Literary Yard

Search for meaning

‘Earthquake Weather’ and other poems

By: Don Thompson

Earthquake Weather

The air’s gone underground
into legendary deep caverns
locals believe in.

And a river down there
broods in the dark—inexhaustible
aquifer of silence.

Hot and dry and still.
We look at each other
without saying what we know.


Wind in the stiff-necked pine,
a minuet, or the willow
with its long hair let down.
No tree can resist.

The dowager oak, arthritic,
that would rather be left alone
gives in to the dance—
even if it means breaking a branch.

Autumn Haze

You sit here uptight, edgy
on a smooth, flat rock
overlooking the Valley
and try to settle your nerves…

No end of troubles down there
where sunlight turns blood red
and leaves to that rust
you see splotching a crime scene.

Up here—no hidden agendas,
nothing shrill. And air
without particulate matter
in which you can breathe easy.

End of July

The foothills, as if refusing
to be gray, lowland gray,
come up with a dusty taupe.

In the middle distance, a nut grove
adds an almost moss green.

We all dream of high country—
air that startles the lungs.

And in the foreground, an onion field
they’ll harvest next week,
scattering shreds of skin
that drift like pungent snowflakes.


Don Thompson has been writing about the San Joaquin Valley for over fifty years, including a dozen or so books and chapbooks.  A San Joaquin Almanac won the Eric Hoffer Award for 2021 in the chapbook category.   For more info and links to publishers, visit his website at

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