Creativity Poetry

Summer Song at 4 a.m.

Lone Seagull

due east of the

Bell Buoy at Mermaid Rocks

is background vocal for


and the
cicada cricket

while the frog
in the marsh
sings solo tenor

by the
of a deer

so I,
barefoot too,
ask her:

do you hear
the sound of stars?

Poem ©2022, Jen Payne


Swan Song

The swan has lost her mate,
so I wade ankle-deep in the
shallow pond and

with breath like water

lie child pose
in her nest
surrogate heart
close to her side
and whisper

Far away, there once
lived a king
who had eleven sons
and one daughter…

Poem ©2022, Jen Payne. IMAGE: The Wild Swans, illustration by Joseph Smith, Tales from Hans Christian Andersen, 1965.



The bee in the meadow
is chanting,
its words imperceivable
but for the rhythm
the vibration like my own
chanting      sometimes
before I start the day
and the bee, like me
is quick in its reverence
quick prayer
like the mealtime grace
of my childhood

God is great
God is good
let us thank him
for this food




ABOVE: The adoration of Common chicory (Cichorium intybus) by Bicolored Agapostemon Sweat Bee (Agapostemon viriscens). Photo and poem by Jen Payne.


In the ruins of my cathedral

In the ruins of my cathedral
I can still hear the angels sing
they from their loft of branches
and I on bended knee
begging for absolution
that will not come

not from the pine at the pulpit
sheared off in the storm

not from the maple
whose leaves filtered light
more beautifully than glass

not from the elm or the ash
who lie beneath my feet
extinguished by our blaze
our red hot disregard

so keenly unconcerned
that we are of this and part of this
and crumbling at our very foundation

the beech knows
its grief spreads
like sickness now

leaf to leaf

branch to branch

tree to tree

in the ruins of my cathedral

Books Creativity Poetry

1 – Morning Haiku

cardinal on my schedule

doesn’t need to notice clocks

sings sweet song at six

Poem and Photo ©2021, Jen Payne. National #NaPoWriMo. National Poetry Month. Are you fascinated by time, too? Then order a copy of MANIFEST (zine): It’s About Time today!
Poetry Writing

Waning Crescent

The moon and I shared space today

before the world awoke

and though we both were silent

it felt as if we spoke

about this wild spinning thing

and how it does transpire

the comedy and tragedy

and all the little fires

That golden wink up in the sky

a secret shared with me

our sweet spot in the morning

its rare tranquility.

Poem ©2021, Jen Payne. Photos from The Lilith Zone.


I am sure the red fox wonders,
as does the otter and friends,

what happened to the horizon,

why the light that’s not a star shines
from sun down to sun up
with no seeming purpose,

why the fresh salt air is slow to come

The gulls know, of course

They see from the sky
the new and larger rooftops,
the wide expanses of useless green,
the decks and porches and drives,
the construction constructed from the edge of their pond to the edge of the harbor

They see even, in the biggest living room
of the biggest house
the big screen TV,
on certain mornings,
lights the horizon just like a sun,
casts shadows on the fox
and the otter
who will never know again
the rush of first light and certain breezes.

Poetry Writing

Our Sad Riddle

Alive without breath,
As cold as death;
Never thirsty, ever drinking,
All in mail never clinking.

My nephew, fresh from the pages of Tolkien,
sees a fish carcass on the beach,
predicts Gollum! though we both wonder.
He considers the waves left from a storm,
the wind that blows us each askew,
thinks with furrowed brow, like me
as I sift through those things I know:
the trespass of raw sewage
and slick film of leached oil,
the change of warming waters,
our persistent lack of rain.
But he’s off on a new adventure now,
throwing boulders with grunts and gasps,
Take that! he yells, a holler into the wind
as loud as mine would be if allowed
to grieve the things he cannot see.

Poem ©2020, Jen Payne. One of the riddles of Bilbo and Gollum in J. R. R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit.
Nature Poetry

Thursday Rain

The contrast of
misty gray
May green
in the treetops
out the window
tells me it’s raining
before I even hear
the gentle tapping
on leaves
and grass
and spring flowers
bowed in gratitude
for the veil of quiet

even poets bow
for the respite
stay inside
the rain says,
there’s a poem waiting

Photo and Poem ©2020, Jen Payne