Gray Planes — A Dream

Black and white gray scale scene of the sea and sky and beach, a solitary figure silhouetted on the left.
“Gray Planes” — C.Birde, 11/20

All is gray…

Above, beneath, beyond…

Three horizontal planes

of neutral gray overlaid

one against another…

Land and sky and sea…

Blurred seams erased.

Stand here with me…

The shale, a coarse voice

beneath our feet…

The air a sigh…

Nearing our step,

the lapping edge of foam-

laced, shapeshifting sea.

(Pay that element’s

inconstant promise

little heed.)

Look instead beyond…

Into the distance…

There

Gesture strokes the air…

A scratch of darkness

within that vast expanse…

No other form to speak

of its relative dimensions…

Undeterred,

it comes,

it grows.

A bird?

Eagle, Albatross, or Tern…

Can you discern its form?

Tell me what you see…

Patience,

patience

Its shape defines slowly…

Slope of yellow beak…

Compact body,

smooth and white

Languid wings –

gray-stroked, stretched wide –

gently stir the space it occupies.

A gull —

Free , unfettered…

Clear-eyed perspective…

Visitant of the in-betweens.

Above the shore it hovers…

Wings beating noiselessly…

Now, its form in white neon light

outlined…

A stroke of gleaming bright,

it dives and thrusts —

into susurrating shale —

its beak,

plucks out some secret

nestled there…

Departs.

Returns

to those very planes of gray

from which

it came.

— C.Birde, 11/20

Threnody — A Poem

“Mourning Dove” — painting by Marie Nonnast Bohlen

My grief

is a mourning dove,

all hollow bones &

feathers.

Winged.

Near-weightless.

Poor tender, disconsolate

creature.

She curls talons against

her perch –

my heart –

pierces that soft muscled

chamber &

coos a mournful

song.

— C.Birde, 8/20

Remorse & Redress — A Poem

“Blue Jay” — C.Birde, 7/20

Campanula blue

inverted bloom of

wings and feathers,

earthward pointing,

fluttering

drooping

Each hollow bone

transformed

to ballast,

recast as gravity’s

servant

Trapped,

held fast by stem

of foot,

scarlet beaded,

bleeding

Unintended consequence

Peace, dear fellow creature,

peace

Cease your valiant struggles

and suffer me

(rueful instrument of

your snaring)

to set you

free.

— C.Birde, 7/20

Cipher — A Poem

Cipher.png

“Cipher” — C.Birde, 2/20

 

We rode the air

on dark wings

glittering —

a hundred pair

(Once, we numbered

thousands)

tried,

with each beating

stroke

and the rust

of our throats

(“O, hear us,

O, listen…”)

We skirled

and soughed through

the bone-bare trees

and cried in a voice of

calamity:

“Beware!

Our cipher,

our patterns, heed.

Beware!”

Your heads

never

lifted.

 

— C.Birde, 2/20

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“One” — C.Birde, 2/20

 

 

Nomads — A Poem

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“Nomads” — C.Birde, 11/19

 

 

We write

our message

in undulating script,

in swoops & swirls,

in disappearing

ink.

Look up.

Lookfeelhear.

Decipher our plumed

& urgent patterns.

Lookfeelhear

our passage.

Mark our departure

& our absence.

Our pennate cycles

intersect & weave

as

o n e.

 

— C.Birde, 11/19

 

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“Nomads (detail)” — C.Birde, 11/19

 

 

Changing Idioms — A Poem

Black-Capped Chickadee -- L.Gloshinski, 11:19.png

“Black-Capped Chickadee” — L.Gloshinski, 11/19

 

How

to clasp joy

in this world

of aching

loss?

Of bees and birds

of breath

of birds and bees

of life

Exchange

your salt shaker for

wildflower seeds

Cast aside

your blind and grudging

stones

Create

a sacred space

for the fierce impossibility of

feather

flesh and

bone

Feed two birds

with clear eyes and

hopeful heart,

with one open,

widespread

palm.

 

— C.Birde, 11/19

 

Auctioneer — A Poem

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“Home” — C.Birde, 5/19

 

Each year,

in out-sized voice,

he makes his

declaration;

small, bold auctioneer

rapidly proclaiming

his fine qualities

and wares –

twig-and-stick

nest sites

of considerable

envy.

Yet,

when the song

has threaded through

privet and azalea,

when negotiations

are exchanged,

decisions made

and settled —

despite my hopes,

my efforts to

accommodate —

another site is —

doubtlessly,

regrettably —

selected.

 

— C.Birde, 5/19

 

 

At Last — A Poem

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“Catbird Seat” — C.Birde, 5/19

 

Returned

– at last –

that sweet-voiced

family.

Descendants.,

all.

Clad in morning

coats and caps,

feathered gray.

Now,

I will put away

– at last –

winter’s bleak

attire,

remove my heart

from safeguarded

place,

return it

– at last –

to its nestspace

betwixt my ribs.

At last.

 

— C.Birde, 5/19

 

 

Messenger — A Dream

Crow.png

“Crow” — C.Birde, 5/19

 

Open the door.

Step outside.

Underfoot,

limestone and

concrete,

cool, gritty.

Look left,

past the railing;

a crow sails –

wings fanned –

from the great

Norway spruce.

Down

down

down.

Black feathers

finger,

catch,

disperse,

and

scatter light.

Wings serve

as rudder and

brakes;

he curls through

the air and

lands

on the bottom-

most step.

Arrived, he waits –

wings folded,

body

contracted,

compacted,

prepared

to

launch

for safety.

Dark eyes aglitter

beneath corvid

brow;

wedge

of soot-black bill

lifts.

Crow – guide;

harbinger;

messenger;

 omens

safely tucked

underwing.

Where have you

been?

For years,

you called me

to this very

door;

I fed you;

watched you

strut

about the green-

grass yard,

unafraid.

Five years

absent;

the duration

of his

passing.

I hear your

call.

Deliver

your message –

I am

ready.

 

— C.Birde, 5/19

 

Crows — A Poem

Patience.jpg

“Norway Spruce” — C.Birde, 1/19

 

Remember

when we stood beneath

the great spruce,

faces tilted upward,

hands lifted to catch

their rough laughter

as it fell –

heavy as pinecones,

bright as crescents of

moonlight –

from those vast,

outstretched limbs?

Six years gone,

the tree cradles silence;

the absence echoes

forward.

We wait below;

patient;

hands

empty.

 

— C.Birde, 1/19