The Weekly Avocet #498 – a Nature Lover’s Poetry Magazine #NatureLover’s #Poetry #Magazine

The Weekly Avocet #498 – a Nature Lover’s Poetry Magazine #NatureLover’s #Poetry #Magazine

The Weekly Avocet – #498

June 19th, 2022

Hello to our Poets and Nature-lovers of The Avocet community:

Turtles on a log

Basks in sun with not a care

Gone with my footsteps

Ray Zimmerman – Chattanooga, TN –

Submitted by Edwina KaderaA group of birds on the beach

Description automatically generated with medium confidence The Beaver Pond

We arrive in late afternoon,

Finding pink blossoms along the pond’s edge.

A Baltimore Oriole perches in a tree,

Then flutters up to a higher branch,

Flashing patterns of orange, black, white.

He must be a male, I think,

Because what female could resist this display?

Perhaps he’s also showing off for the robins,

Who can’t match his brilliant, contrasting colors.

Then a streak of red, perhaps a cardinal,

Darts through the canopy.

Two hours of daylight remain,

But high, thin clouds dim the sun’s rays.

The pond looks a dark green,

Though near the beaver lodge silver undulations

Reflect the pale, filtering sunlight.

We wait and watch hopefully.

A black dot slices the surface:

A beaver’s nose; another follows.

They move higher until the brown, matted fur

Of heads and backs are visible too.

The second beaver charts a course of his own,

And they glide across the pond

In graceful, intersecting arcs.

Then, as if they’ve entertained us enough,

Almost in unison

Heads, backs and tails slip beneath the waves,

Raising hardly a ripple.

We linger, start to leave,

But one surfaces again and begins to swim.

I motion for my wife,

But he sees me

And, with a loud slap of his paddle-like tail,

Dives out of view,

Leaving behind only widening circles

On the pond and in our memories.

Eric Glaberson – Brooklyn, NY –

“You choose to be a novelist, but you’re chosen to be a poet. This is a gift and it’s a

tremendous responsibility. You have to be willing to give something terribly intimate and

secret of yourself to the world and not care, because you have to believe that what you have

to say is important enough.” – May Sarton Under surveillance

Three crows on a limb

scold the hell out of me

as I stroll beneath them,

then beyond, their cathedral

of the trees.

Preach, preach, preach at me;

proclaim their territory.

Vigilant black eyes

never blink on their watch

as I silently trespass

on up the hill,

over the stonewall

and disappear from their decree.

Take the daggers

from my back.

Dee Matthews – Brookfield, MA –

“Loving the world means giving it attention, which draws one to devotion, which means

one is concerned with its condition, how it is being treated.” – Mary Oliver (Dee Matthews)

Violet Vigil

On the evergreen rise

a purple-petaled patch

congregated under tall pines.

Light spears softly pierced

the needle-covered ground.

Quiet as white tapers burning

and winking in a subtle breeze,

their secreted color aglow,

yellow pupils of violets

tipped upward–

filled by a gentled sun.

Mary Belardi Erickson – Kerkhoven, MN –

“In a world where you can be anything, be kind.” – Dr. SeussLongleaf pine forest

Overgrown with hardwood trees

Fire clears out the brush

Ray Zimmerman, Chattanooga, TN

The Sun

One day as a curious teenager, I dared

to look at the Sun with naked eye

then closed my eyes and stared

again at the Sun in the sky

Red-orange flames

were coming out from its core

strings of lights were wrapped

around it more and more

I saw the yellow beams

coming out from here and there

as if they intended to join and braid

millions of ropes, so bright, so rare

Then I knew not to doubt,

not to ask why

I saw the braided-ropes were

hanging the Sun from the sky!

That day I was sure,

the Sun will offer heat, light,

and will keep the Earth and

the earthlings warm and bright

And I believed the Sun

will keep shining here, there

I knew the Sun will live

for another million years.

Narges Rothermel – Levittown, NY –

White wings bearing low

Egret glides from stump to log

Breaks forward motion

Ray Zimmerman – Chattanooga, TN – Time to share up to four of your

Summer-themed poems,

If you don’t send them, then we can’t share them

Photos (4), haiku (up to 10), Saving Mother Earth Challenge


Please read the guidelines before submitting

Now you can send up to FOUR (4) Summer poems

Please send your submission to

Please put Summer/your last name in the subject line.

Please be kind and address your submission to me, Charles. Thank you.

(Just so you know: I do not read work from a poet who doesn’t take the time

to address their submission to the editor, who they want to read their work.)

Please do not just send a poem, please write a few lines of hello.

Please do not have all caps in the title of your poem.

There is no line limit per poem.

Please no religious references.

Please use single spaced lines.

Please remember, we welcome previously published poems.

