Tanka By M. Kei – Vol. 1



breaking the surface
without a sound,
a fish leaping
in the silence
of a spring evening


he rocks and rocks
in the cheap green hammock
the tourists gone,
the simple pleasure of
a wooden ship at anchor


the tomcat’s complaint
so used to freedom
he can’t accept
the leash
and harness


M. Kei is a tall ship sailor and award-winning poet who lives on Maryland’s Eastern shore. He is the editor of Atlas Poetica: A Journal of World Tanka. His most recent collection of poetry is January, A Tanka Diary. He is also the author of the award-winning gay Age of Sail adventure novels, Pirates of the Narrow Seas (blogspot.narrowseas.com). He can be followed on Twitter @kujakupoet, or visit AtlasPoetica.org.

4 Ways IBM’s Watson Wants to Help You Find the Perfect Recipe


There are many ways IBM’s Watson supercomputer has been sneaking into our lives unnoticed.

It’s being used increasingly in the health and medical industries. Sanofi, a French pharmaceutical company, has been using Watson to assist them in drug re-purposing. The FDA has signed a research agreement with IBM aimed at exchanging health data through blockchain. Sifting through mountains of info from wearables, clinical trials, patient records, and genomic data, to help determine which treatments work best.

Sports brand Under Armour is putting the technology to use in a new fitness app. So is a Japanese company that’s developed a robot called Pepper.

One of the more visible ways is with Chef Watson.

Cognitive Computing is being used to explore the differences in ingredients and their chemical properties in a visual way. Here are a few ways ‘Cognitive Computer Cooking’ might help with your next get together (or maybe not).

1.  After partnering with Bon Appétit in 2014, IBM launched a web app that lets you create your own full recipes with Watson. Working similarly to its sister online recipe makers, it allows you to choose one or more ingredients that you want, and rule out those you find objectionable. You can also start by selecting a dish you already know (like casserole) and hunt through possible ingredient combinations. Then Watson generates at least 100 recipes for you to try. They range from classic to experimental.

The Watson inspired combos are derived from an aggregate of 9,000 Bon Appétit recipes, combining several different recipes created by human chefs. It takes ideas and ingredients that have been used the most, then makes decisions/suggestions based on that.

Unfortunately, those of us without much cooking know how out there, looking for our own signature dish to be imagined for us, might be out of luck.

Watson is still learning itself and is apt to make mistakes. If it gives you the wrong proportion size, and you don’t catch it, you might end up with a ruined meal.

There are many occasions when you won’t need any experience to find mistakes. Like adding a lot of chocolate to blondies, kind of defeats the purpose.

2.  Bear Naked and Watson have cooked up a new way to enjoy your favorite granola snacks before you hit the trail (or the road to work).

At BearNakedCustom.com you can choose from 50 different ingredients to find your favorite blend. It all starts with the help of IBM Chef Watson, who selects possible flavor pairings based on your personal preferences, giving you the option to choose flavors you want, and exclude the ones you don’t. With thousands of possible combinations, it might just make it harder for you to choose!

Pick your granola, then select other ingredients which include fruits, nuts, vegetables, herbs, spices and more. Choose up to 3 and hit save.

You can even name your blend and choose a bear illustration for the package.

The company that launched in 2002 is known for using all Non-GMO Project Verified and ethically sourced ingredients. From the cinnamon apples that come from Smeltzer Orchard Company, a family owned farm in Michigan, to Red Sea Salt enriched with red algae clay from Kauai, Hawaii.

It’s the first consumer brand to use Chef Watson based foods.

Certainly a novel idea that seems like it might stick around and be picked up by other businesses. How many times do you stare at 10 different pre-made flavors, and none of them are what you wanted?

3.  IBM Chef Watson Twist is an ios app that can help you mix up a new and unique cocktail-style drink. Just tell Watson your mood, choose non-alcoholic or with, add some flavors, and Bingo! Watson comes up with a drink that (hopefully) tickles your taste buds.

4.  In need of a cookbook? Even The Institute of Culinary Education has joined forces with Watson to publish a book of recipes, Cognitive Cooking with Chef Watson: Recipes for Innovation from IBM & the Institute of Culinary Education, inspired by the supercomputer.

