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Juhlhaus Jul 2019
I felt a tree's heart one summer
Night after the heatwave;
The wood was damp where abandoned
Roots drew the cool groundwater, still
Trying to make cells, shade, and scent
As they'd done for more years than I
Walked by without pause,
Until the tree was gone.
Juhlhaus Jul 2019
It is for no ill will, no caprice on the part of fire, but for love. Man wakens fire from sleep, feeds her, cares for her, and keeps her alive. And so she smiles on him with friendly light, warms him, whispers to him mysterious songs, and drives away all that would sting, bite, harass, or harm. For as man loves fire, so fire loves man and delights in his company, all the more in wild and lonely places.
Juhlhaus Jul 2019
In June, I saw
A beautiful white spider
On my backpack.
It was eating a mosquito.
I will write a poem
About it later.
Juhlhaus Jul 2019
O black toad,
Sage of the sodden floor,
Grant me your stoicism
As I my go labored way.
And may you prosper,
Consume legions, grow fat;
Yet deftly elude all
Who would do you injury.
A tribute to the noble toad of the Northwoods.
Juhlhaus Jul 2019
The Sun kissed me goodbye
With a parting ray and left me
To walk the woods alone
Through green into gray.
Some say you can't see
The stars for the rain, but
Come what may, I will follow them
Until I find the Sun, see her light
And feel her warmth again.
I composed this while backpacking on the North Country Trail. The trail's symbol, which appears on its signposts, is Polaris: the North Star.
Juhlhaus Jun 2019
Every now and then,
Someone lights up your world
Like breaking weather,
Scattering the clouds
And baptizing your soul
In a deluge of colors.

Every now and then,
Someone captures emotions
Like bluebottle flies
In a jar, only to release,
Too delighted ever
To pin them with names.

Every now and then,
Someone dares you to dance
With words or muscle memory,
And laughs with you
When flailing efforts prove
That you almost can.

Every now and then,
Someone glows like Traffic Lights
And points you to new roads
They've traveled on before:
Ways that part and meet again,
Every now and then.
Juhlhaus Jun 2019
You neatly told me
That your muse is more a student
Of mountain writing
Than of poems; the way they go in
And out, all natural and deserted.

How otherwise can one know
The heart of the matter than
To isolate the heart, at least
For a moment or several, with
What remains of earth and air?

Leave it alone without water.
Send it into the woods with nothing but
A flimsy packet of beef jerky,
No swimwear, and hope
That the sky doesn't pour itself in riot.

So be ready for anything with
The grace to let the self be
Washed, dunked in a lake
Of coffee to emerge what it could
Have been from the beginning.
Written as a round-robin with one of my favorite fellow poets.
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