california

Double Original Friday – Bird Watching

black and white monoprint of a skeletal bird and a haiku

The bird watching from the car is good.
Peregrine, kestrel, loggerhead shrike
Winter fog no winter has known.

I wrote this short poem while on a long drive through California’s central valley in the middle of January. Interstate 5 there is straight as an arrow and flat, plowing its way through hundreds of miles of farmland. It was bitterly cold and dry and a heavy fog hung over the fields. It looks for all the world like ordinary fog, except when you get out of the car and the mix of chemicals and animal waste hits you. By many measures, the central valley of California is one of the most polluted areas of the state, but it is also one of the breadbaskets of our nation and a place of startling diversity of wildlife – particularly predatory birds you can see from the highway. Poem and monoprint (ink on mineral paper) by me. Have a good weekend!

Found Poetry Thursday – The Poetry Bench

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It is slowly eroding, between a public restroom and a playground, shaded by shaggy trees. I have run by it a hundred times and never stopped, the long low form is the color of sand and earth and blends in well. But this one day it was hot and so we veered off and panted in the same shade as this mysterious sculpture. I had to laugh when I bent down to examine it and found the invitation above – Poems here.

It took a fair bit of googling to discover its identity – use the word “sculpture” as a search term and the much more famous works of art in Balboa Park crowd it out of the results. It is the Poetry Bench. Built in 2006 by 20 women out of cob – a natural building material made of clay, sand, and water and in use for thousands of years – it was meant to last a year. But a decade on, although a little worse for wear, it still invites us to sit a while in the shade and perhaps give it a poem. Patiently waiting and letting us hurry by.

(You can see more pictures of the bench and read more about its construction and subsequent lifespan extension here)
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