When I first met Lisa Cihlar I didn't know she wrote poetry - I'd only read her short stories. Lisa is too humble to say much about herself. That's a virtue I should develop, but let me say this about her: Lisa's writing voice is a natural as Mother Nature herself - and her way with words absolutely charms me. There is nothing artificial about her work - it's art without artifice or insincerity. Lisa takes me to another period of my life - to my garden and long walks. Here are two blank verse pieces that will bring out the Garrison Keilor in anyone.

Lisa lives and writes and hibernates in snowy southern Wisconsin. After 25 years she has found her way back to poetry. Her themes tend toward the natural world and if she can make a reader see a spider anew, she has done her job.

'Argiope' Photo by Richard T. Bryant. Email richard_t_bryant@mindspring.com
Photo by Richard T. Bryant


December 20, 2006

There is a spider in these parts,
called by locals a garden spider,
called by the encyclopedia “Argiope.”
(Rhymes with calliope.)

I collect them,
Some years I find one,
other years there may be half a dozen.
I search the yard and garden looking for their egg heavy
black and yellow bodies hanging head down, waiting.

Today I found a silk with the telltale zig-zag across the center
stretched between two spent stalks of daylily
in my garden.
It is the only one I have found so far this fall.
I will visit this arachnid everyday
until the killing frost.

These spiders practice stillness.
A skill I work to acquire.
My stillness, mandated by disease,
theirs by instinct.


stones in water (c) sharshenin
Photo © Shirley Harshenin


December 20, 2006

I have spent as much time as possible
on the shores of lakes.

Superior being my first choice,
Michigan my second
and the unnamed pond in the woods
in Oneida County my third.

I have buckets of lake scoured stones
that look best when wet.
Granite in impossible colors:
reds and greens and pinks.
One sandstone, imbedded with a fossil,
found on private property,
stolen away in my pocket
with no regrets.

Stones are what give me words,
as hard to believe as that is.
I suppose it is about the water, too,
and the birch trees leaning into the
offshore winds.
And sand.
Really, when you think of it,
just tiny stones.

When it is all said and done
will someone just dump
my treasures in the drive,
maybe carry away the fossil
and scatter my ashes on
Agate beach?
I can only hope for a fate
as rich as this.

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Contact Lisa at: lcihlar@tds.net

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