Late Summer Wasps

One by one flowers open, then fall.
Wang Wei

My ears are thick with them, the yellow jackets levitating out of this vole hole to hover through our scarecrows of gold banner and harebell. Murmuration is a word even without the starlings’ imprint above this leaf light. It is almost too beautiful to write: the birds I cannot see clustering at night beneath the Milky Way, river of light, their absence silence, and then the wasps I thought bees vibrating over the wet leaves, the pulpy flies, the destroying angels I’ve walked through. These wasps fly in and out beneath the metal sky into the dark cupboards of earth, thousands, while I plunge my arms through bees snout-deep in late blossom, everything and me until the first glittering frost alive.  

Bee in Blossom
bee in blossom

On Beauty and Finding a Dead Flicker

[Beauty] compels awe, and awe
Is well known for its capacity to silence.

Louise Glück

       

I’ve been thinking about beauty and how these blue birds ahead of me keep throwing themselves off the aspen snags.  Like a hinge, the mind already calling them ‘beautiful” and “sky,” though I don’t know really what beauty is or how to make it so in a poem about a gravel lane I keep writing. Leonard never sees the bluebirds, though he wants to, but, every day, I walk into them, little chips of sky I might touch. When Leonard was a boy, his mother taught him to sing a song about pockets and falling stars and he sings it to me now, when we are happiest. In just this hour, fall has towed in its clouds like blue barges. Beautiful. And I am remembering the earliest summer morning, not in this here, not in this now: tree swallows flushed above the sedge and a guttering of flickers. And now this perfect silhouette in the dirt I thought to photograph at my feet because there was light and there were wings and nothing to grieve, door nor earth.

flicker impression in the dirt made of feathers

The Butterfly: Apiculus and a Poem

I found this on a flowering weed in Castlewood Park on a day I was looking for birds. Butterfly? Moth? To be honest, I didn’t know. And then I learned that the butterfly has a bulb at the end of its antenna, unlike the moth and its feathered one, and a hooked tip called the “apiculus.” The name of this butterfly? Such beautiful names to wander through: Swallowtails and Hairstreaks, Elfins and Metalmarks and Gossamer-winged. Just the names begin to find a poem. This little guy is part of the Grass Skippers Family, perhaps a Least Skipper, weak in the wings, or an Orange Skipperling, its eggs orange-ringed and its larva rolling up in a single blade of grass. I don’t really care which butterfly it is: I woke up and couldn’t sleep and now a coyote has wandered down the suburban drainage ditch a block from our house to sing and I’ve been thinking about poetry and found this poem by Pavel Friedmann, who wrote this one day in 1942 in the Theresienstadt concentration camp beneath a white chestnut and gave it to me, tonight, and now me to you:

The Butterfly

He was the last. Truly the last.
Such yellowness was bitter and blinding
Like the sun’s tear shattered on stone.
That was his true colour.
And how easily he climbed, and how high,
Certainly, climbing, he wanted
To kiss the last of my world.

I have been here for seven weeks,
‘Ghettoized’.
Who loved me have found me,
Daisies call to me,
And the branches also of the white chestnut in the yard.
But I haven’t seen a butterfly here.
That last one was the last one.
There are no butterflies, here, in the ghetto.

https://www.hmd.org.uk/resource/the-butterfly-by-pavel-friedmann/

Poetry

Have you ever held the shell of something in your hand for a long time and loved it and never known it until, one day, you learn the name of it, like Moon Snail?

moon snail shell

Here it is. And here it will be, too:

I am thinking about the hand I found in Indiana, a mole’s hand, when I was somewhere near ten years old, back-walking from a bulldozed pond along a foot and cow path in an Indiana field my father owned. His weekend escape from medicine and the hospital rounds he’d leave us for in the Sunday afternoons of our returning. It was 1968, fifty-four years ago from where I sit now in my quiet Colorado study, a blue spruce at the window where chickadees fly, and where it brushes the eves in our February wind, and where I hold the shell of a moon snail I found in a sea drift a summer ago in Cape Cod with my love, as if it were time, salt-riped and smoothed, I cup in my hands.

from The Journal of the Unnaturalist

Poetry, whatever form, rocks.

Like these birds, my book, Flying Beneath the Dog Star, has arrived!

You can find it on Amazon now, or Finishing Line Press. I’ll do a few events around it, beginning Tuesday at 6 p.m., February 15, at the Gallery R and Wine Bar in Boulder with Poet Jeffrey Franklin. Thanks, Colorado Poets Center!

Other upcoming events posted here.

Thanks to everyone who has supported me and this book!

Flying Beneath the Dog Star: Poems from a Pandemic cover

Not Too Perilous Publishing Conundrum in the Time of A Pandemic, especially in Colorado

book cover
cover of book to soon be

January 22nd has come and gone and Flying Beneath the Dog Star: Poems from a Pandemic has been delayed by Covid and shipping slowdowns. Sad, but so trifling in comparison to lives continuing to be lost to this pandemic and to the fire devastation that Colorado experienced just weeks ago.

