Thursday, March 31, 2011

A Dance with Death

Shortly after the beginning of World War II, three new air force regiments were created in the Soviet Union- one bomber regiment and two fighter regiments. This would be unimportant if it wasn't for the fact that they were entirely composed of women. These women were some of the best fighter pilots, mechanics, and navigators to take to the skies. Some would be transferred to men regiments because of their skill. Some would be known as "Night Witches," who dropped bombs on the enemy as they slept.  And two of their number would go on to become the first and only two women fighter aces in the world- Katya Budanova and Lilya Litvyak.

Sixty-nine of these remarkable women were interviewed. 
A Dance with Death records their stories of breaking through the gender barrier, of their daring in battle, and of their friendship for one another. It's truly a thrill to read.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

nearly there

a warm spring day until
a rainstorm
came out of nowhere
hammered its raindrops down
like iron nails splattering
on my face
as if they're strong
enough to dint my bike.

i turn the corner
skidding slightly
water spins from my wheels
the odor of wet asphalt
and vegetation fills my nostrils
sodden shirt clings to my limbs
as I fight to keep out
of the drainage ditch.

clench my hands
around the handlebars
a brown UPS truck
hurtles toward me
not seeing me
not seeing me
(how can it not see me)
i swerve off the road
splash into the ditch
feel a rush of air as the trunk passes
centimeters away.

the drainage ditch licks at my knees
sucking wetly
i wrench my bike out of a mire
of gum wrappers and coke cans
wipe the rain beads from my eyelashes
heave my bike back onto the road
at the end of the lane I can see my house
red bricks blurred by sheets of rain
'i'm nearly there'
i force myself on
nearly there
nearly there...

Sunday, March 20, 2011

first day of spring

photo from Wikimedia

I open the door
and run into spring
drinking up 
the turquoise sky streaked
with wisps of cloud.

Rejoicing in the new grass
slippery with dew
I leap up the hill
to the cherry tree,
laden with blossoms
a young bride with
flowers woven into her hair.

I spin
the pink blooms
flying above my head
like flowers painted
on a pinwheel
My feet pound
with the beat of my heart
I reach out my arms
as if I would take wing
with the hawks above
soaring on the breast
of the thermals,
free as forever.

Sunday, March 13, 2011


from Wikimedia

I stretch up
high above
the Sierra Nevadas
top branches heavy
with gleaming morning dew
I have lived so long
so long that I have forgotten my age
My trunk is a silent chronicle
of the years
needle-sized holes
from woodpecker beaks
bare patches
where deer have nibbled
and scars
from forest fires.

Sometimes humans come
like squeaking mice
around my roots
and photograph me
once a group of ten
tried to link hands
around my bole
and could not do it
was it ten
or twelve?
There have been so many
and I am too tired
to remember.

I tower above
my children
that are scattered
all around me
when I fall
to earth
(so far to fall)
they will take my place
become even taller
because of my leaving.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Wolf Brother

Wolf Brother by Michelle Paver

      One hellish night, Torak's father is killed by an insane bear. But on that same night, a flash flood wipes out a wolf pack- all but one cub. Torak stumbles across the wolf cub and realizes that he can actually understand his yips and howls. The two orphans travel through the Forest together until they meet the Raven Clan.
       There, they learn that a very tangible shadow is creeping through the woods- the bear, who is possessed by a demon. Long ago, the Raven Clan received a prophecy of this shadow, and the one who would defeat it.
It describes Torak perfectly.
Torak and Wolf set out on a remarkable journey that leads them across glaciers, through the heart of the Forest, and into perils that will test their friendship.

        I found Wolf Brother a exhilarating breath of ancient air. The plot never flagged, the prose never wavered, and  the characters never disappointed. It is the first in a six part series, and every sequel improves upon the previous volume.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

first growth

(photo from Wikipedia)

The garden is empty
exept for a few straggling twigs
tangled, like wet hair.
It looks so dead.
I drive a shovel down into the earth
lay bare the raw spring soil.
Green shoots crawl out
past roots and gravel
struggling through the dirt
to the light.

Like Persphone,
spending six months
in the underworld
then coming back
through the earth
to light and freedom and love.
Digging her way
scraping her rosepetal
hands on rocks and roots
it's a hard journey
but well worth it.

I spot the bump
that will become a bud
and then a blossom.
What kind?
I can wait.
I cover the young plants
for they will do the rest
on their own.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

a few rainbows

I found some gorgeous coats!
very violet

elegant black and white
a day in the woods
rainbows and rainbows!

I was cruisin' Etsy when I happened across this store. Apparently, the maker goes to different thrift stores, buys old sweaters, and make something completely new and beautiful-with only a serger!
She calls them her elf coats.
Hmm, I wonder if I could do something similar...

(disclaimer: all photos belong to Katwise)