just after night’s blue rain.
Winds of no color
break through the night,
sending the dark green trees
and leaves into a flurry.
small chirping sounds
of softest yellow
burst here and there.
A squirrel scampers
along a frail board fence
outside the listening window.
I hear all this through
a slow, reluctant waking,
of dream-fragments tearing away.
the soft gray blue
of morning : 6:00 a.m.
Just like the clock dial said.
One audacious crow stands in the middle of the
street—his back to me—head turned to one side,
and glistens in the day’s cold light, and listens
while I talk to him: Hello, Crow, softly, while I
walk my slow walk out to the mailbox at the curb.
I get half-a-street near him and he does not fly—
just listens there—while I keep talking to him:
Hello, Big-Bird, Big-Bird. Hello, and edge my
way back to the house while he stands there, close-
up large, his feathers sharply shining in the
December sunlight. Does he know I am the one
who threw out the stale bread this morning? The
other crows mark their nervous places with short
bursts of movement—from ground—to fence-post—
to tree—to ground again. But this one crow just
stands in the middle of the street and I do not
swoop my arms, or shout my ownership of anything,
but rather like the way he has no fear of me when I
get so close to him.
(after “Mockingbirds” by Mary Oliver)
The brilliant way they claim the air
with the complexity of their sing-
ing—sudden and wonderful—
almost as rare as joy in its sad
purity—whatever I am doing,
I can arrest, and listen, and feel
the burst of song in my abstract be-
ing—myself an echo of them.
POEM FOR LAURA, DISAPPROVED OF
BY HER FATHER
It will be all right;
I have had this premonition
in a burst of bird song
on a bright day
which had been overcast
a moment before
and no bird had been visible
or heard all season.
You may approach your father
as your self;
he will approve now;
he will be changed,
and you can love him again.
He will say,
“Bless you, bless you.”
It will be okay.
(after Back Cover Art: "Ascension" by Monty Wanamaker
in Spoon River Poetry Review, Summer 2003)
Gray body, caught in gray swirl of dark light
flaming outwards from evolving center,
how lyrical you become : a gracefulness of lines
flowing in the same directional source—
the rim at the edge holding its form, as if
to control what you are to yourself : a burst
of energy—duplicating—until you are entire :
a fusion of life-force, death-force, mind-force.
this bright ! this dark !
this cool circle of moonlight
you standing there,
singing your love song,
i standing at the rim
composing my applause
i admire you, shining, singing,
aware of my admiration,
unaware of me.
i would burst my hands
making stars of applause
for you to see.
how dare I
call such envy love . .
(first pub. in Albany Review)
DEAR LITTLE SONGBIRD,
this morning you
gave me one small note
to capture my attention
and the day stopped
and I listened—
holding time like that
in a tiny burst of singing