Tag Archives: Brenda Yates

CPR Journal Volume 15, Issue 2 Now Online

Cider Press Review Volume 15, Issue 2Cider Press Review’s April 2013 web issue, Volume 15, Issue 2, is now online.

Read new work by Sandra Kohler, Lois Marie Harrod, Jeanpaul Ferro, David Filer, Lorraine Doran, Rebecca Aronson, Doris Matthews, Brenda Yates, Diane Scholl, Sharon Chmielarz, Joseph Dorazio, Rachel Rostad, Christine Butterworth McDermott, Barbara Mossberg, Shawn Fawson, Susana Lang, John Davis, Susan Grimm, Grant Clauser, Kathleen Hellen, John Sibley Williams, and Jane Rosenberg LaForge.

Read the issue online today; download a Kindle version from Amazon in May.

by Brenda Yates

We find only the world we look for.

—Henry David Thoreau


Walking now after the storm has blown away
is once again an ever-the-same but eerier,
more still, pursuit, in debris of what just yesterday
was blooming or branching on pine, palm, silky oak.
Hubris of flora? Of fauna? All broke.
Too tall this crown banging against the sky.
Too wide these limbs or trunks that will not sway.
Plenty strong, wings had seemed to birds in its eye
where there was calm and water mirrored like glass.
The egrets of seas or waterways, now out of place,
here in a fir, there a spruce, whatever the case,
bedraggled, slouched like lost travelers
shivering and far from where they want to be—
as if the wind still blew and they were floss.


Cold rain for days, a week, then more, just kept
coming. At last, while we slept
it cleared. Sun slivers on the horizon
before it breaks, brighter than ever over ridge after
ridge towering like Alps, like Himalayas.

Rain-cleaned air sparkles; crags and peaks
have grown bigger, taller, steeper, more real,
so clear I see the antennas on Mt. Wilson,
the snowcaps on Mt. Baldy proper, and lesser,
the rugged faces on the third ridge. I can feel
their fierceness, though they’re on the far
side of the valley beyond this and the next,
as if mountains before these were mere
images, weightless as the ideas
of places encountered on maps or in books.


But what would I see, what would my eyes tell me
if clouds didn’t hug foothills, suggest a valley?
What if, at this instant, mist weren’t floating
between slopes the way it does in a Chinese painting?


In the sun’s angled rays, chilly air stirs
as if warmth were bringing it to life. Vapors
rise from puddles, from flooded
intersections, from grass as it begins
to glitter, from pines letting go
of raindrops trapped between needles
as the trees and hedges that had
been holding their skins
closed, open themselves—exhaling
and for just one moment,
all of us stand exchanging
long, wet breaths, mingled
in the morning light.

after Robert Lowell


Published in Cider Press Review, Volume 15, Issue 2.

Brenda Yates

Brenda Yates is from nowhere. After growing up on Air Force bases here and overseas, she settled in California. She is a Pushcart Prize nominee (thanks, Cider Press Review!), recipient of the Patricia Bibby Memorial Prize at Idyllwild Arts, and winner of the Beyond Baroque Literary Arts Center Poetry Contest.

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Pond, Water Lilies & Meadow, by Brenda Yates

With apologies to Eamon Grennan

You enter Senda’s painting in stillness, among reflections of smudged trees and brush at the edges of water, your eye drawn through a break in foliage to sunlight sheening a meadow beyond, untruthfully shining back on the pond, lighting pink floating flowers and a fruiting red fungus that illuminates the foot of an almost familiar, splotchy, white-bark tree—a separate kingdom brightening just above worn-away roots, opened like a dark mouth, wounded, but still eating into the ground.

It was the only oil my father ever bought, the only painting that hung on the walls of wherever it was we were living, aside from the reproductions depicting the temptation of Christ, and Jesus, alone in the wilderness, praying, while dark, piled-up clouds sent down “slanting pillars of light like ladders up to heaven,” shafts I called God’s eyes and took as evidence, whenever they appeared in real life, that He was looking down on us as we drove from base to base.

In his 87th year, my father says he wanted me to have it before he died. He’d hated how susceptible I was, how I disappeared into that landscape. Yet he packaged it, and mailed it across the bleeding miles. Among bombers, missiles and Cold War, the soldier in him tried to snap her out of her own, dreamy world—and never gave up trying in all the years she lived in his house. He feared the dangers sure to come to anyone not on real ground and especially for the ever-after of a daughter who did not do as the Bible said:

“If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. Love not the world nor the things in this world.”  But I did.

Bought on a lark in the village near a waterfall, down the mountain from Nikko’s Buddhist temples and Shinto shrines—we knew its flaws, even then. Perspective askew, and it’s a marsh, yet no mist veils the distance, no mud or muck grabs your shoes as you stand beside the water. But I was bound to it in the dark, bleak winters of biting wind and lake-effect snow, of too far north on a too-long stint in stuffy, sealed-up houses, where looking up from a book, I felt the velvet summer air, sensed the way everything, even my skin, gathered light as if it were holy, smelled the fragrant intimacy of green in the full flush of summer, knew the seasonal dominion of this world, real and imagined, beyond damnation.


Published in Cider Press Review, Volume 14, Issue 2.

Brenda Yates
Brenda Yates is from nowhere. After growing up on Air Force bases stateside and overseas, she settled first in Massachusetts, and then in California where she lives with her husband.

See all items about Brenda Yates

Visit Brenda Yates’s contributors page.