So what’s next for Chef Watson? A smarter mobile app, fewer mistakes, or new recipes derived from the internet’s entire recipe catalog?

Maybe what Watson really helps us discover is that a little experimentation is great, but we don’t always make such bad choices ourselves.

Autumn Poems – Vol. 1



A.R. Ammons


Fall’s leaves are redder than

spring’s flowers, have no pollen,

and also sometimes fly, as the wind

schools them out or down in shoals

or droves: though I

have not been here long, I can

look up at the sky at night and tell

how things are likely to go for

the next hundred million years:

the universe will probably not find

a way to vanish nor I

in all that time reappear.

Autumn Sunshine

D.H. Lawrence


The sun sets out the autumn crocuses

        And fills them up a pouring measure

        Of death-producing wine, till treasure

 Runs waste down their chalices.

 All, all Persephone’s pale cups of mould

        Are on the board, are over-filled;

        The portion to the gods is spilled;

 Now, mortals all, take hold!

 The time is now, the wine-cup full and full

        Of lambent heaven, a pledging-cup;

        Let now all mortal men take up

 The drink, and a long, strong pull.

  Out of the hell-queen’s cup, the heaven’s pale wine –

        Drink then, invisible heroes, drink.

        Lips to the vessels, never shrink,

  Throats to the heavens incline.

  And take within the wine the god’s great oath

        By heaven and earth and hellish stream

        To break this sick and nauseous dream

  We writhe and lust in, both.

  Swear, in the pale wine poured from the cups of the queen

        Of hell, to wake and be free

        From this nightmare we writhe in,

  Break out of this foul has-been.

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Halloween Poems


Robert Burns

  "Yes! let the rich deride, the proud disdain,
        The simple pleasures of the lowly train;
        To me more dear, congenial to my heart,
        One native charm, than all the gloss of art."


        Upon that night, when fairies light
            On Cassilis Downans dance,
        Or owre the lays, in splendid blaze,
            On sprightly coursers prance;
        Or for Colean the rout is ta'en,
            Beneath the moon's pale beams;
        There, up the Cove, to stray an' rove
            Amang the rocks an' streams
            To sport that night.

        Amang the bonnie winding banks
            Where Doon rins, wimplin', clear,
        Where Bruce ance rul'd the martial ranks,
            An' shook his Carrick spear,
        Some merry, friendly, countra folks,
            Together did convene,
        To burn their nits, an' pou their stocks,
            An' haud their Halloween
            Fu' blythe that night.

        The lasses feat, an' cleanly neat,
            Mair braw than when they're fine;
        Their faces blythe, fu' sweetly kythe,
            Hearts leal, an' warm, an' kin';
        The lads sae trig, wi' wooer babs,
            Weel knotted on their garten,
        Some unco blate, an' some wi' gabs,
            Gar lasses' hearts gang startin'
            Whiles fast at night.

        Then, first and foremost, thro' the kail,
            Their stocks maun a' be sought ance;
        They steek their een, an' graip an' wale,
            For muckle anes an' straught anes.
        Poor hav'rel Will fell aff the drift,
            An' wander'd through the bow-kail,
        An' pou't, for want o' better shift,
            A runt was like a sow-tail,
            Sae bow't that night.

        Then, straught or crooked, yird or nane,
            They roar an' cry a' throu'ther;
        The vera wee-things, todlin', rin
            Wi' stocks out-owre their shouther;
        An' gif the custoc's sweet or sour,
            Wi' joctelegs they taste them;
        Syne coziely, aboon the door,
            Wi' cannie care, they've placed them
            To lie that night.

        The lasses staw frae mang them a'
            To pou their stalks o' corn;
        But Rab slips out, an' jinks about,
            Behint the muckle thorn:
        He grippet Nelly hard an' fast;
            Loud skirl'd a' the lasses;
        But her tap-pickle maist was lost,
            When kiuttlin' in the fause-house
            Wi' him that night.

        The auld guidwife's weel hoordet nits
        Are round an' round divided;
        An' monie lads' an' lasses' fates
        Are there that night decided:
        Some kindle, couthie, side by side,
        An' burn thegither trimly;
        Some start awa' wi' saucy pride,
        And jump out-owre the chimlie
            Fu' high that night.

