Bird Watching

Upon a light barked limb of birch
a sparrow and a robin perch.
The robin shifts, the sparrow cries,
tilts his head, takes stock, then flies.

From an oak not far away
comes a bluebird and a jay.
The bluebird there to poach a nest,
the jay, simply to taunt and test.

The robin ready to give song,
protests briefly, moves along.
While hidden in the leaves above,
caws a raven, coos a dove.

Toward the North

This is a season unspent:
there will be snow yet and storms.
Today’s cold recalled
a mere discomfort
and the bite of this wind, but a kiss.

If I prophesy spring
will you pretend to believe me?
We can blanket each other
in warmth for a time.

With the moment eclipsed
by the cold truths of winter,
will you smile me strong
as I frown toward the north?

Kenning at the Feet of a God

Before us stand the mockings of a god:
Sound shapes and divine invocations,
the sun itself a yellow yawn,
the chaff of a hidden harvest,
a field of golden connotation
denoting bread for the soul.
And grounded pigeons,
too fat to flee or fly
peck sweet sustenance
from saturated air,
wise enough to wonder.
Fools of fate,
fortunate friends of a god.


She asked me what I meant and I fell silent,
and falling dumb, I fell upon my knees.
To mean is to maintain in spite of violence,
a steady and illusionary peace.

I battered her with doubt, I begged for something,
anything by which to be defined.
I am, it is, they are – Dear God, have mercy:
A stranger in a world to which I’m blind.

“Love”, she said, distressed, as if an answer.
I lost myself a moment in her eyes.
I rose both to her need and to embrace her
and spoke a gift of comfort and of lies.

Indigo Bunting

I’m dumb to leaves and prairie grass;
a million colors can’t be named.
Wind conspires with shifting light
to humble language, exult sight.

I watched a bunting taking flight
from black to blue turn as I looked.
A list of shades between the hues
would burst the bindings of a book.

A spectrum spanned, a moment took,
a world encompassed in a blink
and all I ever hoped to know
vanished when I stopped to think.