a literary journal published by the Black Earth Institute dedicated to re-forging the links between art and spirit, earth and society

Ann Fisher-Wirth


Day 65

I’m tired of saying oh the birds,

listen to the birds,

as once again, they parcel out the sky.

 

I want to feel how their songs are gifts

 

and the leggy pansies, running to seed

near the end of their season,

and the three strawberries I’ve managed to grow,

 

each partly rotten or eaten,

 

the snapdragons and dianthus, mint,

the orangey-pink geranium, marigolds, lantanas,

raindrops after storm dripping from the eaves,

 

the squirrel that just bounded across the yard

 

and ran up the crape myrtle, the sloosh of cars

driving past down the wet street—and a memory,

so early I don’t even know if it’s true,

 

myself, lying in a high single bed in a hotel, watching

 

the blurred reflection of streetlights in the window

as their lozenges of color changed, hearing

that same wet sloosh—the mystery that surrounds us,

 

the otherness of lives passing on the night street

 

as I lay cocooned in my parents’ love,

in the lights, the rain—and now here, in this fraught season,

the fine mesh and delicate tracery of leaves

 

on trees so huge they nearly blot out the white sky,

 

behind this, the battered sun, my flowers in their pots

lining the old brick walkway to the four steps,

the porch of this ramshackle Mississippi house, the rocking chair—


Day 79

The earth

will

be singing

louder

until we

hear

 

Do not lose

courage

here near

the end

for the world

needs

you now

more

than ever

 

Be, still,

the girl who

let the wind

whip the hair

around her face,

be the one

full of joy

who strode

up the hill, full

of rain

and morning

 

That is alive in you

always

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Ann Fisher-Wirth’s sixth book of poems is The Bones of Winter Birds (Terrapin Books, 2019); her fifth, Mississippi, is a poetry/photography collaboration with Maude Schuyer Clay. Ann is coeditor, with Laura-Gray Street, of The Ecopoetry Anthology (3rd edition, 2020). A senior fellow of the Black Earth Institute, Ann was 2017 Poet in Residence at Randolph College. Her work has received various awards, including the Rita Dove Prize, a Malahat Review Long Poem Prize, two MAC poetry awards, the MS Arts and Letters Poetry Prize, and 15 Pushcart nominations. She has had senior Fulbrights to Switzerland and Sweden and residencies at Djerassi, Hedgebrook, Mesa Refuge, and Camac/France. She teaches and directs the Environmental Studies minor at the University of Mississippi, and also teaches yoga in Oxford, MS. This year she is Principal Investigator for an NEH Planning Grant to develop Environmental Literacy and Community in North Mississippi.



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