodium

Lycopodium obscurum

Lycopodium
by Maxwell C. Wheat, Jr.

They are the elves’ Christmas trees
Grandfather would say
of Ground Pine and Cedar
Once in the sun I laid on snow
eye level to see colored lights and bulbs
the size of frozen dew drops

They are lycopodiums, he’d say
teaching me again to pronounce the name
because scientific words have the sounds of poetry

Lie-ko-po-dee-um

You’ve got it, he’d laugh
his hearty red face broadening behind his white beard
his abundant frame rollicking

When I return home for the holidays
I always walk back to our woods
think of Grandfather assuring a small boy
Yes,I’ll see that the elves have a happy Christmas

I am glad lie-ko-po-dee-um is evergreen

(more…)


Roger Tory Peterson

roger-tory-peterson.jpg
Roger Tory Peterson
Born: 28 August 1908 Birthplace: Jamestown, New York

” . . . the man who made America
a nation of birdwatchers.”

William Zinsser
Writer and Critic

Your dashes are arrows
in A Field Guide to the Birds, the green-bound “Peterson”
tucked into belts, pushed into pockets, stuffed into backpacks

Arrows that lead eyes of millions,
squinting through binoculars,
to the red-brown cap and black “stick-pin”
identifying the passerine in snowy branches.
“That’s it,” the new birder exclaims,
pulls out list, checks off the “Winter Chippy,”
American Tree Sparrow

Arrows that glide to crest and black necklace of Blue Jay,
“golden slippers” of Snowy Egret,
yellow “spectacles,” black sideburns, of Kentucky Warbler,
purple throat, green crown, decurved bill of Lucifer Hummingbird,
white tail tip of Eastern Kingbird.
The Bald Eagle with white head and tail is “all field mark.”

In the salt marsh in May, the birder thinks “Life Bird?”
Focuses on shorebird
prodding mud flat with Short-billed Dowitchers,
Red Knots, Ruddy Turnstones. Greater Yellowlegs,
Semipalmated and Least Sandpipers,
Semi-palmated and Black-bellied Plovers.
She has identified all with the dried, wrinkled pages of her “Peterson.”

She studies what she knows to be a plover,
concentrates glasses on this bird feeding
by greening shoots of Spartina grass.
Again, she stares at your art,
your arrow guide slanting to the back.
She rereads your description:
“spangled with golden spots above.”

Suddenly, her freckled face is a loud smile,
her whisper a bursting
“Golden Plover!”

Field Guide, 1996
The Roger Peterson Institute of Natural History

By Maxwell Corydon Wheat, Jr. ©
(more…)


Pileated Woodpecker [Poem]

Pileated Woodpecker

Pileated Woodpecker

dressed for his coronation
in ebony cape,
ermine trim,
scarlet-crested crown.
But would royalty be caught
backing down a dead hickory?

By: Maxwell Corydon Wheat, Jr ©

(more…)


Monarch Butterfly [Poem]

Mon@rch and its Milkweed

Monarch Butterflies

Regal autumn travelers

robed for mediaeval pageantry
in velvet orange and black

Moving in great procession

on tissue wings
from Canada to Monterey, the Sierra Madre

The North American Continent a court for this lepidoptery

By: Maxwell Corydon Wheat, Jr ©

(more…)


New-tropical Migrants [Poem]

CSWA
Chestnut-sided Warbler

New-tropical Migrants

We have always seen warblers
as brilliancies of the North Woods:

lemon yellow of Black-throated Green
flame wings and tail of American Redstart

But the Redstart is Cuba’s “Little Candelita,”
the Black-throated Green flies his colors from Ecuador

Our boreal yellows, reds, blues are tropical,
burnt orange of Blackburnian,
orange-red of Bay-breasted

What do we send back?
Blackburnian with only the yellow,
Bay-breasted, Blackpoll, Pine we can not tell apart – -
“Confusing Fall Warblers.”

Color them up, we say.
Paint back the cheeks and flanks of Chestnut-sided,
brighten back the pigments of Black-throated Blue

Send these warblers back.
On the Big Day in May
in Sugar Maple and Tamarack
we will check off glories of the rain forest

By: Maxwell Corydon Wheat, Jr ©

(more…)


Lets Go for Bluebirds [Poem]

New Neighbor

“Let’s Go for Bluebirds!”

