The Passing of Summer

 The wind and rain stopped by last night,
 Had a few minor temper tantrums outside
 As I stood watching from the door.
 They slapped the trees limbs around a bit
 And kicked at bits of loose trash in the street.
 Nothing more violent than that.
  
 No pushing down trees.
 No pummeling hail.
 Rather calm for a storm.
 Yet it killed the heat of summer,
 Murdering it without a hint of passion
 And ushering in a cold windy day 
 To begin the fall to winter.
  
 At dawn,
 I stand here,
 Warming myself 
 With this cup of coffee,
 Mourning a summer
 That passed without passion.
   

Shadows

In the shadows of the mountains

Where beasts have fled,

Leaving behind cloven hoof prints

In the inky muck of the forest floor

Beside the pristine waters of a rushing stream

Near the fading timberline here,

The scent of decaying pine bark and musk

On a faint icy breeze

Weaves all into the forest primordial.

Nothing human can be found

In a fear filled chest.

A Dream of the Wolf

 A whipped dog,
 Head down,
 Eyes, lowered,
 Ears back,
 Haunches drawn
 Dreams the wolf--
 Sharp weapons of tooth and claw,
 Armor of hide and fur,
 Heart of a free, wild warrior.
  
 A dream of the lone wolf,
 Who may find comfort
 Here or there 
 For a season.
 Then moves onward alone
 Before what will come 
 As the whipped dog knows,
 Always, always does. 

Two Trees

In the woods
Two trees stand
Equally rooted
Firmly in the ground.

Yet as if deciding
It a curse of solitude
To try and touch a Sky
Who never reached back,
One turned
To touch the other,
Leaning its trunk
Against its forest mate’s.

And so, we found them,
Standing as lovers,
One resting upon the other,
Limbs entwined in embrace.

We turned.
Walked down the trail,
leaning toward each other,
our hands touching.

In the Songs of Birds

When I was three,
My mother taught me to read,
And words
Became playthings and playmates
As I sat in the back of the restaurant
Watching her work her dream to death.

Later, as I grew,
Family losses piled, heaped
Weighty upon the shoulders of a nine-year-old.
Words became
Escape, shelter, survival,
A path out of destruction.

And so, words stayed
For more years than I’d care to say.

But now here,
Waking mornings,
Hearing birdsong,
Or in early evening,
The warm sun blanketing
My skin as I fill the birdfeeders,
I hear words in the songs of birds.
Silly though it may seem,
The cardinals have much to say,
“It’s cheaper here. It’s cheaper here.”
To “Pretty, pretty, pretty.”
The mockingbirds chatter away
Announcements of “She’s here, she’s here, she’s here.”
And I’m not sure which bird continually asks,
“Wanna see, wanna see, wanna see a receipt?”
All the while, the Blue Jays squawk away,
Warning all the others,
“Stay away! Stay away!”
Then in the chittering of the squirrels,
I hear the demand,
“Where’s the food? Where’s the food?
You let the food run out! How dare you?”
As they scurry away,
Pretending, at least, to be afraid of me.

Among all the noise and chatter
All the words of birds and squirrels
One word, never felt before now,
I feel move within my chest,
Peace.

Falconry

animals_hero_red-tailed_hawk_0 (1)

A screeching hawk climbs overhead,
Gliding, swooping in pursuit,
Her flight a perfect merger
Of beauty, purpose, and skill.

If only, if only
I could capture such a hawk
Train and bend
That beauty and skill
To do the bidding of my will.

Sent forth from my hand
In a powerful surge of wings,
Pummeling air,
Finding the perfect draught of air
To glide upon,
Turning, searching for prey,
Then sighting her trophy, her prize,
Sweeping down, a beat of wings,
A shift of body,
Talons extended,
What seems a pause,
A slowing,
Talons snatching,
Squeezing, sinking into a snake’s skin,
Wings beat, once, twice,
A cry as she lifts her body
And her limp prize,
Upon the air to glide,
Turning homeward,
The purity of her purpose,
A dance upon the air,
Done.

If only, if only
From my hand could fly
Such beautiful purity of purpose.