A Mother Tree

You attended my first breath,
I sat by you for your last
and everything in between
was how we were
in the world together.

How I miss you now.
I think I see your feet sticking
of my jeans, but it’s only me
wearing your shoes.

In the forest
a Mother Tree …
her spirit flies
as her sapling cries.

©poem and photo by caf

Swallowtails in Autumn

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In Autumn

She builds her cocoon
from internal secretions,
winds herself tightly
within sustaining swaddling,
confined to the interior,
sheltered from curious surveillance
for a season,
there to dream her future,
await the freedom of wings
and the warming of the world.

© photo and poem by caf

Dell’s Dandelion Wine

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Old Dell’s Dandelion Wine

The neighbor lady came to Dell’s door
on summer’s hottest day.
Old Dell greeted her –
Come on inside and cool off.

He led her to the cellar
showed her the barrel of Dandelion Wine
gave her a glass.

It was the coldest, sweetest tasting thing
she’d ever had on her tongue
and as they sat in the parlor and talked –
Old Dell, his wife, and this neighbor lady –

that cold stuff in the cellar
kept calling them
to retrieve more tasty nectar
until, unable to stand without staggering,
the neighbor lady said she had to get home,
her husband would be expecting dinner.

Old Dell offered to drive her the half mile
but she declined
saying she needed the air.

Sixty years later
when she no longer requires Dandelion Wine
to stagger
she recalls that far gone day
when, wobbling home across the across the pasture
she laughed
and stopped to pick more Dandelions.

© poem and photo by caf

Saturday in Flint, 1963

bread

Saturday in Flint 1963

Saturday mornings
after we cleaned house,
washed clothes,
scrubbed the car,
mowed the grass,
watched Mr. Magic and The Three Stooges,
we would go to the bread factory (was it Tastee Bread?)
for a loaf of fresh baked bread
hot off the line
wrapped in a clear cellophane wrapper
made cloudy by the steaming of the loaf,
a twist tie around the opening.

If we got to the factory
at just the right time
we would get a loaf for free.
Otherwise it was 25 cents.

The thing smelled so good
we hardly got it home
without tasting it.

So soft it tore
when you pulled it from the wrapper,
so moist it was hard to cut
and stuck to our teeth when we chewed.

The bread factory is gone now
as is the half of Bennett Ave that ran into the river,
replaced by an expressway (I-475?)
bridging deserted neighborhoods
to the canyon where DuPont Paint and Buick once breathed
the fumes of industry and financial security
into Flint air.

This morning
I opened a loaf of fresh bread
And OH!!! JOY AND WONDEROUS BLISS!!!
My mouth remembered
Saturday mornings on Bennet Ave in Flint.

© photo and poem by carole fults

Joy and Suffering

on top of a flower

                                             Joy and Suffering
In the afternoon butterflies gather on purple flowers for a meal.
Do they ponder death and the suffering of torn wings?
Maybe sometime they will know of painful things,
but not in this moment.
Right now they know only of the blissful sucking of nectar
from warm blossoms.

There are scores of tiny frogs joyfully jumping through the grass.
Do they understand about getting chopped up in a lawn mower or
stepped on by clumsy feet?
Maybe sometime they will know about cut off limbs and ensuing death,
but not in this moment.
Right now they know only the delight of sunshine, the wetness of leaves
and the safety of rocks.

The old woman sits among the flowers where her son’s ashes are strewn.
Does she think of death as she sits, back broken and bent?
Maybe sometimes she considers her mortality,
but not in this moment.
Right now she savors the fragrance and colors of the blooms, the whistling finches,
the softness of the afternoon sun and says she feels like Eve in Paradise.

Breezes blow, cease, and blow again.
Rivers flow, tides move in and out.
Coming and going, movement and stillness, breathing in and out, birth and death,
each is marked by a pause, a moment when the motion turns.
Maybe sometime I will consider all this,
but not in this moment.
Right now I am enjoying the clouds that partially cover the sun
and the unspoken love caressing my heart.

©photo and poem by caf

 

Flint, Michigan

flint house 2The Poisoning of a City

The streets are lined with burnt out houses.
I found your old place looking as
vacant eyed as a crazy person’s mind.

(We are black, we are poor.
We are white,we are poor.)

Death – immediate and still forthcoming,
lives shattered
children living in despair ….
their relief ? … poison from a tap.

(We are black, we are poor.
We are white, we are poor.)

Chaos and violence rule the streets,
anarchy is master
and hopelessness grows
in the city that has never been loved.

© Photo and poem Carole Fults

The Gardener Talks About the Gardener

the gardner

The Gardener Talks about the Gardener
“My young gardener comes weekly
to spread mulch,
pull weeds,
clean up winter’s mess.

He bends easily, shoveling, filling,
and dumping
the large wheel barrow.
The dirt flies when he comes to work, I tell you.

Time was, I could shovel all day
and go to bed at night
thinking about digging some more in the morning.

(Now my back rebels when I pick up a trowel,
and I rejoice when I can stop
to sit after weeding a bit.)

I listen to his stories,
trying to keep up with his
quick, graceful movements
but, really, I’m hoping it’s close to lunch
or even quitting time.
One more load of weeds and you’ll
have to wheel me back to the shed.

But we do have a commonality this young gardener and me.
We both have grubby hands and fingernails,
our pants are stained with earth and grass,
and we have a deep love for what we have accomplished,
for how peaceful the shade garden is,
how the mulch adds a coolness to the rock garden,
and how we work so well together as a team
the young gardener and me, an aging woman.”