Nature's Musings

Becoming Marco Polo

Photographs and poetry by Penny Wilkes

Becoming Marco Polo
Outside her childhood bedroom, 
a Jacaranda tree rubbed the porch railing
in squeals that lead curiosity like a piper.
She sneaked out the window to climb it.
Thighs squeezed the bark; arms in hug. 
She needed to touch the V formed by branches
near the ground. If only she could reach it, 
then swing to the grass where adventures waited.
Night warbling continued from the tree. Muggins, 
the cat, dug claws in the wood and scampered
the highway at will. Her tail spiralled in the breeze.
Finch chitters arose from limbs. Even they
flew in and out of branches or captured ants
on this Silk Road. A hummingbird made its nest 
higher than her reach. When her father called,
she looked out the window, stuck in the middle.
Again, she tried, clutched with her fingers
to find security in the roughness. Blood mingled 
with grey bark in failed attempts to settle into the V.
Courage grew in welts on arms and legs.
In spring, an explosion of lavender blossoms 
flew a fragrance of musk into the air. She took a breath
and tried once more. One shoe felt the wedge.
Another stretch and both feet arrived.
She balanced and looked upward into an applause 
of leaves. She jumped from the V 
to explore the world and back before dinner.

Penny Wilkes,  served as a science editor, travel and nature writer and columnist. An award-winning writer and poet, she has published a collection of short stories, Seven Smooth Stones. Her published poetry collections include: Whispers from the Land, In Spite of War, and Flying Lessons. Her Blog on The Write Life features life skills, creativity, and writing: . Her photoblog is @:



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