Friday, May 31, 2013

Courting the Wild: Love Affairs with Reptiles and Amphibians

Hiraeth Press has released the 2nd edition of 'Courting the Wild: Love Affairs with Reptiles and Amphibians!' This anthology is filled with stories about the first loves - that very moment when the authors fell in love with a reptile or amphibian and it changed their lives forever. It's a must for the naturalists in your life.

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Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Perhaps An Agreement Has Been Forgotten

Photo: (c) Jamie K. Reaser

They had barely opened their eyes
when the darkness came, muscular and slithering,
forked-tongue tasting the air, lapping
his way through the round portal to the other world –
a world they were yet to hear the stories of -

They had no need. Everything had come to them.
And this was coming too.

Yes, well. Truth be told, I wasn’t there.

But I know.

I know because we met in the barn only moments
passed and he was bulging with what I had
only yesterday decided to love.

I sighed, and decided to love equally,

But continued to wonder on this mysterious planet for a bit –
its gives and takes.

Who wins? Who loses?

I was taught to ask that question.
It’s typically a force of nature to act against
each other they’d said.

Predation. Competition. Parasitism.

I opened the wooden box and looked inside.

But it’s early yet, perhaps, they’ll try again,
I mused.

Honestly, I hoped.

Then the big questions alighted:

Could this loss have been an act of greater-than-self service –
a death for something else to live by?

What does it look like to feed the holy?

An ill-missioned chickadee perched on the nearest fence post,
a small green caterpillar in its dainty, sharp beak.

I wonder if we are so closed off to the concept of cooperation,

to faith in cooperation,

that we so seldom see it nested in relationships 
being enacted around us,

so rarely choose to speak that word, with its plentitude 
of circular lettering.

But the soul knows.
Everything depends on the body of otherness.
I have to believe

we have somehow forgotten a sacred agreement
that we once said “yes” to in the company of wild things.
And, at the very least,
most certainly at the very least,

I believe,
We should be offering thanks.
In abundance.

© 2013/Jamie K. Reaser
From "Wild Life: New and Selected Poems" (to be published by Hiraeth Press in June 2013;

Thursday, May 23, 2013


Photo: (c) Jamie K. Reaser

They’ve figured this out,
clearly - see how time chooses
the wise – what it is to know the
fleshy body as home  - to inhabit this place
that so many fear to claim with the name they’ve been given.
And notice how peaceful one can then become,
though, yes, there are exceptions.
Was it patience?
Was it perseverance?

Let the thin veneer of moss grow slick and
rings hint-gossip of life story in the scutes of
her carapace as she strides,
slowly, between some place and
somewhere else, maybe a tawny mushroom patch;
it is of no great nerosis to her, or me.

I know she is out ahead of us, this one.

I - standing here beside her -

I am praying that someday, 

some day,

we’ll be able to catch up.

© 2013-2018/Jamie K. Reaser
Published in "Wild Life: New and Selected Poems" 

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Sunday, May 19, 2013


Photo: (c) Jamie K. Reaser

Perhaps they are here to teach us humility,
And that is what so many people
find disturbing about their six legs

And hard casing, and the way they crawl
and fly – Sometimes under the yellowy porch lights
at night. Sometimes in the thick garden. What they read
with antennae, I know, our world-lonely bodies
could never know. This I grasp at as an ache.

They need not adorn themselves. I suspect
the thought of doing so would never cross their
little minds. Why bother? They are the living jewels
sculpted by the very same jeweler we deny,
that we will not give ourselves over to.

We can’t count them. We can’t name them.  Not all of them.
And in this is evidence of our lack of desire for
true intimacy with the living.

We wish to remain strangers from the multitudes.

You cannot convince me otherwise; everywhere you can see
how the backs are turned.

What is this great fear of finding out who we
are through relationship with another?

I think that I must admit this:

I have a love for the stars that course the heavens,
And at least an equal love for the beetles of this earthly plane.

If I can do but one thing and one thing only with
the time I have remaining,

it is to bow my head

and open my heart

to this –

an inordinate fondness for life.

© 2013/Jamie K. Reaser
From "Wild Life: New and Selected Poems" (to be published by Hiraeth Press in June 2013;

Thursday, May 9, 2013

The Vittles of Death

Photo: (c) Jamie K. Reaser

The broad-winged hawk
raised from the rocky creek bed
with a time-limited garter snake
in her talons.

I knew the bird by the
horizontal white tail barring
and the rapid flap of wing
as she rose toward the emerging canopy veil.

I knew the snake by the
vertical yellow stripes
running the length of body to tail.

They gleamed in the sunlight
stored up by the poplar leaves
for cloudy days
such as this.

What of him was not twisted
and entwined in a mutual
death grip with scaly hawk feet
streamed downward –

though in mid air,
gravity still laying a claim

“You will return to me.”

Perhaps all of us knew gravity
wasn’t expecting to see that snake
again in the same configuration
of embodiment.

Most of us were okay with it,
under the circumstances.

So bird and snake got me thinking
about how we living beings
must feed our inner beloved
on the vittles of Death.

Love notes take many forms:

Here my Beloved are the cords of attachment
to beliefs proven too small and inflexible,
to things that constrict and clutter,
and to all those who can only embrace us
in pathologies of pain.

Here too I lay down all of the possessions
that ego has acquired through the depletion
of Self and Other.

There are many.

Let me nourish you my Dearest,
tending cellular breath and memory,
on the flesh of animal and plant.
Though I’d like to promise you that every
being came to our lips by choice,
I don’t know this to be true.

Our gratitude needs be far greater than
Grandmother’s mourning.

I kept walking,
knowing somewhere beyond my sight
the extended arm of a large tree on mountain slope
was hosting hawk and serpent
at the shared breakfast table of Gain and Loss.

But before this story was completely over,
I came upon another common garter snake -
this one warming belly in the middle of a winding gravel road.

His tongue flicked in and out,
tasting, sensing.

I said,

“Hello Love,”

and gently moved him out of harm’s way.

© 2011-2016/Jamie K. Reaser
From "Sacred Reciprocity: Courting the Beloved in Everyday Life" 
and "Wild Life: New and Selected Poems"

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