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Posts Tagged ‘bird’

At the Houston Zoo



Not the chuckwalla
nor the cheetah nor the capybara,
it was the pigeon
I couldn’t stop watching
as it sat on its nest
in the tall sturdy grass
beside the glassed-in walls
of the chimpanzees
with its fluffy grey chicks
tucked against its grey breast.
She looked as if she belonged
exactly where she was—oh
how I cherish that feeling.

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Certainty is a frigatebird,
able to soar on the wind for weeks,
its nest a distant thing.
Is it wrong to say I admire it,
sleek and raven feathered,
how it dives from the sky
with exquisite precision,
how it steals what it wants
with no regard for what’s fair.
I have wanted to be that certain,
wanted to take, wanted to believe
my hunger is all that matters.
Is it wrong to notice these thoughts,
to give voice to their midnight wings?
I say I trust what I don’t know.
Meanwhile, I flirt with certainty.
It whispers to me,
I’m the other truest thing.

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on the way to the graveyard
taking a few detours through spring—
trill of red wing blackbirds

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On a Full Moon Night




The three-note song of the owl
opens the night
with a single repeated note.
Hoo hoo hoo.

Listening for the song again,
I find myself opening to silence.
Then there it is:
Hoo hoo hoo.

Scientists say
the owl is sending a message:
This is mine,
my territory, my space.
But instead of being repelled,
I’m pulled in.

I sing back to the owl
three resonant notes.
Hoo hoo hoo.
Not to stake my territory.
More out of admiration
for the power of a simple song.

It teaches me to trust
what is artless,
how sometimes simplicity
is what allows others, like me,
to sing along.

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Sometimes I want to be anywhere but here,
but today, I let myself feel it all.

I go to the river covered in ice,
and move along the bank until

I find the open places where the dark-feathered ouzel
chooses to submerge in the cold, cold water—

It doesn’t hesitate to plunge into frigid depths.
It knows it was made for this.

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No French hens, but
the Stellar’s jays arrived
at the feeder as always
in a squawk of bright blue,
inquisitive, cocking
their crested heads
and letting their dark eyes
take in everything.
Everything, no matter
how dingy, how small, is worthy
of their attention,
even the black seed, even
the wind, even the bark,
even this woman standing
in the snow, listening.
 

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Think less: Trust your inner animal.
            —Holiday Mathis, Horoscopes by Holiday, December 19, 2020


It’s the chickadee
that saves me today.
Though the world
gets cold, the chickadee
stays. Despite snow.
Despite frost. Despite
lack of sun,
it doesn’t leave
the winter land.
Oh tough little bird
who sticks around,
who thrives
in any weather—
who’s cheerful tune
spirals like hope
through the frigid
folds of December
as if to say let it come.
I can sing through
anything.
Let it come.

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Getting Ready

What might you need to let go of or “clean out” in order to make room for wonder or joy?

—Kayleen Asbo, Advent and the Arts: The Week of Hope

Just today I walked

in the shadows

and noticed how

they scrubbed me

the way silence sometimes

scrubs a room.

Wonder rushed in.

It wasn’t that I was trying

to keep wonder out,

it’s just that with my schedule

and rigor, I hadn’t left it

space to enter.

If only with mop

and broom I could sweep

out anything

that would keep me

from wonder, from joy.

Instead, the world offers

shadow, stillness,

quietude, loss,

and a red-tailed hawk

in the heart,

circling, circling,

wondering what

it might subtract next.

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IMG_6144

 

 

Today I take the courage I don’t feel

and the resilience I doubt and

all my unspent longing to serve,

and I bring them, cupped in my hands,

to the garden. They nestle there in my palms

like three baby birds that have not yet

opened their eyes. I take them to hear

the pungent song of the garlic shoots

and the thriving chives who chant

how to survive the winter.

I bring them to hear the strawberry leaves

who sing how to flourish despite the frost.

and the old song of chicken manure

and composted grass that hum about

how old life begets new life.

And they open their tiny beaks,

as if they could eat the green song.

How vulnerable they are.

So I open to the song, too.

I do what must be done.

I take in the nourishing song,

and feed them with my own mouth.

 

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IMG_5973

 

 

Even as the snow was falling,

the birds in the branches

kept singing into morning,

easing their bright notes

into the thin gray spaces

between snowflakes.

 

There are days, imagine,

when the birds go unheard.

And it isn’t for lack of song—

the single note chirp

of sparrow, the bass of raven,

the chickadee’s hey swee-tee.

 

Some gifts come only

when we stay in one place,

come only when we are alone,

come only when we stop praying

to be somewhere else and instead

pray to be here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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