Grandfather would call on a March morning,
snow sparkling in the sun.
Pulling on his wool cap,
He’d lead me down the cow path,
crusts of ice crackling under our boots

“Wait. Let’s look around,” he’d whisper
when we reached the orchard,
searched rows of apple trees,
gray trunks gnarled,
branches craggy

If I heard the singer,
blue-backed, red-breasted thrush,
I waited for Grandfather to point,
trying to keep his voice to a hoarse whisper,
“There he is. On that high branch.”
And what did he always add?
“A piece of sky has landed in the trees!”

By: Maxwell Corydon Wheat, Jr ©

(more…)


Nature Haiku [Poem]


Photo by Marg (thanks Marg)

Nature Haiku

Mockingbird at night
would disturb the universe
and sing forever

By: Maxwell Corydon Wheat, Jr ©

(more…)


Redstart [Poem]

American Redstart

Redstart

Fiesta flashes
of vermilion orange
flung from flaming tail,
fire wings
of Cuba’s “Little Candelita”
tumbling
plummeting upward
in Canadian green
of long spruce
under which
our eyes
tango

By: Maxwell Corydon Wheat, Jr ©

(more…)


Red Tailed Hawk [Poem]

Flying Red Tail

Red tailed Hawk

Her shrill “kee-er-r-r” startles the air
The raptor soars above Allegany State Park
Her span of wings
floats on warm push of thermal column
Her fanned-out tail glows from the solar cauldron
The God-hawk radiates over the Cosmos

By: Maxwell Corydon Wheat, Jr ©

(more…)


Brown Creeper [Poem]

brown creeper

Brown Creeper

with long claws
stiff bracing tail
spirals up oak
curved slender bill
probes for beetles

Suddenly, the Sharp-shin
The small bird is no where

The accipiter has passed
A piece of bark is on the move again

By: Maxwell Corydon Wheat, Jr © (more…)


Christmas Fern

Christmas Fern

Christmas Fern
By Maxwell C. Wheat, Jr.

“Come see the Christmas stockings,”
Says Grandmother, taking our hands
Leading us to the stream in our back woods

There on the bank
She shows us fronds of ferns lined with leaflets
Each shape like a fat “L”
“They’ll fit on elves’ feet, Nanny.”

“They’re upside down,” my brother laughs
“The elves’ll fall out.”

“Why, Edmund,” Grandmother chuckles
“don’t you know why elves’ feet
Are pointed and curled?”
(more…)


Fiesta Poem

Ovenbird

Fiesta
by Maxwell Croyden Wheat, Jr.
Comes with warblers,
waves of warblers
moving up the continents:
Yellows, Bay-breasteds

Black-throated Blues, Greens.
Myrtles, Magnolias
flourishing wing-tail skirts of white and yellow, Redstarts flashing flamenco fans of orange and red, Chestnut-sideds displaying headdresses of sun

Then, Blackburnians
flown from flames of Aztec fires,
Prothonotary emblazoned with Inca gold

(more…)


Lycopodium

Lycopodium obscurum

Lycopodium
by Maxwell C. Wheat, Jr.

They are the elves’ Christmas trees
Grandfather would say
of Ground Pine and Cedar
Once in the sun I laid on snow
eye level to see colored lights and bulbs
the size of frozen dew drops

They are lycopodiums, he’d say
teaching me again to pronounce the name
because scientific words have the sounds of poetry

Lie-ko-po-dee-um

You’ve got it, he’d laugh
his hearty red face broadening behind his white beard
his abundant frame rollicking

When I return home for the holidays
I always walk back to our woods
think of Grandfather assuring a small boy
Yes,I’ll see that the elves have a happy Christmas

I am glad lie-ko-po-dee-um is evergreen

Used by permission All rights reserved
Wheat, M.C. Jr. (2000) Following Their Star – Poems of Christmas and Nature. Cow Meadow Promotions. p.27

Tree Clubmoss Stiff Clubmoss Staghorn Clubmoss Ground Pine Club Moss


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