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The Little Review
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Poem for Friday and A Pair of Butterflies


Fungus on Fallen Alder at Lookout Creek
By Ellen Bass

Florid, fluted, flowery petal, flounce
of a girl’s dress, ruffled fan,
striped in what seems to my simple eye
an excess of extravagance,
intricately ribboned like a secret
code, a colorist’s vision of DNA.
At the outermost edge a scallop
of ivory, then a tweedy russet,
then mouse gray, a crescent
of celadon velvet, a streak of sleek seal brown,
a dark arc of copper, then butter,
then celadon again, again butter, again
copper and on into the center, striped thinner
and thinner to the green, green moss-furry heart.
How can this be necessary?
Yet it grows and is making more
of itself, dozens and dozens of tiny starts, stars
no bigger than a baby’s thumbnail,
all of them sucking one young dead tree
on a gravel bank that will be washed away
in the next flooding winter. But isn’t the air here
cool and wet and almost unbearably sweet?

--------

Bass reflects to Poem-a-Day that, as writer-in-residence at the H.J. Andrews Experimental Forest in Oregon, she found that "...time and space are overwhelming in this old-growth conifer forest where the trees are 300, 500 or even 700 years old, rising 250 feet into the sky, and where even the experiments are designed to take two hundred years..."

My Thursday was too uneventful to bother to report -- the biggest excitement was discovering the fudge, Tuscan spices, and fresh bread at the Thursday farmer's market at Cabin John. It wasn't a bad day for me -- there were bunnies and pumpkin pie and the start of the football season with the fear put in Tom Brady by the Chiefs, though there were also multiple hurricanes and wildfires and continuing political idiocy. Here are a couple of Brookside butterflies, and I'll try to be more interesting and less rushed tomorrow!

17bkbt21

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