Monday, August 26, 2019


This week, we will hear three more of the men's eloquent voices. Michael Phan, who writes at  grapeling: it could be that, Eric Erb of erbiage, and Scott Hastie of his blog of the same name, are sharing a poem each that we know you will enjoy. Let's dive in!

give me the far winds that feather heaven,
that twist and tumble and clutch
autumn’s last leaf to earth’s hearth.
give me ice, and rest
and the earth chilled to silence
only seeds hear.
give me tendrils. give me a cherry’s flirty first blossoms
, emerald hills spiced with orange and mauve,
a double-winged dragonfly patient as water.
give me skies paling pink, trilling crickets,
light high as the north star,
cool red watermelon with plenty of seeds;
give me your eyes’ fire, the thump in your breast,
the wisp of your bangs,
your forefinger’s crook motion
– your vermillion lips
– your heart sharp as words
for if you give me your days
you will have mine 

Sherry: Your imagery is so rich in this poem, Michael. Just lovely.

Michael: Just a poem about seasons, and maybe keeping an eye open to details...

Sherry: And beautifully done. Eric's poem employs wonderful imagery, too. Let's take a peek.

I’ll try to write this in your terse speech
Upon the skin of my kin you call paper
Such a small word for the crushed pulp
Of my people. There is nothing in that word
Of the books you make of it, nor
How it is the vessel of your moments.
Nor the majesty that stood centuries
Rooted like we are in the sky,
Nose to the ground.
But these small words of yours are upside down
And backwards. It’s our branches that hold
Us fast in spirit. The matted whiskerbeard
Is what keeps us kissing the earth. The
Parts and the meaning are entwined.
The same, and not. But where was I?
In this poem of a time that ticks
In trees long perception.
What persists, what appears
In one moment, gone the next
Like deer
Most of us sleep all winter
A trick we taught the bear-clan people
Winter is as night in treetime
And the thing you call summer
We call day, in our language.
We hardly notice the strobe
Of that thing you use that word for…
If you want to see the world
As we see it, sit. Be still.
Stop tricking yourselves
With your movie-reel motion.
Though in this too, like poems
Is a truth that is not present.
Moments, when strung together
Never become water.
I know that river
It licked my toes once
Egged on by angry thunderheads
There are some poems that
Can only be discerned at night
Then their words swell and ripen
Their bitter meaning sound sweet.
This I hear in the sigh and creak of branches
Sit in darkened rooms
Run the wheels at breakneck pace
Love the lie of video.
Or if you dare, and can find out how,
Slow the footage and you’ll come to know
Each moment is its own now.

Sherry: I love this poem, which reflects upon trees - and us - so wonderfully. "Each moment is its own now" is a great closing line.

Eric: We take so much from trees, and they just keep giving.  It doesn’t seem like we take the most valuable thing they offer though.  I’ve been trying to be still, and pay more attention to things I take for granted.

There have always been trees near my home, and at this house there are two big venerable pines, and a river.  Their presence I often notice even when I can’t see them.  So our disrespect of them was prominent, and how could we ever understand a life that seems so different from ours.  It was written in springtime, when the trees were just waking up from winter, so that got in there too.  This was a gift from the trees to the humans, I’m grateful that I was able to get out of the way and let it flow.

Sherry: me, too. How lovely, to live near ancient trees and a river. Thanks, Eric. Let's see what Scott has for us today.


See how,
The stream’s
Silvery edge,
Reflected light
Dances on the surface
Of rushing water.

The very essence
Of life
And motion itself,
Effortlessly tapping
Into timeless truths
That, once absorbed,
Echo right back
At you
More than ever before.

And with a peerless
That’s both soothing
And humbling
Of how,
In a single lifetime,
One could never oneself
Such knowing grace,
Gather up such melody,
Nor offer such endless

Still here
With the chance
Of some
Sweet release though.

And, for so many
Amongst us,
Would that it were so!

To dream
That one day,
Such a river might flow. 

Sherry: I love those closing lines!

Scott: I regard the over-arching theme of my work to be a personal investigation into the positive potential of the human spirit. This I think is clearly evident, running through most of my poems. Not that I believe my work can ever be said to be some sweet pastoral panacea, because it never shies away from pain or suffering – and is prepared to also explore the darkness, as well as the light and, crucially, the fundamental significance of their inter reaction. This being, to me, the absolute axis (the truly dynamic and crucial interdependence of the light and dark, of joy and sorrow, of love and loss, in the grand Romantic tradition) and that key notion of duality which I hope still lies solidly at the heart of my work and my approach.

I remain determined always to be challenging enough to try and reach deep into the core of the meaning of the human experience - although I do readily accept that, as my work has developed, then my voice has also become more reflective and spiritual in its emphasis.

