birds

FOREVER FRIENDS

 

Through two decades

A dead Live Oak

Stood upright

Perch for families

Of Florida Black Vultures

What sights I’ve seen

On that stage

Young buzzards courting

Males competing for

The belle of the bough

Married couple kissing

Passing food between beaks

Here they are with baby

Showing him how to perch

And search

For newly-made swamp corpses

Other days watching them

Wings outspread

Drying out stormy feathers

One day the mom and dad gone

Baby sat for three days

Finally the smaller one returned

Maybe dad creamed by a car

While cleaning up the road kill

In the middle of city streets

Then the other day

A muffled crash in the swamp

Perch finally fell

And here I go in pursuit of my “art”

Worrying about Water Moccasins

And other snakes

As I wade through the grass

Snap, snap

On smart phone

That does no justice

To the thumbnails of Nature

Suddenly recalling last week

Vulture in my yard

Broken wing

Hopping around

Looking for a way out

I opened the gate and tried shooing him

But he didn’t get it

He did find a pile of tables and plants

Climbed up over the fence

Relieved he escaped

Yet what are the chances

A bird will live safely

With a damaged wing

Birds

Trees

Life yet death symbols for me

And I recall sitting under

Another Live Oak

Many years ago

And it splitting

For no good reason

Phone ringing, me running

My mother’s voice funereal

My favorite uncle died

The trees never lie

But do I think a tree

Can actually be

A psychopomp?

Birds play that role for me

But would a bird

Lead a bird

To the afterlife

Or does the tree’s soul

Take control?

After all

They were friends for so many years…

FL Black Vulture on my swamp perch

© 2017 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)

IMAGES: Live Oak perch fallen in my swamp and FL Black Vulture on the perch in my swamp

 

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PSYCHEDELIC CHIAROSCURO

 

Cardinals, Woodpeckers, Blue Jays

Chirping the dawn away

Dogs barking at squirrels

Tail shaking like chattering maracas

Me gasping “Black coffee!”

To offset rainbow shades

As I create a silent music

Of the tapping of text messages

FB posts

Twitterings

A cacophony of hello and love

With the underlying message

That we made it through the night

We’re all still here

Crowded day

Music plays

Background

Soundtrack

Of our busy lives

Weather hot, humid,

A suddenly damaging deluge

Lightning landing in the already scorched garden

Tin house shakes as

A discordant percussionist–

The drummer of the sky–

Goes control-freaky

Nothing to do until he tires

And the calming flute begins

Ah, here it is

Birds bathing in the after-drizzle

Drying feathers echo xylophone tunes

Dogs sniffing the lightning trail

Me singing to the battered mint

Grateful that the soundtrack

Of the day

Welcomes a glowing

Late afternoon

Bright blue and yellow

A precursor to the

Sun of the Solstice…

 

© 2017 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)

Image: abstract quirky sun, free image

OVERTIME

 

Twilight crows

Where will they go

In the last seconds before

Cobalt deepens into Navy

Cardinals and Woodpeckers

Tucked into vulnerable nests

But crows

Almost like postulant predators

Fly cawing across the twilit sky

Blurring the line

Bisecting nature’s decree

Of fair play for prey

Separating the day from the night shift

Crows on overtime

In a world where diminished habitat

Demands a late-night murder

Owls begin protesting

Hooting in my backyard

As I herd my little dogs inside

Because danger never sleeps…

 

© 2017 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)

IMAGE: My sundown Live Oak

DARK RETURN

 

You came into my life

Last year

April to May

Then you were gone

After Mother’s Day

Now like an annual

Birthday gift

You appeared

Miraculously

Dark dove

Flying out of

A tall top hat

Landing on my

Salient breasts

Gently pecking at my

Lonely lips

Spreading your feathers

Chanting your spell

While my eyes seek

The magic wand

To combine you

With the shadowy man

But the month flies

And you follow

Again

On Mother’s Day

Gone

Flown away

You never stay

And I wonder

Are you a resurrection deity

Ruling the kingdom of my heart

For one short month

Go away

Do not stay

Above all, do not return

My fiery body

Can no longer withstand

The burning mystery of you…

 

© 2017 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)

IMAGE: Dove & Magician pinterest non-attributed

HEARTS OF PALM

 

Flaming flamingos

Content in their colonies

Monogamously settled

While I fly

To the edge of a swamp

Finding amongst riotous,

Deciduous trees

A lone palm

Said to conceal the cure

For a broken heart

Inside the bark

Sleeps a mystery

Magic elixir

Hearts of palms

Calling to me

Musically

Strip away the wood

Revealing vulnerable vegetation

Intent on the source

I miss the landing

At last look up

There you are

Smiling down at me

Musically

Singing

Share your heart

And I know it’s a start

For capturing

Elusive love…

 

