A loud scree of a Red-tailed Hawk
fills the air. The sharp cry breaks
through a quiet afternoon
like an intonation of sacred bells
when we are summoned to be
alert. This scree soon dies down
to a softer remnant until only echoes
of it like an earworm of song remain.
Sounds awaken us—place us with our
feet on the ground, mind in the same
spot, a brief respite from busy thoughts,
it’s our North Star in finding peace.
This poem was published in the Methow Arts Alliance Quarterly Guide to the Arts in the Methow Valley for Winter 2017-18.
seeing seven crows
together was a sign
a bad omen
her mother told her this
when she was very young,
mothers sometimes do that,
pass on superstitions
mine is Irish so I know.
Whenever I see crows
I try not to count
I’ve thought of
I feel certain
her mother told her
to fulfill the sign:
the seven crows
must all be standing
on one leg
all looking to the right
beaks open wide
in unison cawing,
sometimes little girls
are really very busy
they don’t always listen.
This is poem was published in Jeopardy in 1993 and included in “Talk” my chapbook, and responded to by three artists in the Methow Valley for the Confluence Gallery exhibit Visions of Verse. This exhibit in 2013/2014 was the brain child of poet Linda M. Robertson, with then gallery director Nicole Ringgold, a call for writers was put out and 200 submissions were received. Seventeen artists and seventeen poets were selected and the artists created work in response to poems they selected. A chapbook of both poetry and artwork was created in addition to an evening reading by the poets. It was an amazing exhibit and experience and one I hope will be done again.
Crows dive bomb the pear tree
knock fruit to the ground
descend upon it—
peck the fallen delicacies
with gusto— slurping, devouring—
leave only hollowed skins
limp and weeping on the grass.
We applaud their diligence
the industry of their harvesting,
while we are busily packing boxes
preparing to move, a wearying task.
Watching crows gives me reason
to pause, and I think of them writing
accounts of their feasting
in crow journals late at night—
of pear juice dripping down
This unpublished poem was written as we were packing up our Eldridge Avenue home in Bellingham preparing to move to Twisp. The hollowed out pears were a sight to see, and finished off by yellow jackets.