Earth Day Reflections

wide river on a sunny day

In honor of Earth Day, we’re sharing these poems written by our Scholar Frederick Foote, MD. We hope they offer some peaceful reflection.


Wild Serene

In paths of red

I licked the water’s

cool pink mouth.


The sweet green muck enfolds

my dots of light

a heart ablaze with heat

with no trace of salinity

to mar its percolating suck

its warmth and slide.


Fishes brushed

my plated underbelly



to turn and snap

quick as thinking

fast as (dillaprine).



steered their bulk beneath the algae

parting the eager tide

and with due caution

I paddled, paddled,

my limbs happy

under their (fracks) and (bighs).


Reaching the shallows

I found a pool of flowers

close against a bank

that rose and steamed.


Lines of passing fishes dapple

light that falls, the stream.


The King of the Reeds

Blue stream

dripping patch of leaves

fade and make

him swell with noise.

tonight he’ll seize

twelve flies on the wing

clammy ears await

his urgent singing.


Joy explodes

a world that’s pure

and paradise-wet

intends no harm

and will not let him know:

beneath the levee’s lip

a snake lives nine summers old

who’ll snare the tip of his nose

before he gets

a chance to dive

and swallow him down alive.

Broken Grass

The buzz of flies

on my trachomatous eyes

and whining cubs with batting paws

make me wake and yawn

and stand to stretch

on shocking feet


Always the young taste best.

This day’s design

means death to one of theirs

and life to mine.


a tangled loop of bowel

a dusty hoof

torn from the fury around the feast.

My cubs lie down to sleep

their sweet hot limbs

uncoiled and slack.


Full Circle

What did

your dying mean

to you who lived it


Was there a moment

great snake

that gave you freedom



like black birds on an infrared sight

framed with indecision


Or did you simply move

like children touching a power line

as we recoil from pain


did you rise to strike

just as the hoe

curved like an iron rainbow


down to slice your neck

cutting the tender fibers in two

making your eyes squeeze shut


Ruptured head

falling back away from the rock

white gums chewing black dirt



what mechanistic bubble

makes us open our lips at last


as if to try to breathe

mother of demons

will I writhe like you


at my own death

my own hypoxia, my hydrogen ion

all the magic signs


to which you’ve led the way

and which I’ll never know

except through you


your rage unable to see

the prime menorrhagia’s

only just begun


You drag your tooth

of bone across my boot

a touch light as an anvil



to string limp coils around my neck

the haunted cook with the red face


whose burning stew ferments the night

by always underwriting

one more question


© Frederick Foote, MD