Author: Beth Benjamin

Season of the Swarm

Behind the white bucket on which I sit, a beehive is tuning up a whole orchestra of violins. The hum gets louder. The whirling vortex of golden bodies spins faster. The air is filled with living pollen grains Circling, never colliding. Sounds like danger. Smells like honey. The intensity of the sound diminishes as the… Read more »

Plum Blossom

Again the white foam of plum The clambering spray of clematis along the back fence Seedlings of sweet pea, forgetmenot and columbine, opening its tiny leafy fans. The varied thrush brightens day by day and practices its courting song The year exhales in fragrant bloom and green beginnings Today my daughter’s birthday, she pregnant, round… Read more »

Picking Raspberries on My 60th Birthday

Once I was a raspberry wife. In our own back yard the patch bloomed and fruited. You liked to prune but hated to harvest. Picking raspberries is so sensual: color as it deepens from red to garnet signifying full sugar, the pebbled nipple of fruit must yield to gentle touch. Like all fruit it lets… Read more »

Mating Season at Puddingstone Dam

Blackbird expands his epaulets, puffs up those otherworldly scarlet blazes edged with bright yellow. Brilliant wing patches slash  a window into another technicolor universe. His tiny clawnails grip the stems of the golden mustard forest, swaying eight feet tall, giant in this rainy spring. Song sparrow in the scrub says Chip chip, screeeeee. Every species… Read more »

I Bet the Seeds Came up Last Night

Pea paws thrust baby green fists through tender crust of soil Pak choi, Tiny brassica butterflies , Double winged cotyledons light on the surface tracing loops where the seeds were sown. Those must be lettuce Hinged bright green ovals that  trace a crooked row in front of hairpin spring onions laced with frilly parsley and… Read more »


Goldie, the hen who thinks she is a dog, takes no notice of the checkered rooster, scratches her hidden ear with a stiff tripod foot. Cartilaginous corona jiggles stiffly, necorations gleam, russet and cream feathers in  overlapping mermaid scales. She’d rather follow the children. No fence can hold her, Isaac can. He tucks the solid… Read more »

Cucumber Birthday

Today is Wednesday,  the birth day of the cucumbers. Under the netting I see the jade green cotyledons, moist from morning dew, preparing to unfold by afternoon. Born from a dream of trailing vines, yellow starry blossoms, enough bee visits when finally male and female bloom at once. Pollination then pickle fodder in mid-summer. Now… Read more »

Consider the Sunflowers

Hurtling down the highway encased in Volvo and rock n’roll, plucked from the slowly blossoming morning in a sunny garden by urgent appointments ticking impatiently in the coastal fog, I consider the sunflowers. What if I could live as a human helianthus? Accomplishing my purposes without hurry or rush, turning my huge head at the… Read more »

Autumn Soup

I don’t want to drive to the city, march with thousands, listen to speeches, hold a cardboard sign, be on one side or another, feel excited, feel angry, feel righteous, feel deep despair, be right, be wrong, be confused. I just want to make a huge pot of soup on this drizzly day in the… Read more »

And Yet

Once again the town breathes hot and arid panting at the base of a California mountain range that runs from west to east. We pride ourselves on a canopy of trees in a drought stressed landscape, strive to maintain this gentle shady dream. After each rain my heart eases, relaxes its clenched fist. With enough… Read more »