Please put your name, City/State, and email address under your poem. No Zip


Please send your poem in both the body of an email and an attachment, no pdf


We look forward to reading your Summer submissions…

We feel blessed to publish the best Nature poets in America Days of Sun

There will be a day

when a feather will fall like an arrow

from an unlikely sky

a day when the cicadas hum

and the clouds rise majestic

There will be days, yes there will

when the frost etches forgotten scars

and the snowflakes fall heavy, slow and sad

There will be days of the peony, the poppy and rose

sensuous, insensible and full

the heartbreak hidden in the seed

And a day of sweet grass, cut and drying in the sun

the ditch of chicory and flax

some time to spend on the side of the road

sitting beside a friend, a dog, a lover, a child

yes, some such days Susan Oleferuk

Magic Dog

The day finally came

when cottonwood flew

in downy wings on a June breeze

mirrored by an angelic sky

My Black Lab and I took to the trail

with me catching as many wish-wings as I could

to send wishes to all I knew

those who could use a soft touch in a hard hour or two

My black dog walked sedately past three stunned deer

then swam among the goslings

she pointed a concerned nose at a turtle very slow

and sniffed at all the woods fragrances

I lifted my walking stick and had cottonwood like a wand

meanwhile my black dog was covered with white down

I put a long catkin on her like a crown

and she promptly ate it

I was tempted to eat the will-o-wisp in my hand

for who wouldn’t want dog magic?

Susan Oleferuk – Buchanan, NY – soleferuk@yahoo.comStacey Murphy – staceycmurphy@gmail.comA group of birds in a tree

Description automatically generated with low confidence – sends us this photo of a pair of bald eagles, one

breakfasting on a fish from Cayuga Lake.

From Grassy Key

Pink tissue peeks

from a flowered gift bag as four

eager hands place it in mine.

Inside, two photos—a grandmother’s

gold. Dressed in their own

versions of yellow, the twins

interact with dolphins.

Anna grasps a flipper in each hand.

Amy nuzzles a friendly nose.

Smiles dazzle sunlit water,

remind me why I adore this world,

why I know, that in spite of foes

and doubters, there will always

be love.

Patricia L. Goodman – Wilmington, DE – Visitations

Her new puppy pulled out

the long belt from her late husband’s robe,

left the two arms stretched forward.

It was like Jack

was reaching out to hug me, she sobbed.

Eyes rolled. But I know. Shortly

after my husband’s death he came to me

as a wild fox–his soft woofs

followed me through a cornfield.

I knelt. We talked. I feel him now

as I head off to Jack’s memorial service,

in my pocket gentle words to share.

Jack was his close friend. I don’t care

if you believe or not. All you need

is an unfettered mind, so when you look up,

and notice an eagle flying away

across the ridge, you know

you have missed a chance, and next time

you will be waiting.

Patricia L. Goodman – Wilmington, DE –


to walk along the sawdust trails

forest’s sun-filtered walls fallen birch logs,

and the fresh smell of evergreen

where aspen trees seed a needled floor

and downy white tufts become a plush carpet

that soften a shoe’s tread

where listening to wind

blow through cedars and pines is like water

lapping on a far shore

And there to rest on glacier stone to watch trilliums

commingle with oaks lady slippers

display their yellow shoes unaware that time

has disappeared.

Where a hermit thrush threads

songs of praise among the trees its melodic

range weaving a loop of garland over draped branches

to discover that breath is peace and nature

makes sense of our lives when we most need it.

Mary Jo Balistreri – Genesee Depot, WI – Praise

the sawgrass ripening and cattail wands

an eagle’s keen over the mangroves

and spoonbills mining mudflats

a lone kite angled and aloft

vultures that drape the sky

and osprey fishing from ribboned nests.

Praise the angler’s wicker creel

white caps that riff the waves

and tide edging up the pylons on the pier

the snarled wall of limbs and trees

bamboo clacking woody drums

egrets springing roosts

in light skimmed like milk.

Praise this day that leans into me

scoops me into its net

this spacious silence

this joy that is morning.

Mary Jo Balistreri – Genesee Depot, WI –

A Tree is no more than this

branches build halls of sound – Octavio Paz

Sun-body punctures the sky.

Green dipping into flower

touches her throat. She bends limbs

to reach the underside of leaves

rubs deadwood from her arms.

A cheek brushes white-lipped boughs.

Seasons change. She chews bark

to make this truth. Eyes suggest

the acorn. With only

this mud to give, buds erupt

through her skin and her pubis

is a fresh red-maple leaf.

Language has lost its meaning

Ellen ReichI think about war and then I don’t

On a brindle-shadowed walk

in the woods with my husband,

we notice the stippling on pine bark.

Beige and charcoal with a hint of mauve,

like a surreal oil on canvas.

Nature’s delicacy is healing.

