Undreamed — A Poem

“Undreamed” — C.Birde, 6/20

O, wanderer. Lost in honeysuckled dream vined sweetly ‘round wrists, half truths hard thumbed against eyelids, shadows lodged in thy white throat, & tongue embittered. Complicity of sleep & dreaming. Abrupt awakening to a world never gentler than it is or was or will be. Wings plucked & fallen. Heart bruised. Soul starved. Arrive at last, in full embrace.

Cracked open.

— C.Birde, 6/20

Schism — A Poem

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“Little Hawk” — C.Birde, 9/18

 

Two weeks ago, three weeks early, he said goodbye.

A day after the incident –

Pale streak of feathers with talons, outstretched and efficient

Tangle of cries and silence caught within deer netting and ripening tomatoes

The scene unfolding beyond the bay windows, as, unwilling, I observed and thought (disjointedly) of Casablanca, the words re-working in my head

“Of all the birds, in all the yards, in all the world – the hawk has taken mine”

As I thought (unkindly), while running from the house in futile effort, of the multitude of House Sparrows whose numbers could bear thinning, my cries of negation to stop, avert, reverse the course of events and pluck those yellow claws from that small gray breast and separate the two – Little hawk (Sharp Shinned? Coopers? he will not tell me) from Gray Catbird – to unwind time and heal the wound…

Above me, despite me, beyond my reach and will and pleas, Little hawk wheeled away with his prize – young parent to this year’s only fledgling.

 

The burning bush, previously a-shiver with activity, is still.

The pergola, with its unrestrained clematis vines, remains empty.

The container of raisins sits on the counter, untouched, unshared.

Two weeks ago, three weeks early, he said goodbye —

my small avian friend of untold years —

A day after the incident.

Next year, next spring — so far off —

will reveal if he’ll return

again.

 

— C.Birde, 9/18

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“Catbird” — C.Birde, 9/18

 

Residue — A Poem

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“Residue” — C.Birde, 12/17

 

I gave my cares

to the earth,

to the tumbled soil;

my fears

to the wind’s knife edge;

and my tears

to the rivers and

spreading sea.

A thudding grief

expelled

in howl and echo.

I came undone.

Nothing remained

but time and space,

and the residue

of flint-hard hope

to begin

again.

 

— C.Birde, 12/17

 

Thoughts & Wild Rabbits — A Poem

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“Caught” — C.Birde, 11/17

 

 

The warmth and safety

of this moment,

this place,

are no defense,

nor the play of light splashed

against closed eyelids.

The unwelcome thoughts

leap —

small, wild rabbits

through the wire fence

of consciousness.

They should not fit,

become lodged half-way,

caught between life

and non-life.

Cut them free.

Gently,

gently

lift and release each one.

Swaddle it,

heart-to-heart.

Match that rapid pulse

and stroke

the dampened fur to warmth.

Speak tenderly into the

long, listening ears

of love and

love and

love.

 

— C.Birde, 11/17

 

 

 

Elegy — A Poem

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“Elegy” — C.Birde, 10/17

 

Fallen,

folded.

Blue puddle of wings

and tail —

black-barred, white-tipped —

splashed on

the woodland floor.

Beak tucked

to feathered breast.

Perfection,

furled.

Earthbound.

Bear that elegy –

out,

away,

through green and yellow

leaf-filtered light.

Once-full-throated song —

a flutter,

a wound wedged

under wish-

bone.

 

— C.Birde, 10/17

 

Schrodinger’s Cat-erpillar

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“Eastern Tiger Swallowtail” — C.Birde, 9/17

 

Mystery,

wrought of

hardened protein

and spun silk,

it exists

in two states,

twice –

alive and dead;

caterpillar and

butterfly.

Each

a truth entire.

Until

the chrysalis splits

and butterfly

emerges.

Or does not.

Spun silk heart,

not yet hardened,

snug between ribs,

beating in

two states –

Hope and

Dismay.

 

— C.Birde, 9/17

Chrysanthemum Sea — A Dream

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“Chrysanthemum Sea” — C.Birde, 9/17

 

In the distance you see her – skirts clutched, she stumbles toward you, through the vast cavern. Far above, the ceiling collects and spreads darkness. But a vague luminosity of indefinite source slides over her form as she runs. This pale glow gathers in the folds of her dress, defines the wayward strands of her hair. Observe — the knot of hair at the base of her neck works loose.

Catch her, as she collides into you. Feel her shoulders convulse as she weeps into her hands. Sense her exhaustion, her heartbreak. Hear the tumble of words pour from her lips.

Listen — to her sad story. Of drama, deception, heartbreak. Of the man she had loved, had devoted herself to. See, as she speaks of him, his image grow in your mind – a tall man, regal in bearing, a cascade of bright black hair. Dressed in antique style, in blue surcoat and white lace cravat. Wonder how she could not have seen the arrogance, the cruel calculation in his eyes, how she could never have suspected. Oh, but she knew now. When their son reached 15 years of age. Then, she learned. The ugly truth. That she would be drained entirely of blood to sustain the boy, that her whole purpose had never been otherwise.

So she had run. Escaped. And now, feared endless pursuit.

Accept her head within the curve of your neck and shoulder. Accept her sobs. Embrace her. Hold her tight, steady her as her body wracks with spasms. Take her narrow hands in your own, and lead her from the road, away, to the field of chrysanthemums. The flowers bloom in a grid of formal lines and rows. Bright clusters of yellow, earthen amber, pale lilac, crimson, pearl-washed moonlight. Draw her down beneath the petalled rays, beneath the leathery green leaves. Kiss her once – lightly, gently. Swim with her, along the tilled earth. Through miles of sheltering blooms and leaves, as your skin collects the flowers’ perfumed breath.

Swim with her, safe from harm, free of discovery, beneath the flowers, in the subterranean, chrysanthemum sea.

 

— C.Birde, 9/17