© 2017 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)

IMAGE: Flamingos seeking solace in my swamp

SCARING KORAKO (CROW)

 

No exaggeration

Fifty-plus crows

In my backyard oaks

Noisy and cawing

How they croaked

Despite the dogs

Barking and leaping

The crows intent on

Hysterical cardinals

And doves scared out of sleeping

They never react to crashing noises

Screaming or begging

Or my Romani words of magical ploys

So tried the peaceful way

And walked around the yard

Me with my ukulele

Playing and singing

“Leaving on a Jet Plane”

(Don’t know when YOU’LL be back again)

And really, they quieted, discussed my words

Took wing, darkening the still-daylight waxing moon

Feeling best to go hungry

Than put up with that screeching, plunking loon

And I heard the collective sigh

Of backyard, hiding birds, no lie

How useful I feel

Scarecrow extraordinaire

Guess I finally have a brain…

 

© 2017 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)

IMAGE: My tenor ukulele with berries

IGNORING THE RIMA ROYAL

Dilemma. Angry with myself. Wrote a poem about birds bringing me news of death but I’m still ignoring them.  Last month I wrote about Crow and Rooster and although I didn’t do another poem about Hawk, my yard’s been plagued by daily visits from them and the cardinals took off.  But in the light of the death of my beautiful young dog Kali last week, I really need to pay attention to what I know and see.  Yet, there is no way of knowing who is next or what to do.  If only I knew.

Here’s my poem written in 2014.  Reblogged last March but I’m reblogging it again…

A LIFETIME OF BIRDS

Rima Royal :  (seven lines in iambic pentameter rhyming ABA/BB/CC. Can be constructed either as a tercet and two couplets [a-b-a, b-b, c-c] or a quatrain and a tercet [a-b-a-b, b-c-c] )

i.

A lifetime acquired for me to see

That birds have mysteriously uttered

In sad song or joyful, words meant for me.

Some came alone and some in flocks fluttered

But I did not mistake what they muttered.

Old age understands messages from birds

Tweetings and twitterings, meaningful words.

ii.

Three year old memory, illness at night

Screaming and scaring my parents with fear

“Pigeons!” I cried in bed, “Birds are all white!”

“No,” says my dad, “See? No pigeons are here”

“Pigeons are gray,” mom’s voice dings like a sneer.

Tears fall yet I hear a song from the flock

“Life is hard, be strong, like crystalline rock.”

iii.

Doctor consultation after sunrise

The overdose of sulfa is to blame

Hallucinations are the mind’s own lies.

Forget the birds, some allergies can maim

Hallucinations only bring us shame.

Yet I can’t forget the pigeons’ sweet song

To be strong in life will never be wrong.

iv.

Ah, age ten, dead bird on the wet pavement

Nowhere to dig a grave in the city

Soggy cardboard box may be heaven-sent.

Oh young bird, with a red vest so pretty

Evoking my sadness and my pity.

Into the box with a bright fabric scrap

Sail down the gutter, an eternal nap.

v.

Not many days later a day of gloom

My dad’s dad passed on to heaven, they said

And next my mom’s gran locked up in a tomb.

Gazing out the window, red bird made me dread

That messages of birds meant someone’s dead.

Book-learned a new word for those who have died

“Psychopomp” leads souls to the other side.

vi.

Time does weave among the waves so swollen

Seagulls dive-bomb us beached humans eating,

Laughing sons watching lunch being stolen

A new quest to calm my heart’s dark beating

Appeasing the birds, death needs some cheating.

Feathers attract me on a sandy beach

Or beneath the el where I easily reach.

vii.

The years fly by like the raven and crane

Feather-filled vases keep sadness away

Emotional change, relationship strain.

New land, new birds, cardinal and blue jay

Alone with many hours in the day.

After three years the aethers hear me say

Stop the loneliness, send someone today.

viii.

I sit by the lake, someone shares my soul

Hawk stares in my eyes then veers to the sky

Peace settles in, I finally feel whole.

Perception in chaos, life’s worth a try

Trust in the hawk’s vision while flying high.

In two months a man named Hawk comes to me

Possessed with visual acuity.

ix.

We partner and life continues to flow

Strange manifestations seem to appear

Older family generations go.

Superimposed gran’s face in the mirror

Dies on my birthday, couldn’t be clearer.

Death warnings now come from my friend, the crow

A Live Oak splits, it’s my uncle, I know

x.

Mother, father, relatives now depart

But warnings of the birds help me prepare

Yet survivor sadness engulfs my heart.

Hot day outside, woodpecker in my hair

I fight him, toss my head, too much to bear.

Favorite aunt off for routine surgery

Blockage in her carotid artery.

xi.

