Four Trees Quartet

Eastern Hemlock

The leaves fall upon drying.
A poor Christmas tree.
Poor quality of wood.

Stonelike hardness of the knots
will chip steel blades.
Lumber taken for pulp.

Useful for railroad ties.
Holds spikes exceptionally well.
Bark rich in tannin.

A tea was once made from leaves
and twigs by woodsmen and Indians.
As fuel, the wood throws sparks.


Japanese Honeysuckle

Fruits eaten
by birds and mammals

and the dense cover
is much used,

but generally speaking
it is a weed.


Smooth Blackhaw

Fruits eaten
by foxes,

bobwhites,
and several

songbirds.
Some people

also like them


Bullbrier Greenbrier

Some twigs
may be

without
prickles.

Taken from George A. Petrides, A Field Guide to Trees and Shrubs (Houghton Mifflin Marcourt, 1973). Submitted by J. R. Solonche.

The Nightingale

The color paintings were prepared on fine,
brilliant Wu silk, which were closely and wonderfully woven.

Traditional Chinese paints were used. The blues
and greens came from azurite, malachite, and indigo;

the reds from cinnabar, realgar, and orpiment, with the brilliant red
from coral and the pink-red from a flowering vine; umber from an iron oxide

called limonite; yellow from the sap of the rattan plant; and white from lead
or pulverized oyster shells. To all, powdered jade was added

for good fortune. These colors were mixed with stag horn, fish or ox
glue, or glue made from the pulp of the soap bean. The black

Chinese ink is ten parts pine soot, three parts powdered jade,
and one part glue made from donkey hides boiled

in Tang River water. The paints were mixed with boiling water. In
the first stage, the water looked like fish eyes; in the second,

like innumerable pearls strung together; and in the final stage,
like rolling breakers. The paints were applied with Chinese brushes made

of sheep, rabbit, goat, weasel, and wolf hairs picked in autumn,
as well as of mouse whiskers, with handles of bamboo and buffalo horn.

Where changes were required in the art, the paint was removed
by wiping the area with the juice of the apricot seed.

Illustration notes from The Nightingale by Demi (Harcourt Brace Javanovich, 1985). Submitted by J.R. Solonche.

Dead pianos

The Knabe baby grand
did a cartwheel and landed
on its back,
legs poking into the air.

A Lester upright
thudded onto its side
with a final groan of strings,
a death-rattling chord.

After ten pianos were dumped,
a small yellow loader
with a claw in front scuttled
in like a vicious beetle,

crushing keyboards,
soundboards
and cases

into a pile.

(From For More Pianos, Last Note Is Thud in the Dump. Submitted by J.R. Solonche)