Category: Lyrical Science

Forget Black

The cracks, even the cracks of her feet were black with earth.

Her hair matted with black and hanging limp and wildly at her ears.

Her hands were stained black and there were small scars where the work showed through.

And just when it seemed she couldn’t get any blacker,

her heart stood still with the black mud.

Her eyes shed black tears that smudged her filthy cheeks.

Her mouth oozed.

She had stayed too long in the dark wet. She was one of them.

Yet there she crouched. Sobbing and shaken.

Her precious work torn asunder by those who spoke sharp words of machines.

All she knew lay raped and stranded in the bright sun.

It would be theirs tomorrow. Neat and shiny.

It would be organized and proper and clean.

It was always so sad to see them like this. Naked and lost.

No words would come to stay them from her treasure.

She would silently suffer.

It might kill her….

Yes, she would die if not for the others. They always come.

They take back their own into the dank woods.

Who knows what horrors lie there.

God it must be dreary and strange.

Oh, look, it must be time to go. The sun is sinking.




Bleached by sunlight

Her fractured remains littered the banks of the brown river.

Twisted bones bleached white from long days spent worshipping the sun

now tossed about after the storms of summer.

Sluggish sounds of lapping waves the only reverie.

Her age is unknown. Her birth unwritten.

It was so long ago that no one remembers her absence.

They remember her cool sheltering arms.

They remember her strength.

And they smile as they paddle by.


The Clearing


Crouching low I hid neath the brambles. Scratched and torn skin red with rage.

I watched as they ripped it asunder. No respect. No fear.

Each screaming heart gasping air. Roots barren and drying.

Shattered crowns, withered leaves, twisted souls.

The breeze blew where it shouldn’t.

Smell of earth where is wasn’t.

They looked happy as tears stained my dirty face.

Proud, they stood in the clearing. As if they had done something great.

Tree Image Gallery


Across the field they came.

Slamming into the ground and raising the dust that had settled over thousands of years.

Wetting things cracked and dead. Making black puddles on the land.

Things that had long since given up emerged. Beady eyes shone red in the darkness.

Things cried out. Things older than the earth itself.

Everything awoke to the sound of thunder.

The storm approaches.

Wild Man

Neath the loamy earth he lay


clothes all wet and soaked with clay.

Biding time ’til sunshine brings

the warmth to reach up into spring.

Brown and ugly, lonely, snuggling, only buried in the garden.

Down and covered, watered, smothered, soon the earth no longer hardened.

Up and up he dreams while sleeping.

Tendrils climbing, grasping, creeping

Green and tender arms of shoots.

For now the wild thing is only roots.

I stand just knee-deep in the water

Watch and smile as the current flows by

And I ache just to think of the fishes

Swimming by as I ruffle their sky

Lake County Illinois

How I long to be one with the riffles

Lilting wetly and moving the sand

Making fun of the footsteps of mortals

Whose futile work falls on the land

Then I spy in a pool small swamp darters

Smiling keenly and moving about

Knowing nothing is ever forever

As my hand moves the lilies about

It’s so tempting to join in the living

Feel the tug of the algae beneath

Lose myself to these waves of abandon

Sink my soul, sink my hands, sink my feet

I lie down in the life-giving wetness

Let it slide over my tired life and limb

Close my eyes to the bright rays of sunshine

Grab a fistful of muck in the dim

From Professional Bow Hunters Society website

I grow roots fins and gills as I lie here

I breathe rain and the muck warms my scales

Then I wriggle away with my soul mates

As a bowfin nips hard at my tail.

I escape to the pools and the thalwegs

I give over to point bars and runs

Leave behind all the worry and sadness

To the men toiling hard in the sun


Tumbling, truckling, the tickling stream passed clear over my wriggling toes.

Cold it was. And hard were the stones under my bones.


Dappled shafts of sneaky sunlight snuck through the laughing leaves.

There I lay

Just born



Alone and wanting for nothing.

Breathing spray and smiling.

A wild thing.

The waterling.

