Featured Contributor:

Gary Blankenship









"Such Small Comforts"

There are special places in the world, places where the land seems to vibrate.

Starlings cry
as winter arrives
on hawk wings.
I rebuild the fire
to prepare soba.*

Drive east of Salem into the North Santiam River canyon, past towns each smaller than the last, and you will begin to feel that youíve arrived at the center of the universe. You havenít, but you will expect you have.

Apple tree limbs
crack from heavy snow
and silver thaw.
I listen for footsteps
before I make noodles.

Arrive on a clear day (long odds in this wet country), take time to get out of your car and walk along the riverís bank. You feel the energy, the land teeming with life. Eden must have been like this.

Even crows
seek out dry shelter
from freezing rains.
Wake to an empty bed,
dry rice and cold saki.

Be still, hear the rustle of small animals, the call of birds, glimpse a fox, deer, or if you are very lucky, elk. Listen carefully for the slap of trout or salmon beneath the rush of the riverís rapids.

Afternoon,
robins greet the sun
with frigid song.
I huddle in my quilts
and cry from worry.

Arrive on a wet and windy day in November or March. You may not even get out of car.

Cat whiskers
wake me with their touch,
gentle as dew.
A key rattles the lock,
I start from the sound.

But with care, you may still feel the land, accompanied by the river and an occasional crow or jay. If you do, you will come back.

Satisfied,
we watch the snow fall
into the night.
Morning may mean cold rice
but you will have hot tea.

Of course, bored with nature poems, you may read these words and say what does all of this jabber have to do with this faux oriental poem. I may answer, ďNothing. Nothing at all.Ē

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* Soba is a buckwheat noodle.

© 2001 Gary Blankenship




Biography:
Gary Blankenship is a retired federal financial manager whose avocation is writing poetry. His work has appeared in several zines. He is an editor for WDS Writer's Block; managing editor for the InterBoard Poetry Competition; and holds the keys to the bait shop at Gandy Creek, a poetry forum. Check out his homepage too. A chapbook, Autumn Reflections, has been published. Details about the chapbook and how to purchase a copy may be found on his homepage.

You are cordially invited to visit Gary's Homepage as well as all the sites in which Gary has an interest.

Web Sites:
Gary's Homepage
WDS Writer's Block
InterBoard Poetry Competition (IBPC)
Gandy Creek



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