Earth Music

Earth Music


Basalt column - stoic, solemn,

square-jawed face all chiseled grace -

extruded from the molten core,

the bass line of this river place.

Granite boulder, so much older

than an ancient redwood tree -

tossed and tumbled, rolled and rumbled . . .

now solid as a middle C.

Tiny pebbles, you’re the treble -

sparkling high notes in my hand.

Pounded by the tides and tempests,

turning sooo slowly into sand.

Rock of ages, eons, epochs …

keeping time for all to see -

new and flowing, old and knowing -

part of our Earth’s great symphony.

Stella Castella


It’s interesting to me to take two unrelated things (in this case rocks and music) and combine them in one poem; it’s kind of unexpected, and sort of like what a political cartoonist does for humorous effect.

Revisited Selections

I am going to choose a few previously posted poems this time – chosen especially for my friend Ali Kretschmer and her seventh grade students at LaGrande Middle School.  They are studying poetry and I'm excited about participating in that endeavor with them, even if it's from a distance!


In this section, I would like to draw Mrs. Kretschmer's students' attention to some tips that they might like to employ when writing their own poems.  (Please see the Other Poems page for some advice about analyzing poetry).


1. Express a thought and/or feeling (or even researched information) in a way that is interesting to you.


Urban Raccoon


RU       not more clever

Screen Shot 2015-03-07 at 8.45.26 AM.png

            than your country cousins?


RU       not one of the most

            dedicated animal mothers?


RU       not changing your brain

            by solving modern problems

            in the constant quest for food?


RU       sure you're not a primate?



            I wouldn't be surprised

            to hear, someday, that





2. Experiment with alliteration or assonance, but beware of going overboard. You want readers to enjoy the sound of your poem, without being distracted from the message.



IC Who UR Now


ICUR  highly intelligent

            (and looking the part)

            in your distinguished

            black robe, deeply

            croaking out judgments


ICUR  a massive, hefty-billed,



            diamond-tailed version

            of your smaller,

            raspy-voiced relatives.


ICUR  not merely a methodical

            flapper, but given to

            graceful glides and slow

            strokes while soaring,

            plus an occasional

            two-footed hop.


ICUR  highly flexible in your

            living and dining habits;

            nearly anything will do,

            but you do it alone

            (or with just a partner)

            most of the time.


ICUR  a literary figure – famous

            in folklore, poetry, and

            tribal trickster mythology.


            What do you make

            of your reputation?


ICUR  Corvus Corax –

            common raven by

            name and numbers

            only.  You’re really

            not common at all.


            U  R-R-R-ROCK!






3. Rhythm is an important element in most poetry; keep it steady - or vary it for interest.  It can be a very intentional decision – or you can see how it flows from you “accidentally.”


4. Your line breaks and punctuation will do a lot to convey your rhythm.  Use them to help readers make your poem sound the way you intended when read aloud.



Big Blue January Day


My breath is free,

my soul is wide;

I feel a spark

of Spring inside.

Ready for Monday,

come what may,

because of this


January day.



Late Summer Fruits


Sweet peach,

the scent of

your fuzzy self

promises that today

my breakfast chin

will drip

with the pleasure

of your company.



One Tough Month


October dials

daylight down

and issues orders

to compliant trees:

Drop. Your. Leaves.





5. Try a bit of repetition – a word, a line, or a "bookend" ending.


Space (for Kylie)


The mysteries

of space

beckon big minds

to ponder

billions and billions

of things

large and small.

Things that matter

about matter,

things that

make up

us all.



Welcome, Winter


Welcome, Winter,

      to this place,

with your winds and

     flakes of lace.


Did you miss us

     much at all?

Did you kiss your

     sister, Fall?


Welcome, Winter,

     to this place.

Bring your charm and

     crystal grace.




6. Try arranging the words in different ways on the page; consider the LOOK of the poem as well as the sound of it.












p o n d e r o s a  


             p o n d e r o s a


p  o  n  d  e  r  o  s  a        







7.  Invent a word, if you need to – or just because you want to.








                   branchalanche                                         *



             occurs when a                              *


                  boughload of snow


       suddenly  f


                    alls   from a tree,



                  a shower

                  of mist,

                  a cloud

                of icy dust.



8. Consider making interesting word choices; use a noun as an adjective, etc.  Take an experimental approach; try different options to see which you like best. (When drafting any piece of writing, leave a blank and go on –when you’re not sure what word you need).  


Blue Bridge


Tell me, Blue Bridge,

what do you say?

What do you say

on this popsicle day?

Tell me something

that's perfectly true;

tell me for sure that

you'll always be blue.



