Stray Birds


Stray birds of summer come to my 
window to sing and fly away. 
And yellow leaves of autumn, which 
have no songs, flutter and fall
there with a sigh. 

II
O Troupe of little vagrants of the 
world, leave your footprints in 
my words...!!!



Uprooted.

It took all our weight to drag the chain
over the stump, my brother 
and I heaving links heavy enough
to strangle hope. Our hands lost 
in grandfather’s big work gloves,
slick grass betrayed our bare feet. 
The tractor vibrated low. Hummed,
screeched, and began humming again. 
Smoke marbled gray the blue morning.
Where we once played king-of-the-hill 
on the stump’s weathered face, we now
played Judas with an iron-linked kiss.

Grandfather spat Red Fox
tobacco, feathered the clutch once 
to tighten the noose. The engine leaned,
a runner into wind, as the chain notched, 
deep into the wood, a lover’s
embrace gone shockingly wrong. 
The stump shuddered, groaned, wrenched
from the earth and tilted skyward. 
I don't know what we expected.
There were no secrets. 
No ghosts. No magic. Only
naked roots torn from the earth. 
We stood with hands at our sides,
lost in the tremor song of earth, 
all of us, broken like a promise.
Air so raw, it scratched our lungs. 
Days passed, until once more we
circled the stump. Each of us, secretly 
hoped enough time had passed
for the love that married this stump 
to earth to slip away. We then laid

axe to wood and released the rings...!!!




My Doves.

Opposite my chamber window, 
On the sunny roof, at play, 
High above the city's tumult, 
Flocks of doves sit day by day. 
Shining necks and snowy bosoms, 
Little rosy, tripping feet, 
Twinkling eyes and fluttering wings, 
Cooing voices, low and sweet,

Graceful games and friendly meetings, 
Do I daily watch and see. 
For these happy little neighbors 
Always seem at peace to be. 
On my window-ledge, to lure them, 
Crumbs of bread I often strew, 
And, behind the curtain hiding, 
Watch them flutter to and fro. 

Soon they cease to fear the giver, 
Quick are they to feel my love, 
And my alms are freely taken 
By the shyest little dove. 
In soft flight, they circle downward
Peep in through the window-pane; 
Stretch their gleaming necks to greet me, 
Peck and coo, and come again. 

Faithful little friends and neighbors, 
For no wintry wind or rain, 
Household cares or airy pastimes, 
Can my loving birds restrain. 
Other friends forget, or linger, 
But each day I surely know 
That my doves will come and leave here 
Little footprints in the snow. 

So, they teach me the sweet lesson, 
That the humblest may give 
Help and hope, and in so doing, 
Learn the truth by which we live; 
For the heart that freely scatters 
Simple charities and loves, 
Lures home content, and joy, and peace, 

Like a soft-winged flock of doves...!!!



The Journey.

One day you finally knew
what you had to do, and began,
though the voices around you
kept shouting
their bad advice
though the whole house
began to tremble
and you felt the old tug
at your ankles.
"Mend my life!"
each voice cried.
But you didn't stop.
You knew what you had to do,
though the wind pried
with its stiff fingers
at the very foundations,
though their melancholy
was terrible.
It was already late
enough, and a wild night,
and the road full of fallen
branches and stones.
But little by little,
as you left their voices behind,
the stars began to burn
through the sheets of clouds,
and there was a new voice
which you slowly
recognized as your own,
that kept you company
as you strode deeper and deeper
into the world,
determined to do
the only thing you could do
determined to save

the only life you could save...!!!



The Sky.

The sky is low, the clouds are mean, 
A travelling flake of snow 
Across a barn or through a rut 
Debates if it will go. 

A narrow wind complains all day 
How some one treated him; 
Nature, like us, is sometimes caught 

Without her diadem...!!!




The yard half a yard,

half a lake blue as a corpse.
The lake will tell things you long to hear:
get away from here.
Three o'clock. Dry leaves rat-tat like maracas.

Whisky-colored grass
breaks at every step and trees
are slowly realizing they are nude.
How long will you stay?
For the lake asks questions you want to hear, too.

Months have passed since, well,
everything. Since buildings stood
black against sky, rain hissed from sidewalks
and curled around you.
O, how those avenues once seemed menacing!

I know what you miss
sings this lake. Car horns groaning
in rush hour. Sweet coffee. Wind
pounding like hammers. Warmth of a lover.
Crickets humming love songs to the street...!!!


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