Dragonfly Library

California Poems

Author: © Carolyn Welch
Publication Date: July 2014
Publisher: Moon Willow Press
Review: Tom Hibbard

Rucksack Revolution

In the lofty meadow path
with yellow firs and ducks,
creeks tempt us–naked bath
among the aspen tucks?

Our Morley pokes at the stream,
and barefoot writes his prose;
we hike on in boot-fall dream,
leather crunching our toes.

Frangible air burns our nostrils
pinched by cedars and pines;
oh green of deciduous spindles
through which the sun declines.

Our Japhy’s pack clinks along
with beads and sutra books.
Yodelayhee mountain song–
written from crags and nooks.

Snow of boulders, that milky shade,
fails to avert the sun.
No verdant of the coolest jade
allays our furtive run.

Our Ray dreams of poorboy wine,
Lowell and butterflies;
he puts words upon green vine
and hoists them to the skies.

Tomes are reached on red plateaus,
as paper clouds rinse by;
pink expands and seeps to rose–
parchment drips and ink runs dry.

We descend, running in dual
and down, and down–to fall?
“You can’t fall off mountains, you fool!”
comes the yodeling call.

Our firelight fails to meet the moon
or thwart its paling cradle
of silver pen and shiny spoon
that scoops us in its ladle.

Like they who thanked the glacier,
like they who bowed to plums,
we, some fifty years later,
dust off the Dharma bums.



Pour deeper, moonlight
for you are the stanchion
of this desert meal
baked slowly all day at 100 degrees.
We will sip your milk,
and spread your butter
over our hardloaf breadland.
Your sweet frosting will whip
into canyons, topping our mudcakes
with layers of billowy sugar.
Your fingers are dipped in white wine,
dancing across our dry creekbeds.
Pour deeper, moonlight.
Let us drink you.


Filaments in white
brown eddies become
rice-paper softstems,
like dampened antlers,
joining autumn muck.
The swirl of redwoods,
redheads, broken:
Figaro’s sink is
a timber watershed.

Even the rainwash
is useless beauty,
when no ribbons nest
in golden fields
of trees high enough
for white to glide
through vaporous dawns.
Spongecake pockets
of light fall
on root fingers
and moss rings.

But the centuries of
greening are just
one moment in the
chokersetter’s rear-
view mirror.

Carolyn Welch, a native Californian, has written over a decade of poems that observe her local surf, mountains, desert, and people. A technical writer, Carolyn dabbles on the side with creativity that needs an outlet, inspired by her observations of nature. Carolyn’s poems are unique, musical, and refreshing, from her anatomizing the city of Los Angeles to revitalizing the San Francisco Renaissance and 1950s poets. Often her prose visits extinction and ecological destruction; her poems celebrate natural worlds and rue climate change.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.