I'm a little slime-mold cell
I cannot hear the dinner-bell
Or the starting gun
I don't have an ear or brain
I don't know if I've missed the train
Or the fun
So I lie in a state of relaxation
With my brothers in slime
Most of the time.

Then WHAM! I'm alive with anticipation
Of procreation
Or recreation
Or (I can't say it! You'll laugh!) artistic creation!
And all of us cells at a signal from somewhere inside
Start to slither and slide toward each other
And throw ourselves into this project we can't understand,
That something bigger than us must have planned
And then we are it!
We are the something 
Tremendously bigger than us; we are each other.
No longer brothers but one, towering high,
And then without even a sigh
We settle back into slime.

So, friend, if you're feeling disorganized and scattered,
If you're feeling like nothing (especially you) ever mattered,
Remember that you and your fellows can reach the sublime,
But meanwhile you're biding your time,
Here with the slime.


-Nancy Schimmel




On this ancient sea
Where even the medusas
Have turned to stone
And stone has invaded
The mollusk's house
Where stiff red breakers
Keep the silence
And the sea lilies are held
In a last graceful curve
Here, where the ocean is too old
To dance with the moon
Great ships lie stranded
For the deep, slow molten tides of earth
To lift them free


-Nancy Schimmel



To Heaven I present a restless face,

Where I am near to Hell, ‘tis cool and calm.

To cuts I am a sting, to grief a balm,

I am a road but all tracks I erase,

I say hush, hush, yet I am never stilled,

I break, and break, and break, and yet am whole,

I reach and reach again, but have no goal,

Though all comes to me I am not filled.

I roar, I reach, I am not satisfied,

I pound great rocks to dust and chase the moon,

I dance tall ships and always call the tune,

I change with every wind, yet I abide,

For I birthed all that fly, or swim, or creep,

And I can rock a weary world to sleep.


-Nancy Schimmel 





What would the tree be without the kissing deer?

And the deer

Without the ardent wolf?

Slow as a slug

Would we recognize her?


Just so

Our mind’s edge

Was worked by the stubborn flint


Just so

Past and future

Were born in the moon that pulled our blood


Just so

The dreaming eye

Was shaped by the fire

That kept the wolf away


Without rock, tree, fire and moon

Without the wolf that sings to the moon

Without the dream of the running deer


Just who do we think we are?


-Nancy Schimmel



air a thicket of buckbrush and manzanita and sage

then the sweet scent of ceanothus

heavy with humming

small, fuzzy, aerodynamically impossible bodies

wings beating, beating the heavy air

till it is stiff enough to hold them up

folding heat’s voice into the day


chapparal souffle

bakes under the summer sun


falls at four o’clock

when the fog comes in


-Nancy Schimmel