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.
Perhaps it is waiting for the moon to draw our attention, but the moon is periodically irascible, as tonight, and has chosen to abandon Mars to the stellar firmament.
Mars has risen in the western sky.
I wander into the dark in search of the peace that only night affords, but the horizon is war and disquiet and I stumble and repeatedly fall, and the ground holds me denying me the sky.
Mars has risen in the western sky.
The plants that have reached for the sun, and borne fruit for months now shrink and wither under his unrepentant eye, and I know a cold foreboding wind will still blow and I will mourn the passing of summer, the season on peace.
Mars has risen in the western sky and Jupiter watches jealously.
First Published in Cerasus Magazine (UK), Issue 3, 2021
We imagine that they are disappearing into the clouds only to reemerge in a different place.
Nothing could be further from the truth for they, these raptors flying on monstroius wings, are shredding the clouds ripping free their fruit, eating of the sweetest parts, letting the rest fall down on us as we scurry away afraid of being soaked in their remnants.
The first time I heard Mozart, I swore I was in a biblical garden and I was content to sit and listen for eternity. The serpent came along, as they do in such gardens, as I recall, with the face of Beethoven, though now I am convinced it was just Mahler trying to pass. I still stop and eat from the fruit of Mozart on occasion, but once the food was there for the taking, but now it has to be purchased, and even here you pay and never know until you bite into it just how fresh and juicy it might be. And lately, so much has been overpowering that I cannot digest it, and my growing deafness makes each purchase agonizing, even though I know if I went without, I wouldn’t starve, save for my soul.
Only the fool will wander from teacher to teacher seeking answers. They will offer only questions.
The wise one returns to the question again and again for she may find many answers within, just as the apple tree bears many ripe fruit if carefully tended, each with the seeds of a new tree. Pick carefully.
I am a Yao gem inferior to jade but awaiting the sorceress. Will she wear me in her ear, or prefer the pendant? I am a branch broken from the tree to dry on the ground my fruit shriveled into stones. Carry me in your dance inhale the fragrance and raise me from the ashes to come down to the foothills and dip my feet in the slowly flowing waters.
He comes to me in the dead hour of night the old shriveled man poling his poor ferry across the river of my dreams. He comes when the moon has fled and the stars fall mute and he beckons me holding out the copper coins stating his fare.
He comes to me, beckoning, and for his fare I show him the butterfly perched on the window box his wings folded darkly iridescent a tissue paper opal awaiting the first sun.
He comes to me, beckoning and for his fare I hold the rose beneath his nose letting the carmine velvet petals caress his nostrils as he smells the luscious aroma that bathes his face.
He comes to me, beckoning, and for his fare I pass to him the crystal goblet of the sauterne and he sips as it washes over his tongue, tasting of honey and fruit.
He comes to me, beckoning, and for his fare I give him the voice of Wolfgang’s strings of Johann’s harp of Ludwig’s piano of Callas, Pavarotti, the symphony of the rain forest the sonata of the surf.
He comes to me, beckoning, and for his fare I give him a picture of the young child tugging my hand, as he pulls me to see something marvelous he has just discovered, his laughter deafening.
He comes to me in the dead hour of night the old shriveled man poling his poor ferry across the river of my dreams. Each time he retreats, the fragile boat empty his fare uncollected.
Leaving the fields of the countryside for the city, it is the birds that tell you when the invisible boundary has been crossed. There are usually signs along the roads bolted to steel poles but the birds know better. In the country, birds sing long arias to the day, to cornstalks making the slow green to gold transition, of a cat chasing a field mouse among the fruit burdened trees of the late-summer orchard. Crossing to the urban world their songs grow shorter a kirtan with a squirrel cut off by a car horn, the briefest prayer to the morning sun a tentative greeting to a dog or cat sleeping on a sidewalk. We would do well to listen to birds.