Nature Poetry Writing


Perhaps it is the same flock,
the one I met years ago,
the one that startled me
here on this shore
that very first walk,
when every rock and curve,
every wind and wave
was unfamiliar still.

Perhaps it knows me now,
this flock of small fidgety birds,
always nervous or impatient,
quickened by anticipation of
the next wave, skittering
to the beat of their sharp trills,
quickly quickly ahead
never near enough for hello again.

Until this morning when I,
in keen focus on a resting shell,
became for a moment
likewise and warmed by the sun,
looked up to find myself surrounded,
heart quickened and nervous
that one false move would startle them,
their gathering at my feet.

Poem and Photo ©2020, Jen Payne. If you like this poem, then you’ll love WAITING OUT THE STORM, a collection of my poems about Cape Cod. Click here to buy the book now.
Poetry transition Writing

Sun Rise

This morning, I watched the sun rise —

or rather, I watched myself move forward
forward uncontrollably into the sun

The owl went first, the one sitting on a branch across the marsh.
Then the giant maple, her arms outstretched and welcoming.

I seemed to step into the rising myself though I made no movement —
none that I could tell mechanically, despite the velocity of change.

The velocity of one thousand miles each hour, imperceivable —
imperceivable almost, except for the first bird who let out a gasp,

a tweeeeeet! as the she smashed into the first rays of light,
a joyful surprise at how quickly the change snuck up on her.

Or how quickly she snuck up on change — remember?
She, without a lifted feather of flight, raced forward to meet the sun.

The owl and the marsh and the maple went into the light, too,
a face-first dive into the oncoming rays, into the change of day.

How easily we forget this constant movement, this constant change
give up our own velocity and blame it on the sun rising,

roll over in bed to look out the window, tucked under illusions of security
think it rises to spite us, harumph at the inconveniences,

forget to marvel at the wild magic of it all, the whooosh! of day
the velocity of our lives careening without injury forward.

Poem and Photo ©2020, Jen Payne

When the rain, rain, rain came down, down, down

This morning, not feeling particularly one way or the other, I took a walk in the woods. My Eeyore-gray rain jacket seemed enough, I thought, until the louder rains came. So, I tucked myself under the branches of a sweet, young hemlock who smelled green and damp and seemed not to mind me much. I was less alone than one might imagine, there on the torrential edge of morning — in the air, I could smell the fox lingering and musing to herself on my wet and getting wetter predicament. I think I heard her laugh. Then the storm subsided just enough for me to start again, and so I did, up and towards the simmering pond when there — just around the bend — I spied the bobbing yellow coat of a kindred spirit. He sloshed through a puddle or two, and nodded with a smile that said Hallo as we passed. Hallo I smiled back, good thinking, that umbrella. Yes, yes. Good thinking and good morning.

©2020, Jen Payne

This Thanks Giving

This year — oh this year — has been challenging. The pandemic seeps into all of the nooks and crannies, as silent as air but as powerful as water. It brings with it immediate and obvious damage; it slowly wears away at what we thought bedrock; with time and time and time, it creates fissures and chasms.

But just like water, the pandemic also brings change. It washes away what was stagnant; reveals the things we were needing to see; carries with it a different way of moving around in this world. And in that way, creates new life…even when it seems to not.

The challenge, as we wait for this sickness to ebb, is to settle into the contradiction. To get comfortable with the unknowing, to sink our bare feet into the here and now, to consider what we might find hidden in the flotsam and jetsam.

And in that way, no matter, here on this day of Thanksgiving, we are — each of us — able to give thanks.

Thanks for struggle and challenge.
Thanks for breathe and the semblance of health.

Thanks for the clamor of the world still turning.
Thanks for the silence of stillness.

Thanks for what we let go.
and thanks for what we hold dear.

Happy Thanksgiving
with Love,