We speak, she sounds strong, I feel I can breathe

Gathering teardrops that fall on the floor

But it doesn’t take long for me to grieve

A shelf falls apart and cardinals soar

Flinging scarlet selves into our glass door

A warning ignored from birds who sing out

Remind me to never show any doubt.

xii.

Weeks later a huge white bird on a limb

Seemingly speaks to me with eyes aflare

Plain as if hearing an acoustic hymn.

Walking toward the deck, she follows me there

She stands four feet tall, I become aware

“Be strong, be prepared, be joyful, be wise

Lessons of the birds descend from the skies.”

© 2014 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja) Madame Sosostris Explains (a poetry patchwork)

IMAGES: adventuresinlightphotoworkshops.com

Here are the poems (warnings I ignored) that I posted

https://poeturja.wordpress.com/2016/11/18/korako-crow-2/

https://poeturja.wordpress.com/2016/11/20/autoharp/

https://poeturja.wordpress.com/2016/11/29/in-memory-of-kali-72612-112916/

A LIFETIME OF BIRDS

Rima Royal :  (seven lines in iambic pentameter rhyming ABA/BB/CC. Can be constructed either as a tercet and two couplets [a-b-a, b-b, c-c] or a quatrain and a tercet [a-b-a-b, b-c-c] )

A lifetime acquired for me to see

That birds have mysteriously uttered

In sad song or joyful, words meant for me.

Some came alone and some in flocks fluttered

But I did not mistake what they muttered.

Old age understands messages from birds

Tweetings and twitterings, meaningful words.

Three year old memory, illness at night

Screaming and scaring my parents with fear

“Pigeons!” I cried in bed, “Birds are all white!”

“No,” says my dad, “See? No pigeons are here”

“Pigeons are gray,” mom’s voice dings like a sneer.

Tears fall yet I hear a song from the flock

“Life is hard, be strong, like crystalline rock.”

Doctor consultation after sunrise

The overdose of sulfa is to blame

Hallucinations are the mind’s own lies.

Forget the birds, some allergies can maim

Hallucinations only bring us shame.

Yet I can’t forget the pigeons’ sweet song

To be strong in life will never be wrong.

Ah, age ten, dead bird on the wet pavement

Nowhere to dig a grave in the city

Soggy cardboard box may be heaven-sent.

Oh young bird, with a red vest so pretty

Evoking my sadness and my pity.

Into the box with a bright fabric scrap

Sail down the gutter, an eternal nap.

Not many days later a day of gloom

My dad’s dad passed on to heaven, they said

And next my mom’s gran locked up in a tomb.

Gazing out the window, red bird made me dread

That messages of birds meant someone’s dead.

Book-learned a new word for those who have died

“Psychopomp” leads souls to the other side.

Time does weave among the waves so swollen

Seagulls dive-bomb us beached humans eating,

Laughing sons watching lunch being stolen

A new quest to calm my heart’s dark beating

Appeasing the birds, death needs some cheating.

Feathers attract me on a sandy beach

Or beneath the el where I easily reach.

The years fly by like the raven and crane

Feather-filled vases keep sadness away

Emotional change, relationship strain.

New land, new birds, cardinal and blue jay

Alone with many hours in the day.

After three years the aethers hear me say

Stop the loneliness, send someone today.

I sit by the lake, someone shares my soul

Hawk stares in my eyes then veers to the sky

Peace settles in, I finally feel whole.

Perception in chaos, life’s worth a try

Trust in the hawk’s vision while flying high.

In two months a man named Hawk comes to me

Possessed with visual acuity.

We partner and life continues to flow

Strange manifestations seem to appear

Older family generations go.

Superimposed gran’s face in the mirror

Dies on my birthday, couldn’t be clearer.

Death warnings now come from my friend, the crow

A Live Oak splits, it’s my uncle, I know

Mother, father, relatives now depart

But warnings of the birds help me prepare

Yet survivor sadness engulfs my heart.

Hot day outside, woodpecker in my hair

I fight him, toss my head, too much to bear.

Favorite aunt off for routine surgery

Blockage in her carotid artery.

We speak, she sounds strong, I feel I can breathe

Gathering teardrops that fall on the floor

But it doesn’t take long for me to grieve

A shelf falls apart and cardinals soar

Flinging scarlet selves into our glass door

A warning ignored from birds who sing out

Remind me to never show any doubt.

Weeks later a huge white bird on a limb

Seemingly speaks to me with eyes aflare

Plain as if hearing an acoustic hymn.

Walking toward the deck, she follows me there

She stands four feet tall, I become aware

“Be strong, be prepared, be joyful, be wise

Lessons of the birds descend from the skies.”

© 2014 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja) Madame Sosostris Explains (a poetry patchwork)

IMAGES: adventuresinlightphotoworkshops.com