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 "photosynthesis II, a companion" exhibition - the written word  

GLACIER TERMINUS

By Lorrie Grainger Abdo

I yawn and stretch, moving slowly

because I am brittle and old. So old.

 

I am blue – there is little air to interfere.

I chatter – there is relief in the depression.

I fracture – there is a chasm of injustice.

 

I dance below and melt above. Until, I don’t.

The World is so damn thirsty.

Lorrie Grainger Abdo, ”Glacier Terminus” Copyright © 2023 by

Lorrie Grainger Abdo. All rights reserved.

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EDGE OF ICE

Randy Walker

Lorrie Grainger Abdo

MIGRATION

By Melody Allen

The leaves are gone. You need to go now 

You must be on your way 

to escape the cold and the snow   

in a warmer place 

 

Your long distance sojourn is a treacherous test

of miraculous endurance and strength 

Wings beating strong, hearts beating stronger

No place to stop, nowhere to rest

 

All through the night you fly and you fly

I leave my bed, look to the sky

Your shadowy wings are silent 

Awed, I watch you pass overhead

 

The lights below are much too bright

They disorient and confuse 

You lose your way on your nocturnal flight 

Just one of the perils you’ll face 

 

What instinct leads you on your journey

What inner voice urges you on

No map or compass to guide you

to your destination beyond

Melody Allen, ”Migration” Copyright © 2023 by Melody Allen.

All rights reserved.

Melody Allen
Rzoska, Terrestrial Trinity I Detail_1_

TERRESTRIAL TRINITY

Linda Rzoska

THIS ART IS NOT OF OUR HANDS 

by Susan Badger

Last light pours a red glow over skyward branches like phosphorescent paint pouring down raw canvas. This art is not of our hand.

 

Layers of branches intertwine, tangle and twist, as they carry nutrients gathered from the sun by now fallen leaves. Lost leaves found again as they cover the forest floor, and give soft landing to a heavy crop of acorns and the nuts of hickories. Nourishment for forest dwellers and seeds for future generations. 

 

 The soil is renewed as trees await regeneration through eager roots joined to the tallest branches. Leafy nests of squirrels dot the sky, as dark silhouettes reveal night roosting wood ducks and enormous wild turkeys. Perched for predation, the calls of redtail, great horned, and the eerie screeches from its’ tiny namesake reverberate through the still forest home.

Susan Badger, ”This Art is Not of Our Hands” Copyright © 2023 by Susan Badger.

All rights reserved.

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OAK DIVINITY I SCARRED

Linda Rzoska

Susan Badger
Dave Middleton

METAMORPHSIS

by Dave Middleton

A moment in life's cycle,

    a change observed.

It lasts forever, each stretch,

            each movement to free,

                         to make whole,

The next existence.

Still the same life,

             just enlightened and free to fly.

Dave Middleton, ”Metamorphsis” Copyright © 2023 by Dave Middleton.

All rights reserved.

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TRANSFORMATION: METAMORPHSIS

Helen Kleczynski

TRANSFORMATIONS

by Dave Middleton

Life is one with death and rebirth.

       I see the past in the empty chrysalis, 

             the present in this moment when all is here

                    and the future as it floats by my face, one with this planet, 

 

I am a grateful witness, one with it.

Dave Middleton, ”Transformations” Copyright © 2023 by Dave Middleton.

All rights reserved.

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TRANSFORMATION: RELEASED

Helen Kleczynski

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CELLULAR

Lorrie Grainger Abdo

LIMERENCE

By Elizabeth Kerlikowske

 

The trees appreciate the lake for its innate charm but also how well it reflects

them, particularly on this day, and how the lake surface shimmies them as the

wind lifts their undersides, and the lily pads just show up, mythic symbols of the

grief of separation. The trees and the lake feel separated by the water, but

they need it for what they love; see above. Lily pads are each attempt to bridge

that gap, a cluster of phone calls, the space of months, regular islands of

contact on the double flipside of summer. Sometimes a lily pad can support a

frog, occasionally two. Today the lily pads are little thought balloons, each

asking why. No flowers, no answers.

Elizabeth Kerlikowske, ”Limerence Copyright © 2023 by Elizabeth Kerlikowske

All rights reserved.

