chocolate is a verb

colors, flavors, whims and other growing things

Tag Archives: seasons

found poem: the break

found poem © j.i. kleinberg ~ the break
found poem © j.i. kleinberg


found poem: within

found poem © j.i. kleinberg ~ within
found poem © j.i. kleinberg

found poem: wind

found poem: A week

found poem: a cloudless

found poem: chill

found poem: orange

found poem: unforgettable

found poem: summer

found poem: contemplate

found poem: winter,

September, wistfully

Jonagold applesAfter the rain — yesterday’s really BIG rain — the morning earth is nearly black, the greens ultra green. In some places, September is the hottest month. But here, in our corner of Cascadia, the word Fall has found its way into many conversations. There’s a chill in the morning and evening, and leaves on the ground. I consider that it might be time to put away the fans, time for a heavier blanket on the bed, for sweaters and socks, for moving a pile of firewood nearer the back door. The garden beckons me with its autumn work, apples heavy on the tree, a last clutch of plums ready to pluck.


cotoneaster juniper fog
Unusual weather has settled upon us. After a run of perfect autumn days, fog crept in. First, just for a morning visit. Then morning and evening. Then just fog all fog.

As the maples blaze copper and red and the last of the green tomatoes ripen on the kitchen counter, fog glazes every surface with its speckled dampness. In the first days it seemed to hold warmth. But now it carries a deep chill, sends us searching for sweaters, resigns us to the tick and roar of the heater and infuses our conversations. Is summer, we sigh, really over?

And everywhere, spider webs. As if readying for Halloween, the slow, fat-bellied spiders of autumn have knitted up the garden, dropped their silken ropes from eaves and slung nets along fences. The morning’s lingering darkness reveals a pale patchwork of webs high on the telephone pole, caught in the street light’s wan pinkish glow.

The spiders instruct me with their industry.

the season…


heather in MarchHere in the upper lefthand corner of the U.S., in the early-March garden, spring is mostly a matter of hints and suggestions. The bare wood of the plum twigs and hydrangea stalks now show fattening nubs and leaflets. An inch of red-brown peony pokes up through the soil. The precocious azaleas and rhododendrons seem to gather themselves from their winter bedraggled-ness and ready a crown of tight, yet-colorless buds. Upon the accidental touch, the juniper’s nearly-invisible cones billow forth a cloud of pollen. The cotoneaster, still bearing some of its red berries, pushes out its first tiny, leathery leaves. Hellebores unfurl their shy, downward-facing blooms. But oh, the heather. Nothing shy. Nothing subtle. The garden’s Pied Piper. Just that pure, announcing color that says hang on, don’t despair, spring is almost here and the long, languorous days of summer can’t be far behind.

off the press!

Uttered Chaos: TurnSo pleased to have my poem November included in the Uttered Chaos anthology, Turn, Laura LeHew, editor, ISBN 978-0-9889366-0-7.

The volume’s theme is months of the year, with additional poems by Ayelet Amittay, Jose Araguz, Shawn T. Boyle, Marie Buckley, Kathleen Cain, Lydia Foster, Laura Gamache, Quinton Hallett, Marilyn Johnston, Susan Kenyon, Laura LeHew, Ellaraine Lockie, Cheryl Loetscher, Amy MacLennan, Catherine McGuire, Rick McMonagle, Amy Miller, Nancy Carol Moody, Sharon Lask Munson, Liz Nakazawa, Marisa Petersen, Eileen Peterson, Tim Pfau, Kathryn Ridall, Kit Sibert, Bonnita Stahlberg, Charles F. Thielman and Caitlin Walsh.

on golden…

September’s labor…

the crabapple in January and April

We roll around through the seasons of northwest light, mornings reclaimed by darkness, evenings cinched down minute by minute, consumed by night.

I prune trees, a seasonal obsession. Each tree is a complex hairdo, a living art project. Squinting from across the yard, I target the wood that will be cut, but standing by the tree a moment later, I can no longer tell whether it’s this branch or that one, so I go back, memorize the pattern, approach again. When I find the best angle to reach a branch, the sun glares from directly behind it, so I recalculate, walk in circles craning upward.

Apologizing for my intrusion, I climb among the lichened branches of the crab apple, hair snagged and dragged from under my scarf. I’m cautious, aware of the hazards — the ladder, the saw, the trajectory of a falling branch. Nearby, a wasp tests the purple leaves but doesn’t alight. Spiders set their nets, grab at my clothes, parade across the top of my sunglasses. Sawdust rains onto their webs.

Loppers, clippers, saw, then wrestle the cut branches to the ground; they want to stay aloft. Down the ladder, up, down, walk away, turn, measure, chop twigs into the green-waste bin, circle, calculate, picture the tree naked. Up the ladder, down. The adjacent apple tree, desperate for pruning, calls to me. I don’t listen.

Parsing the sentences of branches, I edit the tree.


sedum in bloom
The robin’s voice echoes through the patio, liquid, vivid. The garden is over-ripe, every twig sprung loose, every branch weighted with whatever fruit the season could make. Peas swing and twirl, favas reach up, sweet peas climb. Ivy and buttercups and bindweed battle each other to reclaim the hillside, the fence, the shed, the compost bin. Summer’s bounty.


Caspian TernChilly mornings, warm days, cool evenings signal the end of summer with a kind of squeezing poignance… an artifact of school days, perhaps, or maybe it’s the animal’s knowing that this time out of the den, this mindless frolicking in flowers, will soon end.

Ahead of the wind, ahead of the short, dark days, this sweet nostalgia: nibbling berries, sniffing the ripening apples, tracking the sun’s journey back from the north, its migration down the Pacific flyway, with the goose and the tern, toward the safe climes of a tropical winter.
Caspian tern photo copyright © 2006, Alan D. Wilson, Nature’s Pics

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