Violet Hill

This entry is part 87 of 91 in the series Toward Noon: 3verses


The first surveyor—1795—
labeled this mountain Violet Hill.
Did he study it in the blue distance,

or see right at his feet
the crowds of violets fluttering
under the attention of the rain?

A warbler just back from the tropics
sings quietly, as if trying to locate
all the notes.


This entry is part 85 of 91 in the series Toward Noon: 3verses


A haze of jewelweed sprouts,
the dimpled embryonic leaves
like conjoined twins.

From the valley, the sound
of horses pulling a buggy
in their eight steel shoes.

The crooked sassafras—
something has found under its bark
a blood-colored door.

Up in the hollow

This entry is part 81 of 91 in the series Toward Noon: 3verses


A small cloud on the cliff
above the railroad tracks—
the shadbush is in bloom.

As I drive up the hollow on
our one-lane road, a red-tailed hawk
passes me going down.

All the spring ephemerals are emerging,
leaves wrinkled and damp
like freshly pitched tents.

In hepatica time

This entry is part 78 of 91 in the series Toward Noon: 3verses


It’s cold. Mid-day
and the hepatica flowers are still
only half-open, nodding

on their thin stalks.
My mother tallies them up—
stroke-marks in her notebook.

At the top of a hemlock tree,
a porcupine sleeps in a sunlit
halo of quills.

Trailing arbutus

This entry is part 71 of 91 in the series Toward Noon: 3verses


The first warm day.
The mountain hums with insects
and the valley with motorcycles.

Between twists of old coyote scat
and dried grass curled
tight as pubic hair,

close to the ground, the trailing
arbutus’ fragrant parts
begin to open.

Butterfly Loop 4

See Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3

common milkweed with beetles 3

As I near the southwestern end of Butterfly Loop, a monarch catches my eye. He circles a few times and heads straight for a small clump of common milkweed I hadn’t noticed, half-hidden behind a locust tree. He stays only for a couple of seconds before moving on, however — perhaps because the flowers are covered with various species of beetles, busy feeding and mating and clambering over each other in their excitement. It’s interesting the extent to which one can find quite distinct gatherings of insects in neighboring milkweed patches. I imagine it’s a combination of which stage the flowers are in and what other sorts of plants they adjoin, but who knows, really? Continue reading “Butterfly Loop 4”