Monday, December 04, 2023

Murmurings of Murmuration

—Public Domain Photo Courtesy
of Stephen Kingsnorth
—Poetry by Stephen Kingsnorth, Nolcha Fox,
Caschwa, Sayani Mukherjee, and Joe Nolan
—Public Domain Photos Courtesy
of Stephen Kingsnorth and Joe Nolan

—Stephen Kingsnorth, Coedpoeth, Wrexham, Wales

Loud voices soothe to murmur sighs,
wool nimbus clouds spin, lined with gold,
cumulo murmurations claim
last acrobatic swirl display
against the brooding blood screen sky.

Flit flight of polkas merge in play,
fledge starlings search their lodging ledge,
oil speckled green, stab beaks lie down,
when birds dream guano, cushion nest,
and stooping threat of sparrowhawks.

As morning star hails day’s decline,
the plough dips still, plods weary home,
signs, zodiac, rotate, foretell,
as whispered conversations spell
transit, the glory of dusk space.
 —Public Domain Photo Courtesy of Stephen Kingsnorth

—Stephen Kingsnorth

What are these murmurs that I hear?
Air eddied lifts that swirl so near,
my flapping lobes as strain from ache
of catching where the flow seems bent;
no twitter feed of twilight fights,
or dusky notes of lullaby,
from ground to arching dome, traced vaults,
no evensong ’gainst birds of prey.

A gentle thudding, currents brushed,
alight, slight drum beats, inner ear,
the patter, sounds, as curve rebounds
in interwoven wing tip swings.
In wispy curls like smoke unfurled,
what’s seen provokes no crackle fire;
the murmurs sound from open mouths,
amazed at wonder in their eyes.
 —Public Domain Photo Courtesy of Joe Nolan

—Nolcha Fox, Buffalo, WY

I’m not imagining things. It’s real. It’s the hair on my chin. Not a big, brash black hair. No, it’s a color entirely invisible under light. I hear it in the dark morning hours, whispering. I hear it on windy days, rustling. I can feel its bristle when I rub my chin. Don’t tell me to pluck it or wax it. I’ve tried that. The next day, it’s back. With a suitcase of swear words and a sour expression. It threatens to bring back five of its friends the next time I try to get rid of it. I don’t want to start a new career in the circus as the Gorilla Girl. Can somebody please give this hair a home that’s better than my chin?
—Public Domain Photo Courtesy of Joe Nolan

—Caschwa, Sacramento, CA

(with apologies to "A Little
Drummer Boy")

hold your hands up high
and just let it snow
just let it go
you won’t even know

sno it a rum rum
order that drink
don’t try to think
top off with pink

raise your glass up
over your head
while lying in bed
leave nothing said

cancel your plans for
the rest of the night
better worlds in sight
drawn by the light

sno it a rum rum
order that drink
don’t try to think
clank, clunk, and clink
—Public Domain Photo Courtesy of Joe Nolan

what if one’s mother was
somewhat less than superior?
or their dad was more of a
Mr, Break It than a Mr. Fixit?

nonetheless, they can still hold
those glorious family titles

if I ever get the chance, I
would love to visit the South
and sample some of their
cooking. Heard that it is a
culinary experience that
leaves one in Heaven

well worth it to put up with
clear disregard for the rules
of grammar, spelling, and
punctuation, or the casual
dismissal of any scholarly
or academic pursuits

just sit me down at the table
and serve me a plate of extreme
sensory satisfaction; I’m in.
For a neatly trimmed lawn, order a pair of sheep.
—Public Domain Photo Courtesy of Joe Nolan

After we thought the Civil War
had ended, we really screwed
up, because there were still all
kinds of flaming embers to put
out. If only we could jump in
our time machine and have
another shot at it….

OK it’s over!! We won! Now
we have to keep those tricky
Confederates from claiming
that they were the victors, going
around .putting up hero statues,
and generally acting like they
were in charge. The answer is
to do what other winners of war
have done: sell the losers into
slavery. What an auction that
would be! White and feisty, really
nice, that’ll help to up the price.

We would have money in our
coffers to pay the war debt, and
just for a nice bonus, when
Congress can’t agree on a new
budget, we’d already have more
money on hand to keep the
government running longer.

Income tax? Thanks, no thanks,
we’ll just put that on hold until we
really need it.