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COLD BROOK LILY PADS

Joseph Smigiel

WHEN THE FOREST WROTE ITS MEMOIR

By Elizabeth Kerlikowske

 

it used the primal alphabet and a deciduous font, incorporating circles to represent tree trunks overlayed with a pattern from fritillaries as well as graphics of their preferred routes in the afterword. The chapter about lightning was etched on bug husks. The table of contents was the fossil record represented by Isle Royale greenstone. Moss grew on the memoir’s spine; seashells reminded us of our history in the oceans. Amber heals the scar where the buck rubbed his first antlers. When the forest wrote its memoir, it needed decades of insects to help it remember tree crickets, walking sticks reaching toward the sky. The plot is slow. Sometimes there’s a fire; a mall is the worst thing. Every forest wants to keep being forest, collector of artifacts, scrapbook of everything. In the appendix, the forest attempts to discuss global warming but can’t stop crying. The final pages: too dark to read with no sun. 

Elizabeth Kerlikowske, ”When the Forest Wrote Its Memoir Copyright © 2023 by Elizabeth Kerlikowske

All rights reserved.

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DARK REACTIVE (middle portion)

Lynn Pattison

11TH INCARNATION OF THE WORLD: GAIA

By Elizabeth Kerlikowske

Her hand emerges, a blessing 

from primordial gases, a miracle of 

vegetable streams we recognized 

reaching out to partner in creation.

 

Her hand slips back into the slurry

of toxic neon 21st century chemicals,

time zones whirling into hypnotic

Doppler disasters. 

   Maybe next time.

Elizabeth Kerlikowske, ”11th Incarnation of the World: Gaia Copyright © 2023 by Elizabeth Kerlikowske

All rights reserved.

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GAIA

Anna Z. ILL

HUNTER'S DAUGHTER

By Elizabeth Kerlikowske

          The buck was not shot so much as he fell over in the open field at the

gun’s report. The hunter who saw the buck go down claimed it, began the field dressing when something inside the deer moved. A human baby lodged in the animal’s rib cage. No time to ask how. The infant coughed, sputtered and spent its early years as the hunter’s daughter.

          Her ears were a little large; her hearing was fantastic. She could tell the difference between a gray wolf’s prowl and a coyote’s a hill away. The hunter liked having her hunt with him, but never for deer.  While he stalked rabbits, she hunted

acorns. And sweet corn.  She rustled up locavore meals that were famous in the township. Never venison. He opened a restaurant with her: Hunters. 

          The daughter was skittish around people, more comfortable in the

forest searching for truffles or morels, or back in the kitchen grinding acorns into flour into bread.  Her knees and elbows angled wrong and the talk was of arthritis.  Although their bartender was a wolf, she loved him. Pregnant, she spent less time in the restaurant and more time in the forest. She labored in the forest and brought forth a fawn there.  She licked him clean and waited for the does to take him, deeper into the woods where he belonged.

          Once the deer was out of her, she became completely herself.  She told

the bartender what happened. Of course, he had her arrested for killing their

child, that old story. She was set to burn at the stake when deer overran the yard, stomped the bartender to death, and freed her from the stake even without opposable thumbs. One fawn in particular wouldn’t leave her side.  

          The hunter, who had organized the stampede, thanked the deer and

began his new life as a vegetarian. The hunter’s daughter became the farmer’s daughter, and he did guard her with his life like every old joke you’ve heard about her.  Her taste for acorns flagged; she liked wrap-up cheese, something she needed fingers to access.  The fawn grew into a buck who was never far from the farm, but when it’s time, he wanders to the open field.

Elizabeth Kerlikowske, ”Hunter's Daughter Copyright © 2023 by Elizabeth Kerlikowske

All rights reserved.

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HUNTER'S DAUGHTER

Anna Z. ILL

Elizabeth Kerlikowske

BIPOLAR

By Elizabeth Kerlikowske

 

When the glass is a still life

two rocks squat beneath 

the garnet trees, three

sisters upholding snow.

When it’s not

                beavers on a frosty morning

                snow-scuttling, backsides slick  

with lake, filter of sun, crystals 

of pure air kissing branches.

 

Elizabeth Kerlikowske, ”Bipolar” Copyright © 2023 by Elizabeth Kerlikowske

All rights reserved.

SHINRIN-YOKU (FOREST BATHING)

By Elizabeth Kerlikowske

 

Imagine a door.

Open it and step through.

Time does not matter. Repeat that.

Time does not matter.

