They strut across our lawn oblivious to our stares. The cat sits watching these large objects, birds perhaps she thinks, but nothing like those she once hunted for food when she was homeless and pregnant. She is content to sit and watch them, speaks a momentary hello, and realizing that they do not speak cat, settles down for her pre-dinner nap.
The dawn cedes slowly
to the impinging sunlight
birds greet the new day
The great egret lifts
her wings embracing the cloud
the winter sun smiles
on the barren branch
the red-shouldered hawk awaits
her mate and the sun
sandhill cranes wander
along the shore of the lake
looking for nothing
the moon is a cup
waiting for night to fill it
venus sits empty
I live in city that
isn’t a city at all,
despite what it calls
It is a suburb
of suburbs, which
in Florida can pass
for a city.
The birds ignore
the gates and walls
and come and go
We live inside
the gates and walls
and remember living
in a real city.
This morning the sky
is a painting by Magritte
as it is most days, no title
Ceci n’est pas un ciel.
The birds rise from
the wetland as Escher
would imagine them,
the small wetland
once a place that
might be painted by
Monet on a day when
he cared nothing
for water lillies, but now
a jungle of Gauguin.
We wait for the return
of the flocks as the sun
makes its retreat
and imagine again
a blazing sky over Arles.
Every morning we are able, we go out
on the lanai and have our fruit bowls
then our cappuccinos with toast
from her homemade sourdough
whole wheat bread, and watch
countless birds fly out
of the wetland that abuts our yard.
The cat is always awaiting
our arrival, usually sleeping
on one of our oak rockers.
She will look up at us, yawn
and when we nod, amble over
to her “cat condo” where she knows
her morning treats will appear.
She will announce her thanks
and slide back to the rocker
for her morning nap, knowing
she can watch the birds
arrive later when she
is far more rested for she
reminds us that cats are nocturnal.
The birds departed one morning
which we believe may be how
they express displeasure, although
the destruction of the nests
and the death of the children
by predators may have had
something to do with the departure.
We wait patiently for their return,
the wetland still dry, but we hope
with the wet season that what
is now mud will again drop slowly
beneath the surface, the new
growth will drown, and the birds
will sense a return to status quo
but that assumes that birds are
unlike humans, unbegrudging
and willing to forgive us our sins.
If you want a good conversation
birds should be your first choice,
wading birds at the top of the list,
although you still have to be quick
for if you meander they will lose interest.
Animals are to who you should turn
if you need advice on getting through
the omnipresent obstacles life raises
to impede your smooth passage through it,
but note cats tend to be pithy and easily bored.
Cows and horses in the fields
have almost infinite patience, and listen
when others would turn away, but note
that they are easily distracted so it is best
to keep a handful of hay at the ready always.
And, remember to bring your dictionaries
for birds and animals will speak to you
only in their own languages despite the fact
that they fully understand yours, but do not
deign or desire to be thought of as human.
then another, another
only this one
a world of delusion
yesterday and tomorrow
Buddha says Now!
Egrets take flight
we stare awestruck
nature pities us
Today we welcome the rain, hope
that the wheaty winter lawn will
show some other color under its care.
The birds ignore the clouds,
accept the rain, care little how
our lawn looks, their next meal
of always greater importance.
I am losing the vision in one eye,
know I may soon be king
of the country of the blind,
and sadly curse Erasmus
for his gift of proverb, one
that slipped off the tongue
when my eye could still see it.
We will welcome the sun tomorrow
or the day after, for too much
rain or sun demands change
and nothing is really ever
wholly within our control.
This morning, I am certain
the earth pulled me down more strongly,
as though gravity needed to reassert itself,
having lost someone in its grip
to the virus, a common complaint
as we stumble through still another year.
I fought it off course, the birds
in the wetland at once admiring
my effort and laughing at what they knew
would ultimately be a futile gesture.
You belong to the earth, they said,
you arose from it, are bound to it
and it is a matter of time before
it reclaims you as it does with all.
It was easier, they added, in ancient days,
when the gods truly cared, for then
you need only sufficiently irritate them
before they would sever your earthy bonds
to serve eternity in a celestial prison.