Climbing, climbing, climbing. One step at a time. Ever upward. The rise and fall of my steps easy over rough ground and patchy turf. Cool air moves passed my lips. I inhale the night, fill my lungs, exhale. Each breath is as smooth and rhythmic as my gait. Still, I climb. Tireless. A modern-day Sisyphus, with no stone to push, yet no end in sight.
Climbing, climbing. Step after step. Up and up. With nary an aching limb or rapid beat of heart. Grass gives way to patchy snow — a haphazard quilt of green and white. Until the snow’s mantle consumes the slope, uninterrupted. And when, at last, I reach the top, my step neither slows nor falters — not to consider the path chosen, or exult in quiet isolation at the climb accomplished; not to take in the view of the vast night sky from the peak.
I simply — easily, one foot after another — step off the edge…
…as effortlessly and as resolutely as I had climbed…
…without quickening pulse or gasp of breath…
…and tumble down…
— C.Birde, 4/17
in the woods today —
but for vermillion rush of Maples’ budding,
and wind scraping Autumn from pale Beech leaves,
and reverberating chorus of Spring Peepers’ awakening,
and whisk of garter snake slipping past pond’s lips,
and chipmunk calling the season to order,
and rain of woodpecker’s laughter.
in the woods today —
but for my intruding step,
“Tourne Pond” — C.Birde, 3/16
Hawk and Sparrow —
along the fallow edge they flew,
with wings and talons slicing
that perimeter unseen.
A dance of opposition —
capture and escape;
Unison of hearts intent
Flash of yellow,
thrust of taloned legs —
Sparrow cries alarm.
beating earth and air.
Confusion of color —
ivory, woodland rusts and browns.
But Hawk cannot extract his prize,
cannot pull it under, out, and up
and lift away in flight.
Release is unexpected —
talons unclutch and liberate;
Sparrow streaks to ruffled safety
within the bristle of nearby hedge.
Beyond separating glass —
among fenced and netted stones
of slumbering, tongueless garden —
Nature’s urgent tug and pull
and I am Witness.
“Hawk’s Calling Card” — C.Birde, 1/16
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.
“Apple Abe” — C.Birde, 12/15
“Young Beech” — C.Birde, 12/15
A young beech gathers sunlight in its parchment leaves and whispers of an Autumn reluctant to depart.
The air is sweet with toasted leaves
and glass-cool breeze against
While time unspools in eddying pools
and restless heaps about
I walk through snapshots,
of pasts and presents, overlaid —
lone, caged bears,
peaked and slender monuments;
Raking seas of leaves
in mountainous heaps,
Hikes through mazes,
tall and golden;
Small hands growing,
A hundred knocks and more
upon our door
in a single night —
My aging, ageless self sees
each image simultaneous;
Concurrent moments captured
amid the blaze of Autumn-colored
“Autumn Leaves” — C.Birde, 11/1/15
“Autumn Reservoir” — C.Birde, 10/16/15
Slowly, the Reservoir refills,
its shoreline diminishing,
as a narrow ribbon of water twists
and dashes around worn-smooth stones