Jays flutter down with red bud leaves

from the understory of the forest.

White ghosts of autumn hang on,

a beckoning of leaves and limbs,

deep mysteries of moss underfoot,

splashed on tree trunks.

Creek rolls over rocks.

Warm pine resins release with each step.

Relax tall and straight as trees relax.

Follow the trail that opens just as

you step on it. Breathe.

Fill your ears with bird flap and

low leaf scrabblings. 

The old man of the woods crams

his beard with nests. You will think

you see him and feel safe

breathing in the still forest 

that is never still. Close the door.

 

Elizabeth Kerlikowske, ”Shinrin-yoku” Copyright © 2023 by Elizabeth Kerlikowske

All rights reserved.

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RHYTHMS OF LIFE ON EARTH

Maryellen Hains

CELLULAR

By Elizabeth Kerlikowske

 

The Tilt-a-Whirls seem close together

but there’s plenty of room for the umbrellas

of the many concession stands on the midway. 

Beneath and between what we see, the trapped 

smells of corndogs and tamales, cotton candy and 

cigars, and innumerable people eating and spilling

then tracking ketchup, chili sauce and pop all over

the midway as people hurry to their next ride,

unseen but implied by all we know of life on earth,

and their excitement rubs off enabling cells to hold 

together and we are intact, excited, and social.

 

Elizabeth Kerlikowske, ”Cellular” Copyright © 2023 by Elizabeth Kerlikowske

All rights reserved.

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BETWEEN TWO PINES

Melody Allen

Honore Lee

I AM NOT VENUS

By Honore Lee

I am not Venus.

I am not from Willendorf.

I am a woman of mystery. 

Silence has been my habit

Since Josef found me in 1908.

Lucky man he was, who stuck his tool in just the right place.

He held my 4 3/8” body in the palm of his hand.

Pocketed me. 

I am a perfect fit in the 20th century archaeological time-line.

I became an object of investigation and examination, 

observation, rumination, classification,

authentication, and on, ad nauseum.

You know the story, a Paleolithic cliff-hanger.

I am that object, now caged behind glass 

in a humidity-controlled

Temple to the Muses.

You can find me plinthed and pegged with my kind in 

The Naturhistorisches Museum in Vienna, just

down the road 

from the village of Willendorf.

My subterranean home for 25,000 years.

I Am Venus

Science sticks to the facts placed in linear progression.

This is logic.

Artists create in time that loops, doubles-back, shoots forward. 

Imagine this.

 

Ask me, through the lens of the artist . . .

“How do you make something from nothing?”

       Start with the seed; the shell, the grain of sand.

       Agitate in water. 

       Calcify. 

Pull of the moon on tides; saturate, gather and swell, smooth my surface. 

 

“What do you notice?”

       Swell of breasts, belly, vulva, plaited hair, no feet.

       No facial features, slender arms folded over breasts,

       purposefully posed hands. A bit of red ochre.

I am the tide, the pull and push, the full of flesh that waits and yields un-named, all known.

 

“What choices did the artist make in creating this. . . charm? Amulet? Artifact?”

       Chisel, scraper, burin.

I am the carver and the carved. Stone on stone.

 

 

 

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THE MOSS GATHERERS

Vicki Van Ameyden

“What, as an artist, would you change if you could?”

       Make a mold, make more. Gather, arrange, isolate.

I am one of many. 

Some of us lie down, arranged as if fallen, as I was left, and remained until my earthen blanket was swept away. 

I, alone can stand, planted in the center of an earth circle pedestal.

From here, I look down upon my own swollen body and I see the others lying there, like me.

I can finally see myself, my likeness.

 

We are on and of the earth, 

of spores and moss, 

of the churning water below, 

of seed and shell and grains of sand.  

Oolitic limestone,

creator of the created.

Fertile.

Honore Lee, ”Hunter's Daughter” Copyright © 2023 by Honore Lee

All rights reserved.

Lynn Pattison

WAVE AND FLOW

by Lynn Pattison

 

Maybe light plays over tangled grasses. Or blood vessels’ 

fractal spread in a lung. Is this a head 

 

of tousled hair? Could be magnetic imaging of migration 

patterns over Missouri, time lapse exposure 

 

of L A highways at night. Why wouldn’t I hesitate? 

The grace of root systems is here, 

 

spread of a river as it maps the watershed. 