I’ve been promised that  Flying Beneath the Dog Star  will appear on the horizon in the next couple of weeks. I apologize for the delay to those of you who made early purchases. Once FBDS is officially published and shipped , it will also be available through, besides Finishing Line Press, amazon, good reads, barnes & noble etc etc. 

I begin a series of local readings and workshops starting in early February. Most of these will be available to anyone by Zoom. I invite you to all. You can find announcements, zoom links (and more specific details as each event approaches) at https://kathrynwinograd.com/events/

If you’re interested, you can also find my most recently published poetry, articles and interviews at:

Split Rock Review: On Cow Ponds and Glass Frogs: Using the Poetry Prompt  

                        and   Octopus on a Sea Dock 

Flyway: Journal of Writing and Environment:  Crows, At the Naturalist’s Workshop, Hawks 101

 Independent PublisherFor the Love of the Writer: Creating the Humble Essayist Press

The Colorado Sun: SunLit Interview: In “Slow Arrow,” Kathryn Winograd wove threads of her mother’s voice  

And Sunlit Excerpt: “Skyglow” from Slow Arrow: Unearthing the Frail Children In “Skyglow,” a look to the heavens for beauty and meaning

 Colorado Poets Center The Colorado Poet Issue #30, Winter 2022: my interview with Abigail Chabitnoy on Poetry and  How To Dress A Fish

   Green Briar Reviewmy first cover photo for a literary journal: Heron in Winter

   Essays upcoming this spring in River Teeth: Journal of Nonfiction Narrative and   Terrain.org.

On The Poetry Prompt: Cow Ponds and Glass Frogs

Given that my entire upcoming chapbook from Finishing Line Press, Flying Beneath the Dog Star: Poems from a Pandemic, came from using the NaPoWriMo poetry prompts during National Poetry Month, I do have a few things to share about using the poetry prompt. And Split Rock Review has just published a new poem, Octopus on a Sea Dock, that uses a whole mix of made-up poetry prompts like “use something from the day’s National Geographic” post, among others. . .

It’s a useful tool, so I took Split Rock Review up on its offer to publish On Cow Ponds and Glass Frogs: Using the Poetry Prompt. You can read it at Split Rock! And, yes, I had fun with it!

Split Rock Review

A Little Bird Photography News in a Poetry Blog

Three years ago, my daughter and son-in-law gave me a special Christmas gift: a new camera. Since that day, I’ve been haunting rivers, woods, and fields for birds in a new journey, one beautiful way to look up and see the world new. Now, thanks to Green Briar Review, I can share my first cover photo of a Heron in Winter.

SunLit Interview: In “Slow Arrow,” Kathryn Winograd wove threads of her mother’s voice

I’ve been waiting for this. Right at the moment when we all went into lockdown at the start of the pandemic and my mother would begin a series of emergency room visits that led finally in just a few months to the hospice, my book, slow arrow: unearthing the frail children, came out. My mother never got to read it. It was one of the saddest times in my life. The book went on to win a bronze medal in essay for the independent publishers book award, a prize that put me next to lia purpura, who won the gold medal and is one of my favorite essayists. I was thankful to do this interview, which brought me back to my mother and those trips we made across teller county. I can still hear my mother, Ohio native of beautiful red and orange trees, complaining in fall: “What, another yellow leaf?” This is an interview about the journey of one book and the love for a mother.

Slow Arrow BookCover

You can read an excerpt of Sky Glow here.

Autumn Migrations: A Poem

Monarch Butterfly on Rabbitbrush KW

I found this butterfly along Redtail Lake in the Rabbitbrush. It reminded me of a poem I wrote a long while ago on my own small family’s migration. Believe it or not, it won the 2011 Writers Digest Non-rhyming poetry competition, my thousand dollar poem … a poem I treasure, regardless.

Migrations

to Mira

At Monterey Aquarium, we watched mackerel
school where light refracted the world over our heads—
sky, people, that brooding mimetic moon—bent

impossibly over the silver minions, their shifting
music we couldn’t hear, their long silent rhythm, form
shifting into formlessness, the way you do now,

your face flushed with the boy’s mouth until I can barely
touch you as I once did, my loneliness no longer allowed
to break like water against the frail vessel of you.

There is no justification in this, as in the way starlings leave
the long darkness of our fall, buoyed in the lifting
wings of each other beneath the stars’ compass,

our yellow cottonwood speaking the language of wind
between us and this leaving until their shadow that finally
is the fall breaks over us. So long now, since I touched

the braille of your skin, the late moon keening her vowels
through that early window.  Human frailty, I think, loving
that naming of you without the tongue, your body —

            shadow  light  shadow

already breaking across my hands into nothing that stays.