Thursday, September 14, 2017

September Stage

As summer settles
into September,
asters and goldenrod
accept the invitation
to audition
for this month
of transition.

Yellow and gold,
purple and lavender,
assume their places
on this September stage.

In the background,
from the percussion section,
acorns and hickory nuts
zip through the leaves,
pound the ground,
and bounce off my
inverted canoe.

During these cooler nights,
cricket calls seem calmer
as they continue to crank out
their calibrated wing rustles;
soft stridulations 
with temperature affecting
their measured notes.

The stage is set.
Harmony prevails.
The audience approves.
© 2017 Richard Havenga

Monday, September 11, 2017

Practicing Goodbye

Memories rise and fall
with the undulating waves.

Remembering washes over my mind,
then retreats down the wet slope of sand.

Like creation in front of me,
like creation repeating the past.

Like a flock of gulls rising together,
then landing together.

Like sensing the amenities of heaven,
or the sense of heaven.

Like practicing how to say goodbye
when it's time to leave or time to die.

Like the tide coming in and going out,
coming in and going out...

© 2017 Richard Havenga

Photo Locations:

2. Cape Perpetua - Yachats, Oregon

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Passage of Time

"Time passes slowly up here in the mountains." ~ Written by Bob Dylan; sung by Judy Collins © 1970

The day is still young
up here in the mountains.

I am witnessing:

the birth of clouds,
the evaporation of dew,

the sharp, clear notes
of a White-crowned Sparrow,

the slow opening of
alpine wildflowers,

and green mountains 
reflected in dew drops.

I am hoping for:

a pattern of lines,
a collection of words,
that will witness
the sweet and gentle
passage of time.
© 2017 Richard Havenga

Photo Locations:

1. Yosemite National Park - California

2. Cottonwood Pass 12,126' - Colorado 

3. Snowy Range Scenic Byway - Medicine Bow Mountains - Wyoming

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

September Morning

While I was walking
through this September morning,
Goldenrod invited itself
into my poem.

So I welcomed its
color and structure
into my Naturalist's head,
noticed the yellow sprays
of arching florets,

watched bees
plunging for pollen,

but more than
Botanical biographies,
I observed
with uncommon senses
the enhancements 
offered here and now:

commonly clogging
the forgotten fields,

the introduction of autumn.

These golden towers of life;
alive and dancing
in the light
of a new day.
© 2017 Richard Havenga

Photo Locations:

1, 4, & 5. Home Fields & Woods

2. & 3.  Townsend Park - Kent County, Michigan

Monday, August 28, 2017

Scarlet Fireworks

It's late August.

Towering above the 
deep green of summer
in the dense shade
along Bear Creek;

excessive beauty
expresses itself
in vertical explosions
of scarlet fireworks.
© 2017 Richard Havenga

Cardinal Flower - Lobelia cardinalis

Photo LocationBear Creek - Cannon Township - Kent County, Michigan 

Monday, August 21, 2017

Season Tickets

The symphony
of summer evenings
is tuning up again
as soft dusk
approaches night. 

Cicadas are finishing

for the day,
while katydids and 
snowy tree crickets
begin to strike
their measured notes.

They don't seem to mind
if I fall asleep
during their performance.

I know it will happen

each night I open
the bedroom windows
of my country home.

I've been given
season tickets
to summer dreams.
© 2017 Richard Havenga

Photo Locations: 1. & 2. Home woods - Cannonsburg, Michigan

Monday, August 14, 2017


The intensity
in his yellow eyes
burns like the wick
in a white candle.
Great indeed
is this white egret.

Floating upon dark water,
soft bowls of white
hold purity
in their petals;
the sanctity of life.

The sun sings
radiant notes
through the fog;
brings the joy
of white light
into your morning.
© 2017 Richard Havenga

Photo Locations:

1. Great Egret - Kent County, Michigan

3. Taggart Lake - Grand Teton National Park - Wyoming 

Thursday, August 10, 2017


Would you like to walk with me
along this path of words?

While the Astilbe
thrust their pink towers
from the perennial garden;

while the Pileated Woodpecker
cackles while hidden
deep in the woods;

while the cumulus bulge
white mounds
into the afternoon sky;

while the hummingbird
sips sweet liquid while
hovering on a blur of wings;

while cloud shadows
race across the fields
trying to catch the wind;

while summer quickens,
ripens, and opens
this invitation

to walk,
to watch,
to wonder.
© 2017 Richard Havenga

Photo Locations:

1. Six Mile Cypress Slough Preserve - Fort Meyers, Florida

2.  Pickerel Lake Park - Fred Meijer Nature Preserve - Cannonsburg, Michigan

3. Home - Cannonsburg, Michigan

Monday, August 7, 2017

Baptism II

Immersed in the natural world,

my humble soul is baptized
by the Holy Spirit within,

my grateful heart keeps opening

the gracious gifts around me.

My wonder-filled eyes
can scarcely take it in.
© 2017 Richard Havenga

You may also enjoy:  The Baptism ~ May 16, 2013

Photo LocationLafayette, Colorado

Friday, August 4, 2017

walk in the garden

walk in the garden
dragonfly on Astilbe
welcome summer days

© 2017 Richard Havenga 

Photo Location:  Home Garden - Cannonsburg, Michigan

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Holy Dimension

The cascading call
of the Canyon Wren

kept urging my words
to form into lines
to echo the sound;

but the clear notes
from this small brown bird,

at first suspended,
then falling through
the shapeless air,

were so pure,
so full of grace;

it was impossible
to transcribe his song,
sung from the echoing space
of clear canyon air,

onto these pages;
flat, white,
and hungry for words,

impossible to honor
this holy dimension.
© 2017 Richard Havenga

Play the call of the Canyon Wren from Cornell Lab of Ornithology

Photo Location:

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Slender Lemon

American Goldfinch:
a summer male,
a slender lemon,

sliding through slopes of air
in undulating arches
toward the settling sun.

Singing while flying,
calling attention
to his passing.

After his passing,
the evening quiet
settles back into place.
© 2017 Richard Havenga

Play the call of the American Goldfinch @ Cornell Lab of Ornithology

Photo Locations:

2. Home Garden - Cannonsburg, Michigan

Thursday, July 20, 2017


rising through the dawn
a monument of mountains
collecting color
© 2017 Richard Havenga

Photo Location

Sunday, July 16, 2017

The Ripening

The wind rattles long rows of corn.
Deep green flags flailing in the fields. 

Bobolinks appear,
disappear in deep grass.

Roadside wildflowers stretch for the sun;
measure the ripening of summer. 

Great mounds of cumulus
shifting shape and size.

Wind leaves its tracks
on the surface of the lake.

My schedule is based on
what's going on outside;

and my creativity has the
entire sky to fly through,

whether blue or gray,
sunshine or rain, 

combing the fields and woods,
scanning the lakes and streams.

I am out here.
Please join me.
© 2017 Richard Havenga

Photo Locations

1. Grattan Township - Kent County, Michigan 

2. Luton Park - Kent County, Michigan

3. Fred Meijer Nature Preserve - Kent County, Michigan

4. Reeds Lake - East Grand Rapids, Michigan

5. Grand River - Knapp Street bridge - Ada, Michigan 

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Silver Arms

The Arkansas River
wraps its silver arms
around cold boulders;
rushing, racing
for the foothills,
for the plains;
to meander for miles,
to settle its sediment,
to assimilate 
in the Atlantic.
© 2017 Richard Havenga

Photo Locations:

1. & 2. Buena VistaColorado 

3. Coaldale, Colorado

4. Atlantic Ocean