Four Poems

    By Dee Allen

    EGO UMBRA*

    If Nature
    Took a human shape
    It would be
    A female
    Shadow self

    Only spectral
    Living witness
    To harm
    Being done
    On all
    Four corners
    Of her
    Vast creation.

    Her human
    Children don’t
    Appreciate her
    Natural beauty
    As is—

    W: 8.5.21
    [ For Diane Ward. ][ Inspired by the painting Me And My Shadow by Lady Tiffany. ]

    *LATIN: “Shadow self.”

    EGO UMBRA 2

    Nature
    May be content
    Just being an airy
    Little shadow, from a
    Safe distance standing,
    Watching the Anthropocene
    Unfold—

    Where’s the sport
    In seeing humans do
    More damage to
    Her carefully-constructed
    Ornate creation when she’s
    Helpless to avert, as
    Shade?

    Nature
    Had to demonstrate
    Her innate powers
    To all doubters
    Left by assuming a
    Fully functional, fleshly, feminine
    Form.

    Wherever she
    May roam,
    Nature
    Leaves a long trail of footprints
    Sprouting new blades of grass
    Growing into new meadows, weeds,
    Kudzu vines tangled within it all—

    Wherever there are
    Chalk-dry ruins,
    Nature
    Summons clouds, rain and wind,
    Vegetation, morning dew make a bold return,
    Animal survivors walk, crawl, slither, fly,
    Come out from long, cautious hiding—

    Everything she touches
    Turns into life.

    W: 8.11.21
    [ Inspired by the 3-part graphic novel series Anafae,
    created by Monica Richards and James Neely. ]

    THE SPROUTING SEASON

    true, this isn’t paradise

    But it’s the only
    Paradise on this polluted Earth I’m aware of:

    Bitter chill, freezing rainfall
    Relents to arriving warmth,

    Our feathered neighbours, some breeds,
    Return from habitats farther away,

    Gardens tend to sprout coloured
    Soft petal treasures, complimenting soil & grass,

    Barren trees, clothed
    In new, burgeoning leaves and attached

    Fruit, developing,
    Ripening within their own soft succulence

    [ Apples, limes and oranges
    Immediately come to mind ]

    Out with overcast
    Grey sky, dreary and spilling downpour seed,

    In with the turning
    Everything that grows to jade—
    In with romance with the time of beautiful scenery
    Reborn, between March and June

    The sprouting season.

    W: New Year’s Day 2022
    [ For Nudi. ][ In response to the poem mother-tongue: the land of nod by lucille clifton. ]

    GENERAL SHERMAN

    Season of spreading flames
    Make the hot months hotter,
    Make short work
    Out of sequoia groves

    Fireball orange
    Days and nights blur
    No slowing down seasonal inferno
    Fright runs through spotted owl and other animals

    California woods’ future—drained of colour
    Blackened soil,
    Charcoal columns,
    Smoking cinders—

    Two paths in Sequoia National Park
    Lead to the first forest guardian
    Standing at 84 metres high, 2200 years old
    In need of protection—

    Firefighters apply aluminium sheet
    Covering roots and trunk at the very base
    So flames of Summer
    Won’t leave scars on the tallest, oldest soldier

    General Sherman
    Who has seen
    Ages come and go,
    Beings become born and die,

    General Sherman
    Whose name evokes
    Visions of past field battles between
    North & South, over economics, over slavery—

    General Sherman
    Whose name, unfortunately,
    Reminds us of spreading
    Flames of war.

    W: 1.12.22

    Dee Allen African-Italian performance poet based in Oakland, California U.S.A. Active on creative writing & Spoken Word since the early 1990s. Author of 7 books—Boneyard, Unwritten Law, Stormwater, Skeletal Black [ all from POOR Press ], Elohi Unitsi [ Conviction 2 Change Publishing ] and his newest, Rusty Gallows: Passages Against Hate [ Vagabond Books ] and Plans [ Nomadic Press ]—and 46 anthology appearances under his figurative belt so far.

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