        Jean slips in twa wi' tentie e'e;
        Wha 'twas, she wadna tell;
        But this is Jock, an' this is me,
        She says in to hersel':
        He bleez'd owre her, an' she owre him,
        As they wad never mair part;
        'Till, fuff! he started up the lum,
        An' Jean had e'en a sair heart
            To see't that night.

        Poor Willie, wi' his bow-kail runt,
        Was brunt wi' primsie Mallie;
        An' Mallie, nae doubt, took the drunt,
        To be compar'd to Willie;
        Mall's nit lap out wi' pridefu' fling,
        An' her ain fit it brunt it;
        While Willie lap, and swoor, by jing,
        'Twas just the way he wanted
            To be that night.

        Nell had the fause-house in her min',
        She pits hersel an' Rob in;
        In loving bleeze they sweetly join,
        'Till white in ase they're sobbin';
        Nell's heart, was dancin' at the view,
        She whisper'd Rob to leuk for't:
        Rob, stowlins, prie'd her bonie mou',
        Fu' cozie in the neuk for't,
            Unseen that night.

        But Merran sat behint their backs,
        Her thoughts on Andrew Bell;
        She lea'es them gashin' at their cracks,
        And slips out by hersel':
        She through the yard the nearest taks,
        An' to the kiln she goes then,
        An' darklins graipit for the bauks,
        And in the blue-clue throws then,
            Right fear't that night.

        An' ay she win't, an' ay she swat,
        I wat she made nae jaukin';
        'Till something held within the pat,
        Guid L--d! but she was quaukin'!
        But whether 'twas the Deil himsel',
        Or whether 'twas a bauk-en',
        Or whether it was Andrew Bell,
        She did na wait on talkin'
            To spier that night.

        Wee Jenny to her graunie says,
        "Will ye go wi' me, graunie?
        I'll eat the apple at the glass,
        I gat frae uncle Johnnie:"
        She fuff't her pipe wi' sic a lunt,
        In wrath she was sae vap'rin',
        She notic't na, an aizle brunt
        Her braw new worset apron
            Out thro' that night.

        "Ye little skelpie-limmer's face!
        I daur you try sic sportin',
        As seek the foul Thief onie place,
        For him to spae your fortune:
        Nae doubt but ye may get a sight!
        Great cause ye hae to fear it;
        For monie a ane has gotten a fright,
        An' liv'd an' died deleeret
            On sic a night.

        "Ae hairst afore the Sherra-moor,
        I mind't as weel's yestreen,
        I was a gilpey then, I'm sure
        I was na past fifteen:
        The simmer had been cauld an' wat,
        An' stuff was unco green;
        An' ay a rantin' kirn we gat,
        An' just on Halloween
            It fell that night.

        "Our stibble-rig was Rab M'Graen,
            A clever, sturdy fellow:
        He's sin gat Eppie Sim wi' wean,
            That liv'd in Achmacalla:
        He gat hemp-seed, I mind it weel,
            And he made unco light o't;
        But monie a day was by himsel',
            He was sae sairly frighted
            That vera night."

        Then up gat fechtin' Jamie Fleck,
            An' he swoor by his conscience,
        That he could saw hemp-seed a peck;
            For it was a' but nonsense;
        The auld guidman raught down the pock,
            An' out a' handfu' gied him;
        Syne bad him slip frae 'mang the folk,
            Sometime when nae ane see'd him,
            An' try't that night.

        He marches thro' amang the stacks,
            Tho' he was something sturtin;
        The graip he for a harrow taks,
            An' haurls at his curpin;
        An' ev'ry now an' then he says,
            "Hemp-seed, I saw thee,
        An' her that is to be my lass,
            Come after me, an' draw thee
            As fast that night."

        He whistl'd up Lord Lennox' march,
            To keep his courage cheery;
        Altho' his hair began to arch,
            He was sae fley'd an' eerie;
        'Till presently he hears a squeak,
            An' then a grane an' gruntle;
        He by his shouther gae a keek,
            An' tumbl'd wi' a wintle
            Out-owre that night.

        He roar'd a horrid murder-shout,
            In dreadfu' desperation!
        An' young an' auld cam rinnin' out,
            An' hear the sad narration;
        He swoor 'twas hilchin Jean M'Craw,
            Or crouchie Merran Humphie,
        'Till, stop! she trotted thro' them a';
            An' wha was it but Grumphie
            Asteer that night!

