Today & Other Seasons

My second poetry book has been published by Kelsay Books. Here’s what reviewers say.

Today and Other Seasons moves through landscape and memory. With a startling economy of language, Sarah Russell writes of coyotes ‘silent as smoke’ and an Amish market’s ‘chubby garlic bulbs, currants round as BBs, bunioned ginger toes.’ Sarah writes not only with stillness and precision, but with understated humor describing an old wringer washer as a ‘dowager on a dance floor’ and the courtship of finches as ‘a warbled discussion of real estate and love.’ There is so much to savor in this fine small collection.” — Sarah Carleton

“In her second collection, Sarah Russell embraces the fleeting, fluid rhythms of time. Her lyrical, quiet attentiveness to the natural world often evokes Mary Oliver. We encounter ‘an abacus of starlings,’ and the smell of ’dust and rain like a lover’s musk.’ Her pleasure at the daily routines and people who mark our lives recall the poems of Ted Kooser. She pays affectionate tribute to the uncle who taught her cribbage, and to a Montana rancher feeding cattle, his ’pitch fork separating clouds of gold, strewing it like a Silver Wolf high roller.’ Throughout, Russell’s images surprise and resonate — a hawk in winter, ’not wishing for tomorrow or warmth or spring — alive only in what is.’ Yes. — Mary Rohrer-Dann

On Kebler Pass

dust the ferns with my ashes —
there, among the aspen
trembling gold against the sky.
Let them settle, sighing,
on the still warm earth of autumn
where the next peak calls your name.

Snow will come. The wind will show me
paths the doe and vixen know. The moon
will call me with her crescent mouth
and share stories of the embered stars.

– Sarah Russell
First published in Poppy Road Review
for Poets United Poetry Pantry
Photo Source

The Swan

“. . .an armful of white blossoms…”

On this Earth Day, a day of marching to support science and the environment, I thought of Pulitzer Prize winning poet Mary Oliver and the legacy of nature she is leaving for us.  Here is one of my favorites with Mary’s gentle call to action.  There are many sites to learn more about Mary Oliver’s body of work.  You can start here.


Did you too see it, drifting, all night, on the black river?
Did you see it in the morning, rising into the silvery air –
An armful of white blossoms,
A perfect commotion of silk and linen as it leaned
into the bondage of its wings; a snowbank, a bank of lilies,
Biting the air with its black beak?
Did you hear it, fluting and whistling
A shrill dark music – like the rain pelting the trees – like a waterfall
Knifing down the black ledges?
And did you see it, finally, just under the clouds –
A white cross Streaming across the sky, its feet
Like black leaves, its wings Like the stretching light of the river?
And did you feel it, in your heart, how it pertained to everything?
And have you too finally figured out what beauty is for?
And have you changed your life?

– Mary Oliver
  First published in The Paris Review


Things to Believe in

“. . .the generosity of apples.”

A hopeful poem for Easter and Passover, by Patricia Monaghan, an activist in the women’s spirituality movement.  You can read more about her life and her impressive list of publications here.

trees, in general; oaks, especially;
burr oaks that survive fire, in particular;
and the generosity of apples

seeds, all of them: carrots like dust,
winged maple, doubled beet, peach kernel;
the inevitability of change

frogsong in spring; cattle
lowing on the farm across the hill;
the melodies of sad old songs

comfort of savory soup;
sweet iced fruit; the aroma of yeast;
a friend’s voice; hard work

seasons; bedrock; lilacs;
moonshadows under the ash grove;
something breaking through

– Patricia Monaghan
First published in Grace of Ancient Land