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)