Dog Days Karim Sakhibgareev.jpg

Dog Days

Poet: Maura High

The heat, the heavy

air make for a quiet 

season. Mushrooms 

unfurl their pale,

thick flutes 

at the base of an old maple,

each one cupping

a scant measure

of rain water.

Along the creek bed, 

the diminished stream

slides over rocks

and gathers into pools.

Water striders dimple

the placid surface, 

and twitch, 

and from those centers spread

ring after ring,

reaching to the bank,

dislodging a particle 

or two of clay—so small 

a thing, yet by such

increments life

changes and the earth

slides toward the equinox.

The Puddle

In a rut in the dirt road:

a vernal pool. A few small,

 

almost transparent water striders 

 

twitch the surface, and below them, 

tadpoles wriggle and float 

 

in the limpid water,

 

hundreds of them—all

straining cell by cell to be

 

among the living, 

 

the fat, full-throated racket

and splurge of spring

 

up and down the creek.

Maura High was born in the Rhondda and schooled in Monmouth and Bristol. After a teaching stint in Nigeria, she moved to the United States, where she has worked as a teacher and editor, raised two daughters, began to study and practice Zen, and for years worked with controlled burn crews of the North Carolina chapter of The Nature Conservancy.