It is all light: the product of light 

 

or its absence, light’s power and decay. Plant, water, 

body, photo, all rely on sunlight’s energy, 

 

even drawing pencil marks on paper: carbon, wood, 

energy for manufacture—

 

the light that enters the eye. Today, a fingerprint 

juxtaposed with a tree’s rings 

 

on my screen. So alike—each impossible without

the gift of light. Streaming.

Lynn Pattison, ”Wave and Flow” Copyright © 2023 by Lynn Pattison.

All rights reserved.

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BEACHWALK I

Honore Lee

ROOTS

by Lynn Pattison

 

Magic happens when a moistened seed shyly opens, takes root,   

the first whorl of leaves, needing safe anchor, bide time and await roots.

 

A tree’s base, branches underground like a river’s watershed  

or the blood vessels in lungs—fractal choreography of great roots.

 

The Prodigal Son spiraled away from his family’s embrace,

the father wept, prayed for his son to return on a safe, straight route.

 

You know the brilliant colors of deciduous leaves: crimson, rust, green,

but dig below duff to see orange, red and yellow in braided roots.

 

A dying fir, like the Phoenix, has a shot at immortality

if one sprout sets out for the canopy from an animate root.

 

The Pando, a giant stand of Utah aspen, 

spreads a hundred acres—cloned from one inveterate root.

 

Douglas firs recognize their own offspring in the woods

and mother trees grow in ways that aid their roots.    

 

Celebrate beet, carrot, turnip, rutabaga, parsnip under soil-- 

treasures of the garden, hardy, even after frost, heavy-weight roots.

 

Hair’s held in follicles by small, strong nubs, each tooth’s anchored deep,

A ropy muscle secures the rowdy tongue—appreciate roots.

 

When winds threaten to topple trees they join long, strong, ropes beneath the soil,

they weather the storm, holding everything down, for each other’s sake. Roots.

 

Trees have their own adrenaline, it saturates forest loam—

alarm passed, risk shared, strength pooled. O fortunate roots!

Lynn Pattison, ”Roots” Copyright © 2023 by Lynn Pattison.

All rights reserved.

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UNDERGROUND

Linda Rzoska

IN THE ARMS OF THE BAY

by Lynn Pattison

 

Driftwood trunks fallen upon one another 

   as if some over-tired god-baby has just kicked 

      his Lincoln Log tower across the playroom floor. 

 

They come here from forests 

   where their crack and fall shook silence 

      like cannons, from flooded rivers that tumbled 

 

them to the Salish Sea. Afloat, they were food 

   for gribbles and shipworms, shade for fish--safe haven 

      for nymphs and larvae, eggs of the wingless water strider. 

 

Until muscling waves flung them here. 

   Motionless. Piled and tangled, enormous root balls 

      reaching for nothing they can use. Silvered skeletons stripped 

 

of bark, branches and heartwood. A boneyard, 

   deserted except for visits of the inland Raven People 

      who launch vessels, gather shards they’ll keep for weapons, 

 

carve into masks or incise as maps, read with wet fingers. 

   A king tide could suck them back to sea. For now, they’re grounded,

      fir and cedar, hulks bleached, petrifying. Quiet, drifted orphans.

Lynn Pattison, ”In the Arms of the Bay” Copyright © 2023 by Lynn Pattison.

All rights reserved.

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IN THE ARMS OF THE BAY

Dave Middleton

Linda Rzoska

EULOGY: CIRCLE OF LIFE

by Linda Rzoska

 

An unassuming deer

    hit without a moment’s notice

    lies still in a blanket of leaves

    and begins her return to the earth.

 

Everything in nature serves its purpose

    first buzzing blow flies lay their eggs

    then beetles find their way.

 

The scavengers arrive

    crows    raccoons    opossums

    birds take what they need for their nests

 

Everything in nature serves its purpose.

Linda Rzoska, ”Eulogy: Circle of Life” Copyright © 2023 by Linda Rzoska.

All rights reserved.

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THE DEER 

Alexa Karabin

NOVEMBER SUNSET

by Linda Rzoska

 

When she knows it’s time to start to settle      to sink 

        she starts her downward journey.

 

Someone, being observant, notices her white, golden blur

        through the branches of the distant black November tree line.

 

That someone, in anticipation, stops their reading, inserts a bookmark and

        puts down the book      in order to watch,

 

awaiting the soft transformation

     they know will come.