The Boy

Watercolor – Michael Liebhaber

The boy stood at the edge. The place where his world stopped being the fields and started being the forest. “you don’t want to go in there,” said his father the farmer. “there are only trees and the path is dark and the way is difficult. That is the reason we cut down the trees and cleared the dark places. We made life simpler and easier.”

The boy continued to stare into the forest. He stood there until the farmer tired of waiting for his help. He stood there long past the bell for their evening meal. He stood there as the sun sunk beneath the wheat waving in the soft breeze.

As the sounds of the night began to rise to greet the dark and stars, the boy turned and ran to the house where he was born. But all that night he looked out the window to that place where his father’s fields became the forest. He wondered what it would be like to walk under the shade of those trees and walk those mossy paths.

Then, the boy slept. He had the most wonderful dream. He dreamt he entered the cool forest and walked the dark paths and met along the way many creatures that made him laugh. He woke and vowed that he would not be afraid today. He would enter the forest.

But that day was much like many before it. There was work to do. There were goats to tend. There was the wheat. The forest would have to wait. The boy would have to wait.

Many years passed. The village was growing. The people needed more food. The forest was still a dark and troublesome place. The farmer slowly took bits and pieces of the forest and made them a sunlit field full of wavy golden grain.

The boy had grown. He was no longer the tiny child who was afraid to enter the forest. He was nearly a man. He stood in the fields of wheat and thought how proud he was of the work he did. The harvest would be a good one.

Just then a strange bird flew low over the field. It passed just over the head of the young man. It flew fast and straight into the forest. The young man followed the bird with his eyes. He wondered where the bird was going. It was at that moment he remembered.

He remembered his promise. He stood up straight and walked toward the trees. For a time he stood at the edge. The edge where the golden wheat became the mossy oaks. He tried to peer into the darkness to see what was hidden.

He took a step. He took another step. He took many steps until he was standing in the cool shadows of those ancient trees. He began to look around. He almost spun in a circle as he began to hear noises all around.

They weren’t the noises of the field. They were strange and new. The young man smiled. He walked deeper into the forest. He saw small things scurrying into their secret spaces away from his heavy footfall.

He saw a small stream. This must be the same stream that they used to irrigate the fields and get fresh water for the goats. It was the same stream that he drank from. But here, inside the forest the stream was different. It was alive.

He touched the lichen coated rocks beside a small stream and he drank the pure cold water that ran over the fishes. Under the surface small creatures wriggled and writhed. Green tendrils of unknown plants wrapped around broken branches.

The young man sat there for some time. He was lost in the beauty of the place. He made a new promise. He vowed that the forest would be safe as long as he was alive. And as he rose to walk back to the fields, he glanced down once more at the riffling waters. There gleamed  a small fish just under the surface. Its scales like jewels. What treasure this forest held.

He would tell the people to come see the beauty. He knew they would love this forest. They would want to know what treasures were hidden in the mossy shade. They would want to keep this beautiful sanctuary and protect it.

Watercolor by Roland Lee

And they did.

Oaken Earth Mother

Her hand broke through the loamy earth so long ago.

The richness of her breath reaches my nostrils

as I lay cradled in the shady ferns.

Her skin is deep and furrowed

Dark brown and damp it plays host to many soft things that like to hide at the edge of sight.

She reaches thick fingers up toward the light that she no longer needs.

Great and ancient is her tongue

but the people no longer hear her voice

For, she speaks no more



To fall.


stock-photo-storm-damage-toppled-trees-in-the-forest-after-a-storm-35982007.jpg (450×358) The sound was eerie.

The crack of bones and branches ringing long through the forest.

I ran to the clearing that wasn’t there yesterday.

There he lay silently broken.

New sky shone on the bed of leaves the forest lay beneath him.

They must have known it was his time.

How long must he have cast shadow on the forest floor? How long must he have held the nests in spring? How many storms had he weathered? We never heard his story.

We will never know how he sang when the wind blew.

We will never smell the scent of his leaves or feel the cool of his roots reaching down into our mother earth.

The others will come.

The feathery fungi will claim him.

He will soften.

He will fade.

He will disappear.


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