This early morning in the mountain altitude

I forget that the spindle of my life is full,

that I can’t bear to read another word

about smart bombs and rockets,

about soldiers, insurgents, torture.

When I was twenty-one

I trusted, just as I trust now

that we will complete our walk

in harmony with trees and a bit

of last night’s rain

still in the shady places on the path.

Ellen Reich

The New Day

for Emily

I will leap over the gate and find you bending in your garden.

With your hands deep in soil, you will aerate the lilac tree.

I will receive its perfume. In the sunlight, pluck a blossom,

toss it to the sky over the white silk of your hair.

With the earth beneath my bare toes, I will dance

with you because I am your sister and you and I are alive.

It is a new day. Let it linger in the fragrance of your lilacs.

I will embrace you as we spin and dip

until the moon grows thin. You will not vanish,

forever held in lilac-scented memory.

Ellen Reich Spotlight

If the world is a stage

The sun must be a spotlight.

Who is the audience?

Are we players

And audience combined?

Watchers of each other?

Let me entertain you.

Excuse me, but where

Is our great script writer

Who told us about the stage

And about the players,

Who shines a spotlight

On us to wake us up?

Are we the greatest show on earth –

All of us clowns shoving ourselves

Into crowded cars,

On to crowded streets?

Will we crowd each other out?

Push each other off stage?

Or do we get thrown off

When we forget our lines?

Let me entertain you.

But will no one give me the script?

Is there no playwright in the house?

Not even a prompter?

This morning when the sun rose

Across the bay, the moon grinned

As if to say: “Go on, hurry on–

The audience is waiting.”

I must already have been on.

Where else could I have been?

If the world is a stage

I can’t be offstage.

I must be on–right here

Standing on my own two feet

Already in the spotlight:

Let me entertain you.

Joanne Stokkink – Wollaston, MA – If you like a poem/haiku, please let the poet know it…

Elegant in motion

The snake glides over water

Heron quickly eats

Ray Zimmerman – Chattanooga, TN –

High Desert Music

Cowboy sings softly to me each night,

his song a voice-over to the wind

in a plaintive coyote call,

raspy as tumbleweed in an arroyo,

sacred as silence high on Robledo Mountain,

in the staccato splatter of spring rain

annointing each thirsting grain of sand,

or in milky plumes of cirrus

swirling and curling

in the midnight chill of Picacho Peak.

The rough lyrical notes borne aloft

on pungent mesquite smoke

ricochet and reverberate

in the thunder of Pueblo gods

or the quiet drone of insects

bedding down on a canyon floor.

When cowboy sings

his throat is thick with memory,

cords husky with tobacco

and fresh desire for all things

never again to be.

Joan Vullo Obergh – Seaford, NY –

Green frog in the grass

Leaps away with sudden chirp

Floats among the weeds

Ray Zimmerman – Chattanooga, TN –

“What is any poem but a single beat from a heart overflowing with words?” – Joan Vullo

OberghKeepers of the Night

Solitary keeper

of the moon and stars,

daddy went to bed while some of us

ate roast beef and peas,

washed dishes and

memorized vocabulary words

without a single care for what it must be like

to have days and nights flipped upside down,

to rise in pre-dawn bleakness,

and tiptoe through railroad rooms

silent as a silverfish,

while everyone else remained cloaked in dreams.

Feverish, one night I sat alone,

shivering in an unlit kitchen,

staring out the window as distant skyscrapers

pricked pinpoints of light

onto the coal black mirror

of a slumbering East River.

Rising for his shift, dad must have seen

the heating pad pressed

against my wheezing chest.

Asking nothing, he hunched down

beside me,

the edge of his hand

almost touching mine,

and for a few moments

the two of us in darkness,

kept a lonely night

at bay.

Joan Vullo Obergh – Seaford, NY –

“Participation – that’s what’s gonna save the human race.” – Pete Seeger

Gleaming in the sun

Dragonfly metallic blue

On water he is prey

Ray Zimmerman – Chattanooga, TN –

Unexpected Guests

Ed opened the blinds to let

the strong sunshine into his den

for he had a lot of work to do

this morning and wanted

to get an early start.

But to his great surprise

a mama moose

and her twin calves

were lying in his backyard,

basking in the warm sun.

He called his wife in to see

this wondrous gift given to them

to watch these wild creatures

lounging happily together

on their lush, green lawn.

They watched them get up

from time to time

to eat from his prized roses,

but to his wife’s surprise

he couldn’t care less.

As the sun moved overhead

Mama and her twin calves

would get up to better

catch the warmth

of the rising sun’s rays.

A little after 12:00 when

the sun was directly overhead

and at its hottest for the day,

they moved to under the shade

of the big elm tree to rest.