If only we had that second chance… 
 —Public Domain Photo Courtesy of Joe Nolan 

—Sayani Mukherjee, Chandannagar,
W. Bengal, India

The fountain had its heights
The maverick of Springfield season
Each had its plenty
Mahogany branches
Full of spring season quilt
Moonlight by the shadows
It had its fall
Falling over bemused darkness
The noontide heaven of
Lost symphonies
Trees by the fringe side
Cover of darkness
A descriptive zeal
Heavenly shadows by the wrong fence
A dull moment of ragged feast
The fountain's courtly vehicle
I survived the two-penced crowd
Making the nightmares blue
Out of a dark sonnet
My fountain had its climax
So full of plenty
It died a blooming shore.
—Public Domain Photo Courtesy of Joe Nolan

—Sayani Mukherjee

There goes my path
Of unflinching state
Devotees of choir sang
An unsung ballad
Trees whispering a
Mountain of trees
Cobalt blue of musing
I jumped an untrodden museum
Kite runners held their guns
Glory’s unmet desires
Full of nonchalant melody
It is the season of
Unspoken understanding
Vanilla-blue topaz in my hand
My path rained a thousand
Prophet songs
Devotees of choir of
Newly built musing. 
 Who’s Counting?
—Public Domain Photo Courtesy of Joe Nolan

—Joe Nolan, Stockton, CA

Dionysus has gone blind
In pursuit of Persephone
Who never could commit
Because of a prior engagement
With Hades in the realm of the dead.

No matter the volume of wine,
Mornings would moan, “Not mine.”

No one can hold Persephone
Beyond her allotted time
On Earth,
Which makes it all the more precious,
More painful, more sublime.
—Public Domain Photo Courtesy of Joe Nolan 

—Joe Nolan
When the smell of death
Has driven out the flies,

When from under rubble,
We hear children’s cries,

When prisoners
Are slaughtered
In their cells,
By the tens of thousands,

We shall say,
“Look what they’re doing to Gaza!
Don’t sugar-coat genocide.
Just because
They’ve been victims, forever,
We shouldn’t finish them off.” 
 —Public Domain Photo Courtesy of Joe Nolan 

—Joe Nolan

Yesterday dreams
Have come and gone.
Yesterday’s toys
Are left on the lawn
For morning joggers to see.

Not stolen, fortunately.
What are cheap, plastic toys
Worth, anyway, that anyone
Would want to steal them?

So it is that play resumes,
When morning’s fog has cleared—
Time, again, to choose-up teams,
Set new boundaries,
Resume the games,
As though no night had passed
Through which
Pythons and panthers roamed
In darkness,
Across unending plains. 
 —Public Domain Photo Courtesy of Joe Nolan

—Joe Nolan

Mind watching mind
Watching mind
Watching mind,
Like a hall
Of reflective mirrors,
Until mind is full
Of mind-watching-mind—
Thus, you approach mindfulness.

What good will it do
To put one dog in charge of another
Or in charge of itself?
Can it walk itself on a leash?
If it carries its leash in its mouth, it may.

Can you put your mind on a leash
Or will it have wandered away
Down a roadway,
Before you have noticed,
Made of stones,
Constructed by Romans
So long ago,
Noticing aqueducts
That still carry water,
While all roads still lead to Rome—
Leaving your mind unleashed?


Today’s LittleNip:


I scream
you stream
we all dream
of a new theme


Today’s post begins with murmurs and sighs from Stephen Kingsnorth, in keeping with our Seed of the Week, “Murmurations”. Such a soothing word that is—but it’s also the term for a collection of swallows, a murmuration. A murmuration of swallows… Be sure to check each Tuesday for the latest Seed of the Week.

On a lighter note, about his poem, “Sno It A Rum Rum", Caschwa (Carl Schwartz) says he took the letters of this week’s SOW and put them in reverse order for the poem’s title. Actually, I like saying sno it a rum rum.

We have noted that Nolcha Fox’s mother passed away recently, and Nolcha wrote poems along the way as her mother became more and more ill. Those poems have been collected into a book, called
Cancer Isn’t Just A Constellation: Writing Through My Mother’s Diagnosis and Death, which is available on Amazon at

And a note that the December issue of Sac. Poetry Center’s December
Poet News is available at It continues to expand under the guidance of Editor Patrick Grizzell; check it out for events, submission opportunities, and all sorts of helpful po-stuff.


 —Public Domain Cartoon Courtesy of Joe Nolan

A reminder that
Sacramento Poetry Center will present
an all-open mic night tonight (plus cake!).
For info about this and other
upcoming poetry happenings in
Northern California and otherwheres,
click on
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