Linda Rzoska, ”November Sunset” Copyright © 2023 by Linda Rzoska.

All rights reserved.

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FAMILY TREE

Helen Kleczynski

THE WATCHER

by Linda Rzoska

 

The old Oak sighed, stretching his heavy knotty limbs towards the sky

    morning had just begun    the air was cool   the sky orange

 

Looking out over the open field

    greeting his remaining cousins    standing proudly in the distance

 

the red-orange sky shown through their branches

    became a brilliant pattern   entwined among dark limbs

 

High above birds    swooping   diving   dancing

    then swiftly changing direction

 

Field grasses    with their winter hues of burnt umber and gold

    soon to be shaking off their sleepy mood     changing to green

Linda Rzoska, ”The Watcher” Copyright © 2023 by Linda Rzoska.

All rights reserved.

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THE WATCHER

Dave Middleton

IF IT AIN'T THE HEAT, IT'S THE HUMIDITY

by Joseph Smigiel

 

Off-worlds present the following conundrum:

Do rubies rain from clouds consisting of corundum?

Or is the deluge perhaps sapphire

Or other gemstones we desire?

 

In sooty skies of Saturn, diamonds fall as hail

So too for giants Jupiter, Neptune, Uranus

But dry red rocky Mars is just ruddy rusted dust

While on lovely sister Venus sulfuric clouds are tawny

And on temperamental Mercury the forecast’s bright and sunny

 

Titan’s ethane seas swell beneath its benzene blizzards

That sublimate on Ligeia’s shores as her siren song beckons

Where no oxygen exists to burn the methane swamps

That long have lined Mare Kraken

 

But on the moist wet watery blue Earth

It’s cats and dogs and cataracts obscuring Spanish plains

My French love states “Il pleut”

says I, “it rains, it pours”

The air is cleansed, the land’s awash

And life can thrive once more

Joseph Smigiel "If it ain't the Heat, it's the Humidity” Copyright © 2023 by Joseph Smigiel.

All rights reserved.

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AWASH

Susan Badger

CRYOGENIAN

by Joseph Smigiel

Imagine the Snowball

a globe of frozen water

with everlasting Winter everywhere.

And through the haze of Oxygen

its ancient dimmer star

cannot be less distinct

needing eyes to witness light

and lungs to breathe such air.

Is water blue?

Joseph Smigiel "Cryogenian” Copyright © 2023 by Joseph Smigiel.

All rights reserved.

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BEGINNINGS

Maryellen Hains

Joe Smigiel
Vicki VanAmeyden

STORM GODS

by Vicki VanAmeyden

 

call me ice or thunder—

the praising kind to sing with or dance in

or wail your prayers to a god gone bowling

 

rolling out strikes, rumbles & cracks

black-holed gaps, hot flashes, wholesale purges

whoosh through me and all over you

 

call me fire or snow—

countless axes tilt helter-skelter on my edge

I don’t check my own tipping points now

 

your plastic poncho is waste in the face 

of buckets, walls, cats & dogs, sheets, pitchforks, 

sizzly sod-soakers and toad stranglers

 

call me hail or wind—

a dervish whorling about the great imbalance

just doing what needs doing—science really

 

I’ve become a one-way ticket on a runaway ride 

mad with cycles of floods & flames repeating

the beats that I tap tap tapped on your shoulder

Vicki VanAmeyden "Storm Gods” Copyright © 2023 by Vicki VanAmeyden.

All rights reserved.

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AWASH

Susan Badger

Randy Walker

EQUINOX DREAM

by Randy Walker

 

Wearing only tokens of nature

tattoos really

a prefect world 

a kinship with living things

colorful impressions waiting 

 

Will they come to life 

at the exact moment 

the sun is high 

on a Monday in March 

or Friday in September

 

When light and dark 

are equal reaching 

the invisible line 

of the equinox

 

She waits with a small 

hand held plant 

perhaps an offering 

to the high star 

 

If she could run to the west 

so fast that the sun would 

never set never rest 

she would releasing the totems 

 

She might become 

a butterfly 

an orange cornflower

or barberton daisy

needing full sun

But her heart 

could never keep up

 

It’s a dream 

isn’t it.

Randy Walker "Equinox Dream” Copyright © 2023 by Randy Walker.

All rights reserved.

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PHOTOSYNTHESIS

Alexa Karabin

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