Category Archives: Nature

While Planting

When I am with thee
I am both weak and light
yet I know thee –
my body an interpreter,
able to feel your breath
in the breeze on its cheek
the warmth of your golden afternoon
on its skin,
while your fragrance carried to the air
from a thousand petals
reaches for me.
Beloved, I am thankful that you stop at nothing
that I may know only your embrace.

PBSweeney . April 10, 2008 . Clearwater


Note from Self

I found myself today standing quite still, after working in light rain expanding the small flower bed near the sun room window. The rain was quiet for a moment, but the trees and low growth were not. There was much little flutterings and chirbles and pips. I realized I was standing in the midst of a roving band of chickadees, on the hunt for insects and bits of tasty things. My stillness, I guess, was automatic. And they did not seem to mind me because of it. I would not say, as some might, or as I perhaps might have suggested even a year ago, that they came to me, or were drawn to me by my peaceful energy. The I of me, had little to do with it. I was merely in their path, and as I did not present myself as one of the more excitable humans, they continued on their path, coming quite close to me, even peering at me and pausing for a time. “Hi,” I said to one in particular who was two feet above me on a slender branch. It was an ineffectual hi, it just came out, because we were eye to eye and well, I didn’t want to be rude. Such a tiny bead of an eye. He moved on without rushing, as did his roving mates. But for a time, I was in the thick of them without any fuss. As they moved off, I scanned the trees and the undergrowth, feeling a little lonely. They were nice to be with, those chickadees, even if like most creatures, they were just on their way somewhere.



Even now, the day wide open in its noontime,

the sea as blue and restless as a buried past,

my night’s breathing and sighing for you

     overtakes me.

Rapt in a peculiar bliss, I have bridged

a catalogue of grieving, longer than the naming of ships.


Here, in the bellflower’s pendula, the swallowtail

unfurls it’s slender probe into the heart of the bloom

     and drinks.

And the bloom releases the breath of it’s sweetness,

the essential food.       Indeed, I have become,

bliss and bloom and heart and food

    for thee. 


(to Eric Whitacre’s Cloudburst)

A young man’s choral
and symphonic works fill
the early hours before light comes
loud over the hill.
No ordinary music, this
as it palpitates the nerve endings,
spine, heart, for signs of life.
It is filled with longing.

Gradually, the tree at my window
fills with birds
of every sort, even those who do not
get on together, the territorial
pairs and their agitated cousins.
How to explain that, and to whom?
Who would listen to birds
who would not listen to bees,
or glacial sheering into the sea
or dolphins, baleen whales, drought, winds
heat and barrenness, terra de-forma.

My companions are deaf.
Acts of war distract us,
while we continue to feed the giant
machines that serve us and eat us
in the same ghastly breath.



(I don’t know Mr. Whitacre, or very much about his music, except the few pieces I have listened to, which I have a feeling are inadequate to fully appreciate him. I am greatly moved. That said, the birds happened and this poem happened, and trust he will not be offended, if reading. You may learn about him and listen to his work here, and I found he also has a blog, here, about his process.)

Closing In

Whorls of lichen on a branch
is my universe

the white breast of a junco resting there
is the range of my vision
an ice crystal, a solitary seed
a brown leaf caught

one red berry
one golden crowned kinglet
her small heart beating
past the stone and the swale.



We have winds from the ocean
a hurricane that has ripped up the coast
I wish I could smell it.
I am traveling there,
out of these unyielding granite bone-yards
where at any moment I expect to find a cache
of profound extinction.

I am watching the wind lift the boughs
in that way – that way
that is arousing
weather is arousing.

Soon I’ll be where the wind takes hold of you
where your breath and pulse
are subject to an untender mercy
I can hear it calling through my weeping.


Pbsweeney . Clearwater . 11.03.2007

Along the Ridge

Silence like this
fills the ears – it overflows
toward the ridge of the Trapezius
Another hour, and it slips
past Eustachian hollows
pools in a yawning stomach
a cooler drink than water’s slake.

When full enough of silence
buoyed and light
these Achilles look to touch the road
where dust and clay, the crumbled core
are eddied in the empty wake.

pbsweeney July 2007 Clearwater