Posts Tagged ‘bird’

The Call

Dawn, and the geese announce
their landing on the pond—
and though the reluctant body says sleep,
the heart rouses to attend their arrival.
So many awakenings seem to happen like this:
when I feel least ready, least willing, most averse,
something demands I rise—
something strident, insistent, wildly alive,
saying, Now! It’s time! You’re here.

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Without knowing it this morning,
I woke to the day
the bluebirds returned.
Every morning it is like this—
the chance to rise into a day
of unexpected blessings.
All afternoon the bluebirds weave
through the field, perch on the roof,
bob in the grass.
I marvel at how easily
beauty slips in to help me
fall in love with not knowing.
All day I feel lucky,
like a woman given
a truth so precious
not because she deserved it
but because she woke up
and met the day.

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A wake of vultures circled above us
as we sat on the porch, conversing,
their dark wings unflapping as they spiraled.
How did they know there would be carrion to devour
when my friends and I did not yet know?
The conversation began, perhaps, like most others.
Weather. Politics. Health. But as it deepened,
we spoke naked. We spoke wound. We bled fear.
We cast off ideas that no longer served us
and left them for dead.
God, they were beautiful,
the vultures as they circled,
their black wings backlit by the light.
They feasted on the scraps we left on the ground.
We emerged so light, so wildly alive.

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            —for Art Goodtimes

When I was clay,
was mud, was
slurry, was sludge,
he said, Fly,
beautiful bird,
high and low.
When I was
nothing, he said,
I am honored
to be your friend.
When there was
nothing to be said,
he sat with me.
We breathed in
deep sadness.
We breathed out love.
All around us,
the grass grew.
Inside, I felt it,
as if his words
were prophecy,
I knew it,
the possibility
of wings.


Hi friends, 

I realized tonight that it was a year ago yesterday that I resumed writing poems after a 7-week break after my son’s death. That break was so important–to give myself utterly over to meeting each moment and living into whatever showed up. And returning to writing was also so important–to give in to the practice of showing up with language, being very curious about what is here, and then doing my very best to tell the truth of it. 

Tonight’s poem was inspired by an email I just reread from that time in which my beautiful, soul-growing, long-time mentor, Art Goodtimes said to me, among other things, Fly beautiful bird, high and low. It meant the world to me. 

And so, considering tonight’s poem, it feels appropriate to share with you tonight an article that came out today in Shoutout Colorado!, in which at the end I honor Art’s influence in my life (though there is, as you will see, a misplaced paragraph in the middle of the article that should go at the end?? you’ll figure it out, because it makes no sense otherwise). 
The article also talks about collaboration, the importance of practice, of “giving it away,” learning when to not give it away, and the joys of taking the slow track.

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These warm summer evenings
I take in the nighthawks
looping above the field.
I take in their fast and agile flight,
take in their long and pointed wings.
Come winter, I will be grateful
to have stored such things.
When the nighthawks are gone
and the world is dim,
I will want to remember thema—
their aerialist displays, the way
they make of the dusk a playground,
the way the whole night
seems to hang on an angling wing—
Oh summer is such a generous thing.
Even the dark is charged with the thrill
of living. Even this heart, wounded
and bruised, can’t help but open
to the wheeling of nighthawks,
how they arc and sweep
as the sun disappears
and then continue their swooping
long after the light is gone.

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We gather at my brother’s home
and his wife has ordered 57 duck calls.
They were not in time for the party,
but when we arrive to find them
on the front stoop, immediately
we open the box and almost a dozen adults
begin blowing on the duck calls—
not just once or twice,
but for twenty minutes
we make rising calls, falling calls,
sharp quick staccato calls,
calls to the beat of Bridge Over the River Kwai.
It is loud and raucous and somewhere
in heaven, my father I am sure
was blowing, too, and giggling
until tears ran down his cheeks
and he rubbed his wet eyes with his fists.
There were tears today, sobs, even,
but my god tonight how we laughed
as we made the sound my father loved—
the sound to call in the birds.
How it called in his memory, startling
and alive—how I felt him wing in—
not sure if the tears on my cheeks
were his or mine.

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Beyond Words

for Daisy

And though I expect the bride
to say I do, I don’t expect her
to say it with such sweet candor,
both syllables thrumming as if
they each have a heartbeat of their own.
I do, she trills, thrilling in the promise
to have, to hold,
to love from this day forward.
Her voice is a meadowlark,
a bright flush of wing and song,
and what can I do but laugh
and weep into that golden moment
when I and the others gathered
know ourselves not just as witnesses
but as the lucky wind
that touches such beauty
then lifts it up for the world to see.  

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Just after sunrise,
I hear it, the bright airy trill
of the red-winged blackbird—
and before my eyes
are even open,
I feel a wild resonance
with the waking world,
the certainty I belong
to this day with its rising sun
and scent of green grass,
its breeze reaching in
through the screens;
I belong to this day
with my creature heart
that already this morning
longs to hold what it cannot,
longs to comfort others,
even knowing how
sorrow must be felt.
I belong to the song
of the red-winged blackbird
as it calls out again,
belong to the silence
as he waits for an answer.
And waits. And waits.
I belong to the spring
every bit as much
as I belong to winter.
This is perhaps
the conundrum of love,
no matter how strong the ache,
we still belong
to the world of beauty,
this world that calls to us
even in our sleep,
wakes us with a promise
strung like audible garland
across the dawn—
you belong, you belong.

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There comes a time when
the life you have
meets the life you once had
and you stare at that old life
as if it’s a beautiful bird
with a haunting song so familiar
you can’t stop yourself
from singing along.
Isn’t it strange
how quickly things change,
how already you’ve forgotten
some of the words.
How already, your wings
have changed color.

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This Season

It is true, every day
brings a sadness—
sometimes like a blizzard,
sometimes like sleet,
sometimes like a clear morning
of fifteen below,
but I do not wish any of it away.
On the coldest mornings here,
the birds that choose to stay
fluff up their feathers
to trap in the chill air,
warming it with their own bodies
until it becomes their insulation.
This is, perhaps, how it is with grief—
by holding it close,
it transforms from something
that would hurt me
to something I infuse
with my own being,
thus becoming something
that allows me to survive.
It would be wrong
to say I like it. But I hear
how, with every day,
it is teaching me
a new way to sing.

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