birds

AUTOHARP

i.

Today

An early Winter Solstice present

Appeared in the mail

Autoharp

Allowing me to pretentiously play

Like I’m Janis Joplin

Talented and fey

Happily harping to my known ukulele chords

Singing into the perfect Florida morning

ii.

Neighbor’s rooster began crowing along

Smiling, I knew he enjoyed my song

Came down off my music high

Finally noticing that he never stopped

That rooster crowed from six to four

Silent by dawn, heard not anymore

iii.

Like some old Volva

Spouting dire predictions

In the Norse Edda

Perhaps tossing runic bones

I shivered in the pre-dawn light

Wondering what would occur by tonight

iv.

Remembering that Egdir plays the harp

While red Fjalar the rooster

Crows

Heralding Ragnarok

Events presaging

The fiery destruction

Yet bountiful rebirth

Of our troubled Earth

v.

Sometimes hard to be born a mystic

Symbols and sounds, so holistic

Today I play with heavy heart

Not sure what came first:

The rooster or the harp

Or were they merely

Synergistically

Reacting together…?

© 2016 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)

IMAGE: Volva and Egdir from the Edda

KORAKO (CROW) 2

1

Korako, crow, oh no

Waking to you

Feathers in free-flight

Circling, then

Landing by my feet

Last time you were here

My cardinals disappeared

Lucidly rising from the pillow

I say, please, be an omen

For a good day

Really need one

2

You look at me with

All-knowing eyes

As I stare back at you

Trying to be strong but kind

I ask you to move along

Spare me live-at-five

Real-time demonstrations

Of the food chain at work

3

Thought I was awake

But you answered me

In perfect American English

“Good for you, bad for me

I do it only when hungry”

Do it down the street, then

Cardinals are nesting there too

4

Korako gives me a sad look

“Your cardinals are more important

Than those of neighbors?”

Chastened, eyes closed

I try to go deeper into sleep

Want to forget the dream

Almost waking time

Subconsciously hear my dogs

Scratching, moving around the bed

Korako fading into that other world

And I, tribal sociopath, am left

Self-reflecting on selfishness

Taught to me by korako…

 

© 2016 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)

IMAGE: How To Draw A Tribal Crow by Dragoart.com

RIVER RAMBLE

 

So here’s a slew of

Ibis in search of Friday morning breakfast

Ceasing their scouring

As I peel a banana

But more polite than seagulls and squirrels

Receiving no invitation

They good-naturedly poke along the riverside

Eating whatever is hidden in the mud

Thinking of Ibis-headed Thoth

Egyptian god of knowledge, art and magic

I wonder if this foraging flock

Is a communique

My totems for the day

A message that says

Happiness is creativity…

 

© 2016 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)

IMAGE: Foraging Ibis on the Pithlachascotee

 

BEST OF BOTH

 

The wind sings different songs to us

In our special pageants of power

I feel threatened by yours

You feel contempt for mine

Or is it merely a projection

Of the sheltering tree’s longing

To fly far away?

The soaring bird’s longing

For permanent roots?

The bird needs to rest in the

Arms of the tree

The tree needs to feel the

Caress of bird’s feathers

Can a tree be content

With only her leafy hair flying?

Can a bird be satisfied

Temporarily sojourning

In the roots of a tree?

 

© 1992 & 2016 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)

IMAGE: My Live Oak at sundown

WILDLY WONDERING

 

The woodpeckers

Lately look

Delectably fleshy

Have I done them

A disservice

By buying a special feeder

Filled with suet and seeds?

When once small and thin

They sport bellies

Fluffing their striped feathers

Tossing their red heads

Lording it over a feeder

That allows for long tail feathers

Will they attract large predators

Or am I the one to be feared?

My appetites have changed

A vegetarian diet no longer suffices

I find myself enticed by the yard bullies

Fighting the feeling

Of what a (yummy)

Plump and juicy

Woodpecker would taste like

Melting on my starving tongue…

 

© 2016 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)

IMAGE: Woodpecker on my feeder

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