        Meg fain wad to the barn hae gaen,
            To win three wechts o' naething;
        But for to meet the deil her lane,
            She pat but little faith in:
        She gies the herd a pickle nits,
            An' twa red cheekit apples,
        To watch, while for the barn she sets,
            In hopes to see Tam Kipples
            That vera night.

        She turns the key wi' cannie thraw,
            An' owre the threshold ventures;
        But first on Sawnie gies a ca',
            Syne bauldly in she enters:
        A ratton rattled up the wa',
            An' she cried, L--d preserve her!
        An' ran thro' midden-hole an' a',
            An' pray'd wi' zeal and fervour,
            Fu' fast that night.

        They hoy't out Will, wi sair advice;
            They hecht him some fine braw ane;
        It chanc'd the stack he faddom't thrice,
            Was timmer-propt for thrawin';
        He taks a swirlie auld moss-oak,
            For some black, grousome carlin;
        An' loot a winze, an' drew a stroke,
            'Till skin in blypes cam haurlin'
            Aff's nieves that night.

        A wanton widow Leezie was,
            As canty as a kittlin;
        But, och! that night, amang the shaws,
            She got a fearfu' settlin'!
        She thro' the whins, an' by the cairn,
            An' owre the hill gaed scrievin,
        Whare three lairds' lands met at a burn,
            To dip her left sark-sleeve in,
            Was bent that night.

        Whyles owre a linn the burnie plays,
            As through the glen it wimpl't;
        Whyles round a rocky scaur it strays,
            Whyles in a wiel it dimpl't;
        Whyles glitter'd to the nightly rays,
            Wi' bickering, dancing dazzle;
        Whyles cookit underneath the braes,
            Below the spreading hazel,
            Unseen that night.

        Amang the brackens on the brae,
            Between her an' the moon,
        The deil, or else an outler quey,
            Gat up an' gae a croon:
        Poor Leezie's heart maist lap the hool!
            Near lav'rock-height she jumpit,
        But mist a fit, an' in the pool
            Out-owre the lugs she plumpit,
            Wi' a plunge that night.

        In order, on the clean hearth-stane,
            The luggies three are ranged,
        And ev'ry time great care is ta'en,
            To see them duly changed:
        Auld uncle John, wha wedlock's joys
            Sin Mar's-year did desire,
        Because he gat the toom-dish thrice,
            He heav'd them on the fire
            In wrath that night.

        Wi' merry sangs, and friendly cracks,
            I wat they did na weary;
        An' unco tales, an' funnie jokes,
            Their sports were cheap an' cheery;
        Till butter'd so'ns wi' fragrant lunt,
            Set a' their gabs a-steerin';
        Syne, wi' a social glass o' strunt,
            They parted aff careerin'
            Fu' blythe that night.

Edwin C. Ranck

  A night when witches skim the air,
        When spooks and goblins climb the stair;
     When bats rush out with muffled wings,
        And now and then the door-bell rings;
     But just the funniest thing of all
        Is 'cause you can't see when they call.

Science & Nature Themed Submissions

We are now accepting Haiku, Tanka, Science, and Nature Poetry submissions to our site. It seems there’s a shortage of websites, and literary journals for that matter, that accept and encourage these types of poetry, which saddens us deeply.

We’re also on the lookout for any similarly themed art. This includes photography, drawings, recordings, and anything else in-between. So if you have material that doesn’t quite ‘fit’ into a category, that’s OK.

Articles and essays related to nature, wildlife, or science are welcome too.

Unfortunately, we cannot pay you anything at present, and we do not guarantee publication. However, we will consider all submissions carefully.

Traditional (5-7-5 Haiku, 5-7-5-7-7 Tanka) and free-form styles are both fine. We try to keep an open mind.

What we want:

  1. Any Haiku, Tanka, or other form of micro-poetry.
  2. Any length Nature/Environmental themed poetry.
  3. Any Science or Technology themed poetry.
  4. Art, video, or photographs.
  5. Articles and essays about any aspect of nature, science, or the environment.


As the author, you keep all rights to your work, and can request its removal at anytime. We reserve the right to promote it via social media, email etc.

