Category Archives: Birds

Cruel Tranquility



Cruel Tranquility

Welp, I would not have chosen this ending to the story.
It is a sad conclusion—distressing, sad and gory.
The hummingbird, suspended in its helicopter flight,
was brought down from the air with one swift lethal bite.
It was my adorable kitten who stopped its blur of wings.
Tired of scratching posts and batting balls and chasing strings,
she chose a task more difficult—a target ever-moving,
an irresistible challenge but one hardly behooving
a tiny kitten noted for its playfulness and cuteness.
I fear I underestimated her extreme astuteness.
Now she rests in sunlight. Her quarry, limp and torn,
here upon my doormat, I survey, forlorn
over loss of this small creature—its sheer poetry of motion—
as well as this reminder that in garden, air or ocean,
one thing feeds upon another in a constant mortal chain
incredible in beauty, indivisible from pain,
even in a garden where I sought for peace to reign.


Prompt words for the day are flight, forlorn, adorable and welp.

Safe Perch


I tried to capture this fellow in this pose several times but he’d flown away by the time I got my camera out.  This morning he granted me the favor of a last visit and stood still long enough for me to capture this shot and a number of others—first a few of his mate, whom he replaced when she flew away—and then of him. I’m finally home.  There is no place like it!!!

The Wings of Hummingbirds



The Wings of Hummingbirds

They break my heart,
these delicate wings of hummingbird
strewn on my porch
with a tiny head displaying one beak,
one eye.

Stripped of adornment,

one slight hummingbird
would hardly make a meal for a cat—
especially one recently fed at my kitchen door. 

Where was I when this travesty

was committed,
carried out by  a cat
true to its nature
and therefore bearing no sin?

I was out back,
 filling the hummingbird feeder left by guests,
though I prefer the natural sight
of hummingbirds feeding at the aloe blossoms
or thunbergia or frangipani.
 In the fenced backyard,
the dogs create a territory safe from cats,
but what am I to do about the obelisco plant I love so much in front—
 the one spied every day with a new bloom
as I walk past it to my car? 
What’s to be done for the royal poinciana,
seventeen years old,
spreading its shelter over street and wall and front garden alike?
A dangerous draw in a yard frequented by cats.
What’s to be done?
Defrock the area they roam in to make it hummingbird-free?

That double-pronged nature of cats—
their beauty and their savagery––
displayed so vividly in man himself of late––
 can it be anything but plan?
And to what purpose?
We love the ways of nature but turn our back on half of them,
hoping they will not be demonstrated in our lives.
Until that one last fatal claw of fate descends upon us
and we fall into that scheme, resisting,
but our efforts futile.

Why are endings necessary?
Why must our hearts be broken
 time and again
before they themselves are the breaking thing
and we pass into nature,
undivided, part of a whole both savage and tragic in its beauty. 
Here is the hummingbird whole.
 The cat whole.
Here are we, whole, observing them.
That has to be enough. 
The now. This look.
This touch. This satiation for the moment.
The hummingbird before the slaughter,
the bone before the break.

Birds Of A Feather: Cee’s Black and White Challenge

Please click on first photo to enlarge all. Better when viewed full size.


For Cee’s Black and White Challenge: Birds

Egrets in Benito Juarez Park


Click on any photo to enlarge all.

Egrets in Benito Juarez Park

By threes and fours, they soar in and alight
on sparse branches of the bent, high-spreading trees.
Below them the steady beat of dribbling basket balls
whose rhythms they punctuate with high-pitched squawks.

A hundred or more now bark like gulls,
protesting each new arrival perched too near
and settle invisible against a sky that’s glazed so pale
by torn white clouds,
that it’s barely a different color
From clouds and egrets.

A feather floats down, soars sideways
to rest under the green bench.
and I retrieve it, like a message from a saint.

More birds soar in,
their legs like two black straws held parallel and horizontal.
On limb after limb, they stand exposed, flapping wings,
with neck first fragile,
then settled into a dowager’s hump.
Once motionless, they, too, become
invisible above the shouts of children,
rebound of a ball against a backboard,
hum of generator, blast of horn, peal of church bell.

Thirty more birds attempt the impossible—
to fill gaps in a tree where no gaps exist—
like a Christmas tree with not one single limb left to ornament.
Birds lift, sift to a different tree.
Now that the stronger limbs are taken,
they perch on swinging branches,
then move to safer perches,
displacing other birds
that drift in turn until more trees fill.
Wave after wave,
on tree after tallest tree,
they settle again to silence.

This happened before we came,
will continue after I leave.
These trees alive with birds that were,
scant hours ago,
solitary waders.

Returning to the posada where I last stayed with you,
I climb staircase after staircase
past the stone room that was ours.
This is the trip I dreaded–
thought I’d never make.
I remember everything:
all the places where we’d been—
the park, the hotel and the plaza,
each favorite cafe made holy from past associations.

Yet I hold only
one feather from the egret,
see only
crenellations of the room across the courtyard where we stayed.
Hear only
the saxophonist, improved since I was here with you,
filling in the intervals between
one dog barking from a rooftop down below
and far off dogs, his accompaniment.

The saxophone spins out lines
through darkness,
the staffs of music a communication
between then and now and what remains
after the birds have flown,
after the saxophone is laid to rest
mute in its coffin, wooden tongue dried stiff.

What remains after the barking dog,
after the stairway crumbles, and the stars have cycled into another sky.
What remains as my life soars away from you,
your stillness framing my flight,
as you stretch invisible,
yet as solid around me
as clouds.


San Miguel de Allende, 2001. Click on any photo to enlarge all.

To see a companion poem and photos, go HERE.

Hibiscus with Hummer: Flower of the Day, June 10, 2018



For Cee’s Flower of the Day prompt.