Guest Poet: Erin Robertson (2)

(Please note: I am re-posting this page because I originally entered Erin’s last name incorrectly, which set up an incorrect URL for the page. I left up the original page so you can read comments that responders had made to her poems. But this re-post will have the correct URL. Please make your comments on this page. My sincere apologies to Erin.)

I want to introduce you to Erin Robertson.

Erin likes hearing people’s stories, backpacking, writing (especially poetry), getting her hands in the dirt, spending time with children, and listening to music better than most things.  She lives in Louisville, Colorado with her remarkable husband and two sons.  Her work won a First Place in the 2016 Michael Adams Poetry Prize, has been performed as choral works by Ars Nova Singers, and was included in the 2015 Art Inspired by the Land show at the Boulder Public Library.  You can read more of her poetry in the anthology MycoEpithalamia:  Mushroom Wedding Poems, in FUNGI Magazine, and on her website:

The two poems below show why I am so impressed with her work. I’m sure she would appreciate your comments.


The raptor lady warned us owls are dim

but I’ve no sense of that here in the canyon,

my back to the rough, cold rock,

craning to see each fluffed

brown-and-cream pineconey feather,

that impossibly prim slim half-moon of hornlike beak,

the quizzical grizzled white stubble shooting out of the inner eye corners,

the oh-so-slow unperturbed motion: parting eye, retracting lid,

until one deep brown orb takes you in for a moment,


and there you are,

considering each other,

drawn in by that intelligent chestnut pool,


magnificently seen

by this very owl

who makes no move to leave,

simply contemplates you in a

caterpillar-y “Who are you?”

silent aloof composed supercilious way.

What grabs me most is the talons:

three more horny beaks curled around the rather small branch,

piercing it, surely,

one other casually held aloft – unnecessary, mere accessory:

the zygodactylous X.

After a silent while the owl stretches,

lifts one leg and reveals the tough leathery pad of foot

(exactly like a falconer’s glove),

then curls talons together

and quietly tucks this fistful of hooks

high into its soft breast,

clutched there like a little Bonaparte

for the rest of our visit.

“Thank you,” I breathe,

to the owl,

to the boys (for not wrestling),

to Alex (for driving the long way willingly),

to the canyon and the tree,

to good weather and absent fire,

to all things seen and unseen that conspired to bring us together,

and back to the owl, for staying close,

for somehow forgiving one more unfinished manuscript:

the Mexican Spotted Owl Activist Guide.


Pinus aristata

coming into the presence of bristlecones

always arrests me

I stop short

do a doubletake

survey the signs:

short needles

bunches of five

spangled with pitch

black-red- purple cones

spiked and glistening

check check check check


I should fall to my knees

lay my head against a trunk

stretch out in the middle of the stand

breathing whatever they desire

picturing my bones weathered and twisted like their ancient striped brown-red- grey

naked polished

burned trunks

a thousand years after all notice of my existence has passed

they may still hold this moment

between us now

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I've been writing mostly poetry for many years and have gotten a number of works accepted in publications and anthologies. I'm most interested in communicating with poets for whom craft is a high priority. I enjoy finding and commenting on poetic gems in other people's work. For my own work, I welcome polite comments, whether positive or critical.

2 thoughts on “Guest Poet: Erin Robertson (2)”

    1. Thanks, Carrie! I visited your blog and loved how vibrant and translucent your photos of flora are. I especially enjoyed your poem “Be-sea-ch” and your photos “Woodland Steps”, “Moss Wood”, and “Helianthus Landscape”. Of course, with a name like “Nightjars & Damselflies” I should have known your blog would be right up my alley! Here’s a little poem I wrote in 2013 that I thought of when I viewed your glowing leaves:

      Take a petal
      put it under
      the dissecting scope
      turn the light on
      bring your attention
      to your eyes
      lower the lens
      relax and focus.
      A new world
      leaps into view.
      The bumpy
      irregular cell walls
      like tiny Japanese lanterns,
      sparkle like jewels.
      It is hard to get enough
      of this miniature magic.

      Thanks again for taking the time to read my work,


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