I have aimed, at any time in my career, to always be as simply expressed and as readily accessible as possible – For me, this is a vital component of all my work to date. And it is here that you can also hopefully see how simple often short line length structures also play their part – though still carefully shaped for emphasis, controlled rhythm and musicality that lifts key passages, enhances meaning and always looks to carefully and lyrically draw the reader towards the concluding climax of any piece. The success of which for me is always a critical consideration and the key litmus test of success of any particular poem. Hope you enjoyed See How!

Sherry: I did indeed, as well as your process for writing it. Thanks for sharing, Scott.

Well, my friends, wasn't this a treat? Thank you, gentlemen, for sharing your fine poems and thoughts with us. Do come back and see who we talk to next. Who knows? It might be you!


  1. Re-reading these gems has started my morning off so wonderfully. Trees, rivers, the present moment that is our Now.........we hope you enjoy these beauties - and the beauties growing all around you, outdoors. Smiles.

  2. I really enjoyed reading the three fine poems by these poets. They ARE beautiful. Thank you, Sherry, and poets for an enjoyable read.

  3. Beautiful writes, all three. From seasons, to trees, to rivers, you can feel the presence of the natural world that creates a connecting line (at least for me) between each of these pieces. I was particularly grabbed by these lines "But these small words of yours are upside down / And backwards." in Treetime. I was struck by two images - an old printer in which the letters are put in upside down and backwards before pressed onto paper and lying on the ground looking up at the leaves and seeing everything from the opposite direction. All three were wonderful to read. Thank you for sharing.

  4. Lori, when I was young, I was a newspaper reporter - back in the day when linotype men used those backwards upside-down letters to print the news. They could read it as easily as we read normally.

    1. I used to take books and read them upside down. I got quite adept at it. I'm not sure it's such a useful skill but definitely a good conversation starter! Lol!

    2. It was a useful skill before everything was kept on computers, Lori – when someone sitting across a desk from you had notes in front of them which they didn't want you to read and didn't realise you could! E.g. doctors not telling you the whole truth.

  5. I do love all the poems with their fresh way of looking at nature to use it as a mirror for us... the humans, trying to understand things a tree or a river just does by being a tree or a river.

  6. Nature! Do we slow down enough to see it? to learn from a tree? to hear silence and feel the river flow within? I enjoy the themes these poems address. And these are my absolutely favorite lines: "And the thing you call summer
    We call day, in our language.
    We hardly notice the strobe
    Of that thing you use that word for"
    Maybe these are all love poems. Thank you all!

  7. Splendid poems! Beautifully imaged, layered pieces … wonderfully rendered … they read like a lovely, lingering stroll through nature. Thanks, Sherry, Michael, Eric and Scott.

  8. Love the freshness in all of these reflective poems. Thank you Sherry, Michael, Eric and Scott.

  9. They were a beautiful beginning to my day. Any one of them a treat in itself, and all three blending beautifully.

  10. I find all of these to have served me as a literary meditation on nature. How wonderful to be part of this nature in this human form. This is a wonderful blend of poems - all beautiful and inspirational.

  11. Nature poems always speak to our souls......thank you, gentlemen, for brightening our day.

  12. Beautiful, all. I doubt I'll ever be able to write poetry so well. I took the Evelen Wood speed reading course. Our minds gearing our reading have be directed to read faster than we speak. The brain will assemble the words superfast to make sence, reading several lines at a time swiping across the page. Ultimate might be four swipes per page. Reading upside down is on the same principle, let the brain work.
    Sorry, I diverged from these awesome poems and writers.
    BTW, start learning to speed read by pacing yourself across the page, then a line at a time, then do it backwards or two, three, four, to your max, at a time. Both need to be mastered. Reading comprehension should also increase immensely with dedication and no distractions.

    1. "sense"
      Sherry, you can delete this comment, not much is on subject. Sorry.

  13. No way, Jim, I am happy you weighed in! I read relatively quickly, as I go through a stack of books a week.....but I prefer the enjoyment of reading normally to speed reading. I dont think I would have the comprehension if I speeded up. Mostly because of my age at this point. As it is, I forget what I have read (or watched) almost sister says I only need ONE movie and ONE book. LOL.

  14. These three poems collectively serve as a master class on reflecting upon things right in front of us; things we frequently take for granted in this world that's in too much of a hurry to stop and smell the roses.

    Lovely work, gentlemen.

  15. I agree - and the things we take for granted, we soon will realize are precious, as climate change changes everything about the world we live in.

  16. Thank you, Sherry, for sharing the work and thoughts of three extremely talented men.


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