Oddments

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Connections: October 16

SANYO DIGITAL CAMERA“Hey, Bertrand, is that you?

I hate to say it, but you’re blockin’ my view!”

“Go away, Bug — you bother me!

But first give a push on my lower left knee.”

“You’re gettin’ on, Bert. You need to let up.

You don’t have your old go-and-get-up.”

“The gallardia ain’t what they used to be —

it’s gotta be them. I know it’s not me.”

“You’ve put on a few. You’re rounded and stout.

Your legs are rickety and there’s your gout.”

“Bosh and foolery! You don’t know.

You young bugs are all about show.

But fast isn’t everything; life’s not about speed,

buzzin’ and zoomin’ all hawed and gee’d.

So be on your way, revved up and juiced,

but, before you bug off, just give me a boost.”

Connections


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Connections: September 6

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Photobombed is too mild a word.

Yesterday, trying to close-up the butterfly, I was divebombed by the bee.

Beebombed!

Here he is, trying to make his get-away.

Never fear, dear reader: the intrepid backyard photographer

(that would be me)

is investing in a coat of armor and will soon be back on the job.

Connections


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Connections: September 5

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The zinnia is a patient flower,

enduring insults by the hour.

The finches yank her petals fair,

 and spit the petals anywhere

after they’ve guzzled the seeds.

Then a bee has a thought

of a little zinnia merlot

but he overdoes

can’t even buzz

and

sidewards

bemoans his intemperate deeds.

Connections


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Chantey

Sing a summer song
and you can’t go wrong,
a little rhythm and blues,
and a few other hues,
with a hum,
buzz,
flap.

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A coneflower snack
a jeweled backpack,
nectar to go,
and a do-si-do,
with a hum,
buzz,
flap.

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A poke and a sip,
a birdbath dip,
hangin’ with the dill
near the zinnia frill
with a hum,
buzz,
flap.

The air of the phlox,
a quick detox,
hummingbird sage
in its airy cage,
with a hum,
buzz,
flap.

A swoop and a swerve
it’s all self-serve
you can’t miss a beat
or you won’t get to eat,
with a hum,
buzz,
flap.

It won’t do to mope
on the heliotrope
or shilly-shally
down pansy alley,
with a hum,
buzz,
flap.

Gotta beat those wings
and slurp those things,
you gotta fly spry
or you’ll come up dry,
with a hum,
buzz,
flap.

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It’s not just fun
in the summer sun
but serious biz —
that’s the way it is —
when you’re on the wing,
can’t chirp or sing,
but hum,
buzz,
flap.

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Sotted and swollen
with socks of pollen
in frenzied note
from wing and throat
with their own bugspeak
and hummingbird squeak,
mostly
hum,
buzz,
flap.

Gentle percussion
over balm and nasturtium
pulse of the garden
cause of my bardin’
soft sound splinter,
I miss you in winter,
with a hum,
buzz
flap,
oh, flap!

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Putting by, part one

Do you know about “putting by”? The animals do. The mornings now sparkled by frost, winter looms nearer, and the beasties know that food is everything: eat, drink, and put by.

The nimble bee in the October garden feels the urgency.
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As the marigolds crinkle into seed pods, he twists among the petals, seeking summer leftovers, some for him and some for his family, no doubt. I picture tiny Mason jars put by in the hive, and I am transported immediately to our old fruit cellar.

It was a ghastly place, closed off from the basement by a wooden door straight from “Alice in Wonderland”; as you stepped up into the cellar through that shortened door, you became instantly too big and had to duck to avoid concussion from the ceiling. A bare lightbulb with dinky chain hung about two feet from your forehead. Straight ahead, a window with a murky view of grass. To your right, shelves with Mason jars. To your left, a cramped subterranean dungeon with neglectibles and more shelves. Another bare bulb. Jaundiced newspaper shelf-liners. Crawling things with many legs. It was damp, cold, and creepy.

Everything Mom and Grandma put by was kept in the cellar. Thus the rows of home-canned green beans and freestone peaches, the beans a putrid don’t-eat-me color, and the peaches ever summery. You may believe that absolutely nothing erases the memory of green-beans-gone-bad in a creepy fruit cellar. Putting by had its risks, both gastric and visual, and, for all its virtues of frugality and (usually) flavor, home-canned was not mourned when it gave way to store-bought — not in our house.

But there was more to putting by. Another post, another day.


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The muse in the zinnias

Zinnia babies!
Little Ys
for YAY, I LIVE!
SHOW ME SKY!SANYO DIGITAL CAMERA

Leafy cloud birthing
a bud — a thought —
green nascent inkling,
memory-wrought.SANYO DIGITAL CAMERA

Then topaz and garnets,
ruffles of gold,
breeze-floated finery,
gemmed butterfly road.SANYO DIGITAL CAMERA

Ripples of citrus,
dollops of cream,
bees imbibe wantonly,
stripes popping at seams.SANYO DIGITAL CAMERA

Asteraceously proud
but democrat still,
comfy with beeblossom,
bedbug and dill.SANYO DIGITAL CAMERA

A bowl full of summer!
A head full of words —
which will stretch up
and burst sun-towards?SANYO DIGITAL CAMERA

Zinnias are symbol
of dear, absent friends —
some, fellow writers.
And this is the end.SANYO DIGITAL CAMERA


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Bertrand

I do not know how it is that I know his name is Bertrand, but I do. He visits my garden, feigning indifference, but I know he wants me to notice him. He labors mid-air and mid-stalk, single-minded and resonant. I have heard snatches of song about his ladylove, Bea. She is the reason he toils.

One scorching summer day I watched Bertrand coolly waft from pale gallardia to waned marigold. “Silly bee,” I said. “Sour juice! Why would you drink it?”

“Silly human,” I heard. “I do not drink the juice. I drink the color. Do you see how the flowers fade? Where did the color go? In me! I take it for the winter. You think blankets are warm? You should try orange and red.”

Summer aged. Bertrand became the lone buzz in the garden. “Silly bee!” I said. “Can’t you read? It says ‘Butterfly Bush’! You aren’t a butterfly!”

“Silly human!” I heard. “Do you see any butterflies? They’re gone. This is mine. This purple is the real color of the Valentine, and Bea will have it in February when you have only flimsy reds in a world of grey and beige. I will feel sorry for you.”

Then October. With charred tips and spikey seedpods, the garden remnants bowed to the winter gods, whose fiat had already inflamed the trees. A few fragile lavender stalks rose over the tired lot, and Bertrand clambored over them; they arched with his weight. “Silly bee,” I said. “There’s little there. Why such effort?”

“Silly human,” I heard. “Do you know nothing? There is fragrance here. Transcendence. Bea will have it when all you have is the scent of the furnace.”

When the snow dances in the windowlight, I will wonder.

Getting a buzz from purple.

Getting a buzz from purple.