Category Archives: bird poem

Red-Tailed Hawk

Red-Tailed Hawk

Through the air high up above the graceful soarer weaves,
his shadow cast against the wall and stones and grass and leaves.
Without a modicum of sound, he drifts and circles ’round.
If those below detect him, it will not be by sound.

He seems to simply levitate, on wings lacking in motion,
betraying not one sign of his means of locomotion.
Below small dirt volcanoes betray presence of prey.
Small denizens of tunnels emerge from them each day.

Opting for the light after so many hours below,
darting back to safety when a human comes to mow,
they steal the seed corn, sheer the roots, consume the tender shoots.
As often as the mounds are  pressed flat by heavy boots,

the next day there’s another to take each burrow’s place.
Always another obstacle for opponents to face.
What act is fair for man to take in thinning nature’s riches?
What will I do to rid my lot of undersurface ditches?

The neighbors mount a protest, asking for an end
to creatures that usurp their space, and still I do not bend.
But here there is a creature who merely by its will
has the means to swiftly dip and fall upon its kill.

When the Red-Tailed Hawk dips low, watching from above,
I shudder as the claws surround the vole’s form like a glove.
Wings flapping for the lift-off, caught in sun’s early ray,
the bird with prey in claw now lifts and opts to fly away.

Their shadow soars onto my lawn over the wall between,
the prey it’s holding as it lifts too tiny to be seen.
Nature will deal with nature. It needs no intervening.
It is a way that our world has to deal with its own gleaning.

Image from Unsplash. Prompt words today are weaves, modicum, opt, blame and levitate.

Blackbirds over Lake Chapala

Blackbirds Over Lake Chapala

I no longer have to look away from the sunset
to know the birds are flying over.
I’ve come to recognize the sound,
like water rushing against the banks of a stream,
of thousands of wings pumping then gliding then pumping.
The ribbon of their combined mass
twists for miles like a giant ghost snake in the sky,
its molecules dividing, joining,
undulating from the green marsh grass
into eye blue sky.
Birds silhouette against
an edge of tangerine cloud
that is a scribble of glue in the sky.
Below them,
the smell of dirt, smoke from the burning mountain,
drum beats from the heart of the hazed city.
A canoe shaped like a Nile barge bumps against the reeds.
Sounds of a new flock flying over whip the air
above the night heron
who stands on short legs
on a post surrounded by low water.
The whole mass of birds is blown by the wind forth and back,
forth and back.
Some separate and circle back to marsh grass
where another mass lifts to fly east,
away from the setting sun.
The scene is ripped by
the rapid raucous staccato of two small boys
lofting  rocks toward the soaring banks of birds,
violence feisty in their harsh raised voices.
Again and again they throw their stones,
a futile gesture,
as above them the sun turns angry orange
over the purple mountains,
then sinks to radiate like something sacred
from behind dark clouds.
Watching two egrets open the air with pencil points, then vanish into it,
I only hear the diving pelican cut the water behind the tall reeds.
And, like a sudden wind over my head,
a new rush of blackbirds.

 

A number of people wanted to see photos of the blackbirds taking flight at Lake Chapala, so I spent a few hours going through old boxes of photos and found some which you can see HERE. The picture I used to illustrate above is one I took of starlings, I believe, and not taken at Lake Chapala, although the skies look similar!

For dVerse Poets: Flight

Bird Chorus

Bird Chorus

Birds perch on countless branches, each a separate bell
ringing out the cadence of stories they must tell.
Around them, eerie silence, for no other sounds compete.
No calls of children playing. No pattering of feet

up and down the pavement. No playing girls and boys,
for all the busy humans, infamous for their noise,
are staying in their houses and no amount of blustering
from their scattered leaders is bound to stop their clustering.

Families draw in closer as friends all fade away
into their particular intentions for the day.
Offices turn cyber. Schools are merely screens.
Mothers sit at kitchen tables, perusing magazines.

Fathers pace on carpets and worry about money.
How are they to make it now that the world’s gone funny?
Now and then, the silence split open by a bell
tolling for the human race who haven’t done too well

at going with the scheme of things. They prefer to take over,
making malls and parking lots out of fields of clover.
Trashing up the landscape. Peppering the tide
with their plastic mountains grown too big to hide.

Is it any wonder how nature responds?
We’ve held her prisoner long enough. She’s sloughing off her bonds.
She’s given us broad hints, but still we do not mind her.
So she’s erasing her mistakes and putting us behind her.

 

Prompt words today are countless branches, amount, eerie, infamous and bell.

Daily Alarm

 

Daily Alarm

The knock outside my window is loud and most insistent—
High up in the palm tree, repeated and persistent.
It’s my daily woodpecker, knocking me awake,
way up on my mountain, far above the lake.

He comes before the sunshine kisses the same tree,
trying to be helpful by stirring lazy me.
This Braille invitation, his daily expression
told with bouncing beak tapping out a impression

in the palm tree’s trunk so high above the crew
far below the palm fronds who greet the day anew
by scraping algae from the pool or making up the bed
as another down below sorts words out in her head.

 

(Enlarge photos by clicking on them.)

Prompt words today are sunshine, bounce, helpful, crew and expression.

Finches


Finches

Each year the nest more delicate, nonetheless they return,
my faithful little finches, watching it by turn
until the eggs all hatch and the nestlings start their squeal,
prompting parent after parent to fly off to find their meal.

In the rafter near the kitchen, they continue serenading,
keeping up their clatter as their folks go promenading,
in search of constant aphids and seeds that are their food,
creating angry nestlings, demanding in their mood.

Of all of nature’s visitors, these finches are the best,
although I’m glad my kitchen is not my place of rest.
Their insistent chirping  is not the stuff of dreams.
Their continual conversation begins with the first beams

of morning sun, continuing all the long day through,
like living in an aviary at my private zoo.
Nature all around us reminds us of our place.
It humbles with its beauty and slows our human pace

to take notice of her cycles and her stubborn repetitions,
planning  out each life form  in particular renditions.
I cannot be but humbled as I cook up my creations,
listening to the chorus of my avian relations.

Prompt words today are return, nest, delicate and humiliate. Also, Granny’s Bird of the Day prompt.

Pelicans, NaPoWriMo 2019, Apr 23, 2019

Pelicans

They float upon the gentle swells
with chins tucked in politely.
Of all the birds, most dignified,
their movements never sprightly.

They look like grumpy butlers
named Oliver or Jeeves
in morning coats of softest brown
with wings tucked in their sleeves.

They may be only scouting
the source of their next meal,
for now they take off to the air
with energy and zeal.

Soon they’re diving down again,
straight like an arrow shot
into the water’s surface
to see what can be caught.

Bobbing once again,
they lift their bills and then let slide
all that’s in their pouches
to another place inside.

I wonder if the fishes flop
all the long way down,
and this is why the pelicans
then fold their wings and frown?

The NaPoWriMo prompt today is to write a poem about an animal.