Bloom in Winter — A Poem

Amnesiac Winter

paid a brief visit,

confused,

complaining of jet-stream detours,

converging pressures,

ingratitude;

of invitations received late

and mislaid.

Unsettled,

he wandered,

muttering a fog,

flinging fistfuls of hail

over greening lawns and

bruising the blooms

of pink-fringed trees

that had the nerve to flower

in his absence.

— C.Birde

 

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“Early Bloom” — C.Birde, 12/15

 

Mischa — A Dream

At some point in its past, this old, fieldstone structure may have been a fortress. But now, it is the site of a haunting, and we three have been called to investigate. We approach carefully, picking our way through night-drawn shadows over the grass-edged dirt road. The building’s open arch gapes just ahead. Wide, flagged slates sweep steadily down into the fortress, which is filled with dark, stagnant water. Just within the entry, a stone ledge dodges off to the left — water laps and splashes against it, but the ledge itself remains dry. One of our party follows this narrow path; I and our third member proceed down the slope of slates toward the murky interior.

The drip of water pierces muted dark; peculiar lights and reflections add a random pulse. Suddenly, a fist-sized bright light pops into existence and zips toward our solo party member, where it pauses, hovering before his face. Then, it zips over to hover similarly before my own — its light is so bright, I must squint against it, drawing my arm up to shield myself from its intensity. Finally, upon visiting the last of our party, it soars away, deep into the castle, down a watery corridor.

For a moment, all is dripping, lapping silence as we stand breathless, waiting for our vision to readjust. Another noise emerges now, off to the right. I see, beyond the window-pierced stone wall, a figure passing by outside, its movements furtive, suspicious. Dashing back up the sloped flags, I move to intercept. An arch-topped garden gate is affixed to the fortress’ side here, and I wait beside it, patiently. The click of the gate latch, the sawing hiss of wooden boards against untrimmed grass as the gate opens…

To my astonishment, a tiny man steps through. He’s no more than three feet tall and about sixty years old, with a wispy fringe of white hair. Though he is unusually small, he is perfectly proportioned, a perfect miniature; he carries in his arms a similarly scaled violin and bow. Upon seeing me, he starts in surprise, equal to my own. But I realize…I know this man! It is Mischa Elman, the violinist famous for his passionate style and tone and musicality! All thoughts of ghost hunting vanish in my excitement to meet this man. Graciously, he shakes my hand, pulls from the vest pocket of his dark suit an old creased and faded blue program. It lists all the songs her performed live in concert in 1957.

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“Fortress” — C.Birde, 12/15

 

 


Note: Mischa Elman truly was a gifted violinist. Born in the Ukraine in 1891, his family moved to New York and he became a U.S. citizen in 1923. He died in his home in Manhattan in 1967 and is buried in the Westchester Hills Cemetery, NY. So much was his playing admired, he sometimes performed as many as 107 concerts in a 29-week season. He was not peculiarly small.

 

 

Breaking Chocolate — A Dream

I dreamed I stood with my back to Autumn on the eve of Winter, and though I called out, I could not be certain my voice would carry over the noise and clamor of shortening days and encroaching dark.

Despite the graying cold, we threw open the doors, and the house filled with warmth. Cheer and laughter and conversation wove a skein, each thread a shining filament kindled in our hearts that lightly bound us all. We broke chocolate together, and ate sweet-tart kumquats, and swallowed crimson pomegranate seeds. We sipped effervescence and lit the evening with a pale, warm glow that warded darkness.

Scattered about, I found unexpected tokens — owls of wisdom; a likeness in powdery charcoals; tiny cakes; words and raven linked by slim chain; a soft beam of sunlight; edible spells bound in paper; and a tiny, shining, golden dragon.

We parted with smiles and embraces; but the warmth — now fed and strengthened — remained. A dream come true.

 

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“Pomegranates” — C.Birde, 12/15

 

Sprite — An Image

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“Sprite” — C.Birde, 12/15

I am fortunate this creature found me intriguing enough to make her presence known, and elated she allowed me to photograph her. We sat together a moment, amongst the leaf-fall and gilt trees, sipping cold, sweet dew from acorn caps while admiring the advancing morning’s play of light and color. Then, without a word, she vanished. Sprites are mercurial that way.

Autumn’s Nest — A Poem

The day —

unseasonably warm.

The sun —

a smudged, pale disk

winking

through atmospheric haze.

How did he see it?

Suspended

within erect vertical grays

of leafless limbs?

A fibrous tea-cup

extended

in the slim tree’s

thumb and forefinger.

In offering,

in invitation

to sip

the echo of Spring.

–C.Birde

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“Autumn’s Nest” — C.Birde, 12/15

 

Apple of Change — A Dream

I’ve lost the apple, can’t find it any where. I describe it to them — such a remarkable apple! How could I have lost it?  So unusual. Perfect in its imperfection. Though its one side was misshapen, the other held the profile of a man, of Abraham Lincoln.

“Is this it?”

He hands an apple to me. Can it be? the one I dropped and lost mere moments ago? Yes! The weight of it fills my palm. I hold the curve of crisp fruit in my left hand between thumb and forefinger, and turn it back and forth to behold again its remarkable shape.

But…it’s changing…losing its blush of red and green hues; softening beneath my fingers’ grip. Slowly, it reshapes itself into something fleshy, pallid, disturbing. No longer an apple, I now hold what looks like a shrunken, knobby  head. A mashed face that sprouts mismatched ears. The narrow spaces behind those ears are filthy with crud. Beneath my fingers, the head moves and shifts and wriggles. Features still uncertain, it stares back at me with dark, bead-bright eyes. No longer a thing of wonder, it is now utterly repulsive.

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“Apple Abe” — C.Birde, 12/15

Sunset — A Poem

The night sky bloomed

with color —

unexpected as song,

welcome as benediction.

Rapturous,

the descending hues

of indigo and blue,

rose madder and scarlet

kissed the fringe

of treetops gold.

“Hurry,” he urged,

so I ran —

down the walk

through the frost-edged eve

into rapidly falling dark

to stand alone

as the paean subsided

amidst soaring

cathedral

trees.

— C.Birde

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“December Sunset” — C.Birde, 12/15