By mid-afternoon, Ed realized

he had done none of the work

he had planned, promised himself,

for his busy day had gotten away

from him and he couldn’t care.They watched them all day

and as twilight was setting in

the moose got up, stretched out

long legs and wandered back into

the dense forest and disappeared.

Charles Portolano – Fountain Hills, AZ –

“Together we can. Together we will!” – Jane Goodall

If you would like to become a supporting member of The Avocet community, The Avocet is

only $28.00 for 4 – 64 page – perfectly bounded issues and 52 weeks of The Weekly Avocet,

every weekend, plus other poetry surprises, with the best Nature poetry by the best Nature

poets in America, a steal of a deal. Please think about supporting our little poetry

journal. Sample copy just $8.00

Please make your check out to The Avocet and send to:

The Avocet

P.O. Box 19186

Fountain Hills, AZ 85269

A Poetry Challenge for all Nature-loving poets in 2022. I love writing Saving Mother Earth

Challenge poems. I am always on the lookout for an article about our wondrous Mother Earth.

Please find a climate change issue about our precious planet and take the Saving Mother Earth

Challenge, and, then send it to us to share with the community…

We all call Earth our home – Have your voice be heard through your words!!!

Please put Saving Mother Earth Challenge/your last name in the subject line of your email

and send to

The Burning Question for our generation is:

What are we going to do to stop or even just slow down Climate Change?

Do you feel like there is nothing you can do about climate change? Well, there is, even if we

all do small things it will make a great difference. Alice C. Hill (the David M. Rubenstein

senior fellow for energy and the environment at the Council on Foreign Relations.) states

the first thing we all need to do is not shy away from the subject. Talk about, write about,

climate change to everyone you know and meet. Write your congressperson and Senators. Let

them know what you think and fear!

I want to do another Saving Mother Earth Weekly Avocet issue, so I am looking for poems

that address the most important issues of today, so please write about what you think and

fear of the coming end of our world as we know it. But if we join together, work together,

we can make a difference to Save Mother Earth, the only home we have.

Show you care. There are so many topics to write about when it comes to Climate Change.

Please find one you are passionate about and write about it!Please let them know we sent you. Thank you.


Description automatically generatedNorma Bradley, an Avocet poet – – writes, “When I was ready to

publish my first self-published chapbook, I called Instant Publisher. Chris was very

helpful and answered all of my questions. I am delighted with how the book turned out

and have had many positive comments. I did have help along the way to be able to get it

sent off to finally be published. What I like about self-publishing is that I made all the

choices for the cover design, font, paper etc. The copies arrived within 10 days. Being able

to speak directly with Chris made all the difference. I highly recommend Instant


Deenaz Coachbuilder writes, “I have treasured each poem in Charles Portolano’s new

collection of poetry, Wild with Life. Love and reverence for nature and those you love

imbues each page. Relationships between animals, between man and animals and birds,

between humankind and the plants we touch, smell, taste, shelter under, respect.

There is a sense of almost holiness, that they were here before us, and will remain long

after, that we are but ephemeral visitors in their world. Our power can be used to preserve

nature or destroy it.

The poems enlighten, entertain, instruct. They help us understand the world around us in

the best of ways, through the stories he tells, for did we not learn of the world through the

stories we heard, and then read, when we were children?

There is a feeling that cannot be described, when we carefully and cautiously rescue a

spider, a lizard, a bird, that has accidentally entered our home, which we release back into

their natural habitat. It is as if something has blessed us.” The American Avocet

I watch unseen this large,

long-legged shorebird,

with its pied plumage

and a dash of red

around its head and neck,

scampering along

the coastline

searching to snatch-up

some aquatic insect

or a small invertebrate

hidden beneath

the brackish waters

of this saltmarsh.

I watch unseen

it swing its odd,

long, up-curved bill

through the shallow,

still waters, catching

a tiny creature,

trapping it in its bill,

racing off to its nest to

feed her four hatchings

with this feast she found.

I watch in awe

as the male

grows protective,

fearlessly fending off

an encroaching

common black raven,

attacking this intruder,

striking at it with its bill.

I watch in wonder

as they swim as a family

just days after

the young ones are born,

then back to the nest to

rest where its kind flocks

together in a community.

Charles Portolano – Fountain Hills, AZ –

We hope we provoked you; that you leave having experienced a complete emotional response to

the poetry. I want to thank our Poets for sharing their work with us this week. And “Thank you

for reading, dear reader!” Be well, see you next weekend,

Charles Portolano, Editor/Publisher and Vivian and Valerie Portolano, Co-Editors

of The Avocet, a Journal of Nature Poetry and The Weekly Avocet, every weekend.

Copyright © 2022 by The Avocet (for our poets)


  1. Be beautiful enough to feast the eyes

    1. Hello, thanks for reading and letting us know you enjoyed.

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