There’s a man who resides in a flat
Who’s convinced he’s becoming a rat.
On his hands and his knees,
He will search for some cheese
‘til he’s met by the gaze of a cat.
There’s a chef from the city of Cork
Who was renowned for his dishes of pork
…‘til the day it was found
He’d been serving up hound
For his diners to eat with a fork.
The sound of car alarms above my head,
Then card’nal calls around the lightning rod
Inspired my search for brilliant card’nal red.
I saw instead what’s beautiful and odd:
A forest full of sounds and frantic song
Escaping from a single mockingbird.
As though he meant to say, “This life’s not long
And, while it lasts, it’s often quite absurd,”
He played a crow, a robin, and a horn
And jumped between the roles at rates so fast
That moments after ev’ry sound was born
Its span of life among the clouds had passed.
He strove to share the songs he’d kept inside
Instead of hoarding them until he died.*
*I know that he was likely trying to attract a mate…
We rarely used to notice common birds
Invited now into the yard to feed.
“That’s a mourning dove!”, and other words,
We pin to birds we’ve seen in guides we read.
This matching of a species with its name—
“A woodpecker! On the fence’s rail”—
Has quickly turned into a fav’rite game.
Unlike the birds confined in wiry jail,
These welcome visitors remain at ease
While hunting worms in grass, enjoying grain
The feeder holds, providing songs in trees,
And taking baths in pots that catch the rain.
These birds, who in our garden daily roam,
Are part of what has made this place a home.
While watering the plants today, I heard
The ring of metal tags then saw a cat
And wondered whether he’d pursued a bird
Too far and gotten lost. He was as fat
And clean, from furry head to furry paw,
As any loving person’s treasured pet.
A little like one running from the law—
Eluding officers’ circling, dragging net—
He’d often hide in bushes and in trees.
His eyes appeared to say, “It’s not a game.
I’m scared and want again my life of ease.”
He fled before the tags revealed his name.
I hope his face won’t soon appear in signs
That children post on wooden power lines.
An Abecedarian A malevolent wind Blows leaves into a swirl. Car engines cease to purr. Deadly silence replaces traffic sounds. Eagle drop from the sky and leave winged craters in the sand. Fish float upside down, lifeless eyes gazing sunward. Giraffes hang their heads and sob Hyenas find no cause to chuckle as they solemnly scavenge. Inmates bloody their fists on bars. Jailhouse guards have long gone home. Kraken clouds swim the smoky sky Locking ethereal tentacles around suffocating tree tops. Mountains crumble like crackers under heavy feet. Now their peaks rest scarcely higher than their bases. Off key are the songs of what few birds remain. Perfect pitch is a thing of the past. Quavering a moment, an island slowly Retreats into the ocean from which it once rose. Snow bubbles and boils, scalding Those treading through it. Unbridled rains of melting stone Violently brand the ground. Wantonly destructive, a Xiphoid shard of glass impales a child. Yielding not to the pleas of man, the storm prepares to reach its Zenith.