So, if you have any Haiku sitting around without a home…

Send them to: save.the.tierra@gmail.com

  1. Paste poem(s) or other written material in the body of the email, along with the name you wish it credited to. Send images as attachments.
  2. Please include ‘Submission’ in the subject line.
  3. Expect an ‘accepted’ or ‘declined’ email within about a month.

You can direct any questions to the same address.

Kate Alsbury | Editor


The Genetics of 6,000 Year Old Barley

barley Uri Davidovich

Photo Credit – Uri Davidovich

Using archaeobotany to track the domestication of crop plants.

“For us, ancient DNA works like a time capsule that allows us to travel back in history and look into the domestication of crop plants at distinct time points in the past.”  

                     — Director of the Department of Archaeogenetics at the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History

The genome of what is believed to be the world’s oldest plant (to date) has been reconstructed. 6,000 year-old barley grain seeds were found along with tens of thousands of other grains, during an excavation by Uri Davidovich. Their location; Israel’s Judean Desert, near Masada fortress, in Yoram cave. It’s hard to access and was probably used for a very short time.

Ancient corn was the first extremely old plant to be genetically sequenced. The Chalcolithic grain is now the oldest plant to be reconstructed.

Researchers used radiocarbon dating on half of the grains, and used the other half for DNA mapping purposes.

“This similarity is an amazing finding considering to what extent the climate, but also the local flora and fauna, as well as the agricultural methods, have changed over this long period of time.”

                    -Martin Mascher, from the Leibniz Institute of Plant Genetics and Crop Plant Research

Barley and wheat have been grown for at least 10,000 years in large parts of the Middle East. There are many similarities in genetic makeup between ancient grain and the modern day domesticated. Wild forms of these grains are still found in the area today. By comparing the ancient seeds with wild ones and other farmer grown varieties in the Near East, researchers suggest that barley domestication originated in the Upper Jordan Valley. This is supported by archaeological sites where remains of barley cultivation were found.

“Our analyses show that the seeds cultivated 6,000 years ago greatly differ genetically from the wild forms we find today in the region. However, they show considerable genetic overlap with present-day domesticated lines from the region.”

                   -Nils Stein

Source: Press Release From BAR-ILAN UNIVERSITY.

Poems For July

Artwork by Kate Alsbury  

The Bush

by James Lister Cuthbertson


    Give us from dawn to dark

    Blue of Australian skies,

    Let there be none to mark

    Whither our pathway lies.

    Give us when noontide comes

    Rest in the woodland free,

    Fragrant breath of the gums,

    Cold, sweet scent of the sea.

    Give us the wattle’s gold

    And the dew-laden air,

    And the loveliness bold

    Loneliest landscapes wear.

    These are the haunts we love,

    Glad with enchanted hours,

    Bright as the heavens above,

    Fresh as the wild bush flowers.


In The Garden.

by Emily Elizabeth Dickinson


 A bird came down the walk:

    He did not know I saw;

    He bit an angle-worm in halves

    And ate the fellow, raw.

    And then he drank a dew

    From a convenient grass,

    And then hopped sidewise to the wall

    To let a beetle pass.

    He glanced with rapid eyes

    That hurried all abroad, —

    They looked like frightened beads, I thought;

    He stirred his velvet head

    Like one in danger; cautious,

    I offered him a crumb,

    And he unrolled his feathers

    And rowed him softer home

    Than oars divide the ocean,

    Too silver for a seam,

    Or butterflies, off banks of noon,

    Leap, plashless, as they swim.


A Boat Beneath A Sunny Sky

by Lewis Carroll


A boat beneath a sunny sky,

Lingering onward dreamily

In an evening of July,

Children three that nestle near,

Eager eye and willing ear,

Pleased a simple tale to hear,

Long has paled that sunny sky:

Echoes fade and memories die:

Autumn frosts have slain July.

Still she haunts me, phantomwise,

Alice moving under skies

Never seen by waking eyes.

Children yet, the tale to hear,

Eager eye and willing ear,

Lovingly shall nestle near.

In a Wonderland they lie,

Dreaming as the days go by,

Dreaming as the summers die:

Ever drifting down the stream,

Lingering in the golden dream,

Life, what is it but a dream?