Green Hills Literary Lantern



These woods are in a mood right now:

surly, fretful, tense;

a rising wind snaps branches and

one nearly hits my head.


But that’s relaxed compared to you

who criticize my mind:

“you never give a thought to what

might suddenly go wrong.”


And so my veggie burger chain,

franchises coast to coast,

plummets under your stern math,

just like this quick redtail descent,

sharp as talons furback--bound

on a mid-March morning.


Storm is coming, that’s for sure --

wind’s more of a whirlwind now --

nude fluttering branches spiking the sky

as all the birds take shelter.


“The season’s shuddering,” I murmur, and

your tone uplifts.


“That’s poetry, I much prefer it

to your profiteering.”


The fattest raindrop ever seen

almost drowns an ant

hardying up the bark

of a nearby oak.


“Let’s move on with the wind and rain,”

you say,

and lean into my shoulder;


everywhere gaunt branches creak

while rain falls cold as winter.




The Worrier


This sycamore shows some anxiety --

one twisted branch, six drooping leaves, a bend

midtrunk where perfect upness used to be:

perhaps too much time worrying....the wind

might catapult her straight up from the ground;

or acid rain, ground water’s stains, the tilt

of spring to summer cause real pain.  No sound

of animal will reassure, no lilt

of warbler’s song nor rustling vole deny

this forest has its share of treacheries.

And listen to her, too; her creaks are sighs

as wistful as this too warm midMarch breeze.

Above a red tail stalks with ruthless gaze,

a source of worry since no tree can laze

and bask in such mild gusts when fiercest spikes

may soon perch-split her bark.  Upset, she looks

straight up with leafy eyes; then hawk descends.




The Giddy Triumph of Dank


Lilies wilt.


You’d never know it from their gleam in June,

their solstice-shimmer,

and how the white noon sun

makes their green greener

against a black still pond.


But now it’s cusp-of-late-August,


and they lie a little listless,

quarter inch from pale,

just a hint of shrivel and brown

though the sun is still exuberant.


Black water gleams,

in the giddy triumph of dank.


Lilies, though, can wilt,

as can we.




Lee Slonimsky is the co-author, along with poet Katherine Hastings, of a 2013 chapbook, Slow Shadow/White Delirium, from Word Temple Press in Santa Rosa CA.  His fifth full length collection, Wandering Electron, is out in fall 2014 from Spuyten Duyvil Press of New York City.  Poems are recent or forthcoming in Blue Lyra Review, The Classical Outlook, Glass, The New York Times, Otoliths, Poetry Bay, and other publications.  Lee conducts a NYC poetry writing workshop called “Walking with the Sonnet.”