9. Rhyming can sound good, but it's often difficult to rhyme and say what you want to say; as with all writing, the message is the most important thing.  Try NOT rhyming!


10. Will a title contribute to your message – or is it unnecessary?



Driving Along


I see brushy white trees in ravines,

like vertical brows on the craggy

faces of old mountains, and

snow-capped boulders in the familiar

river below are well-worn teeth.





This time of year provides so many good opportunities for fun in the snow, observations of certain happenings in the natural world, and inside time for reflection and writing.  I hope that you're enjoying it, too!




The swish of my skis

as I slide by the trees

is a sound I can hear

in my sleep.


The chill of the air

on a face that is bare

is a thrill I can feel

way down deep.


The day in my head

as I lie in my bed is

a day that I always

can keep.

Stella Castella



Moss and snow

can live

side by side,

on the trunk

of a tree,

on the cold

North side.

Stella Castella

Prelude to a Wish and Fervent Wish

Prelude to a Wish

The plow's going by with a rumbling sigh

through the hush and the white of a sugary night.

A load in a tree's nudged out by a breeze.

Fresh drifts on the lawn in a soft, gray dawn …

and I wake.




Fervent Wish

Snow on the railing's a foot tall today

as the darkness meets the dawn.

No proof of where last night's angels lay,

and the radio news is on.

I'm waiting to hear that the schools are closed;

I'm holding my breath to hear.

Is it too much to ask, I'd like to know,

for just one snow day this year?

Stella Castella

Fond Memory

Fond Memory


Laughter calls me

to the window;

a snowman is born

to my parents.


Stella Castella

In My Mug

In My Mug


I'm glad at the sight of

marshmallows melting,

so unlike the slumping

snow figures they resemble –

too sad for words.

Stella Castella

Big Blue January Day

Big Blue January Day


My breath is free,

my soul is wide;

I feel a spark

of Spring inside.

Ready for Monday,

come what may,

because of this


January day.


Stella Castella

I posted this one on FB Sunday – perhaps you saw it.  Maybe you were outside on that gorgeous day, too!

Regular Route

Regular Route


The trail I take goes by the lake and it's just right for me.

I do it every chance I get, to see what I can see.

Stella Castella

There is much to love about cross-country skiing; maybe you enjoy it, too!

Sweet Surprise

Sweet Surprise


Birthday cake rock, with icing on top – no candles do you need.

You're festive enough under all that fluff; how many will you feed?

Stella Castella

Have you seen something that surprised you – something in nature that resembles something else?

Ponderosa Pine

Dig Out and Go

I recently received from my thoughtful son and daughter-in-law a most excellent microphone for recording my work.  I am looking forward to using it – as soon as I have my normal voice back!  The following poems were inspired by an assortment of winter driving experiences.  I'll bet that you have some seasonal travel adventures that could be used to inform your own writing! 


Dig Out and Go


White knuckles on the wheel,

sometimes, when things get dicey-

mountain people rarely stay home

when action calls.

Stella Castella

Driving Along

Driving Along


I see brushy white trees in ravines,

like vertical brows on the craggy

faces of friendly old mountains, and

snow-capped boulders in the familiar

river below are well-worn teeth.


Stella Castella




Snowsnakes sidewinding

across the highway

render a riddle:

How can precipitation

be so dustily dry?


Stella Castella

Through a Windshield at Night

Through a Windshield at Night


Tiny flecks of glitter

illuminated by headlights

make momentary magic

in this snow globe world.


Stella Castella




Windshield wipers

work overtime,

generating a new view

every  //  single  //  second.


Stella Castella

Season's Greetings


Season's Greetings


No matter what

or how you celebrate,

may you sing and smile and

enjoy the wait.


Your holiday

might be a holy day;

may you get good feelings

that stay and stay.

Wherever you go,

and who ever you see –

may you spread good will; that's

the way to be.

Stella Castella

Love and Joy

Love and Joy


Oranges and nuts

may be tradition,


but I like CHOC-O-LOT,


Love and joy

come to you

and to you,

your candy, too-        

and also some

oranges and nuts!

Stella Castella

See You Later, Songbirds

See You Later, Songbirds


See you later, songbirds; our eyes

will miss your primary colors.

Happy eating elsewhere, deer; we'll

see you in Spring with fawns in tow.

Miss you most of all, red fox; I'll

know you by the scar on your nose.

Stella Castella

A Fresh Look

A Fresh Look


The bare, bare branches reveal to me

things I've not seen through a green, leafy tree –

a house in the woods, cars passing by,

a lovely family of deer on the fly.

Spring is known for the newness of things,

but novel's the view that wintertime brings.

Stella Castella