All blackbirds in silhouette

It’s air-tight, this insulation
house silent except

the wicker crackle
of my chair-seat, periodic

ping of the furnace. Outside
before the sun, before even

the start of a down-street engine
swinging headlights, distant dog-bark

if I open the door (if)
a wealth of opening

joyflood birdsong, after-rain
dirt-scent, green

purelife welling a balm
worth its wait


Thank you, Jane, for the blackbird gold.


I beg a word on winter.
Snow and cold are fine, but something’s missing—
the rustle-song of breeze and piercing blackbird’s call,
green-leaf ground and walls of trees,
early sun and evening alight—
will spring come soon, fair and bright?

Something lighter: an echo poem for Jane’s weekly challenge, with special-order blackbird. I was thinking that Arnold Lobel’s Frog and Toad had an echo story, but maybe I was remembering something from Winnie the Pooh?

Almost Winter Dreams

not the cat, not
the glasses, only
my heart begging
another whiff of roses
crushed untasted
unsung under

broken night
flight of forgotten words
birds faltering, slow
freighted with fear
here comes their cry
why do I wake
ache for dreams unspoken
broken night

Playing with two prompts today. First part inspired by Quickly, second part inspired by Jane’s circular poetry.

Winter Hearth Ghazal

Dark—though all the world sleeps, long
I strain to hear blackbird song

Your wings winter-folded, soft-
swept snow, river-fog blurred song

Locked into memory, green-
forest days spinning word-song

By berry bramble, your wings
covered all desire, spurred song

Unsung, for better or worse
by this cold hearth, unstirred song

Now dawn-white shadow gathers
plaintive dream-note—unheard song

My first attempt at the ghazal form.

For next year’s garden

bring me canna lilies
red and gold, leaves bold
unfurling palm-like, shading
striped, streaked, splotched
great reedy canes
buds ruffled, spiraling
throats blushed
to bring bees, birds, bats
and if we can’t live on
through frost and dark
we’ll make paper, dye, beads
and music from the seeds

Playing with this prompt from Margo Roby: Wordgathering, also inspired by a gift of canna lily rhizomes from my son’s horticulture class.


evening purples
coneflowers, prairie clover
stirred by unhushed wings–

evening purples
asters, feathered grasses, pond-
held wary stillness

coneflowers, prairie clover,
rabbits quick-whisper
sun in slow descent

stirred by unhushed wings
sky quickens, blunt-crying geese
fade purple, southward

Written in the form of Troiku, inspired by this post at Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie.

Because they wear out

from rigors of nesting, these dry
dusting feathers drifting down
through the night-trees—

Have I changed? Can you see it
as ugly duckling flared to phoenix?
Or what tale can describe that
freeing flight earth-up, sky-down
through forests reclaiming all
the bones of empire?

wings spread and settle, fledgling
soul curled small, moss-soft
beneath the fallen log (discarded
feathers caught in the grain);
practiced eye of greenway wanderer
will see it’s forever new

For Meg, the greenway wanderer at Pigspittle, Ohio, who shared her beautiful photo of Feathers on a Log and pointed me to this article on molting.

At the River Crossing

I am the child of root and air, the song
of limpid river, tumbled rocks;
my father feathered black, my mother brown
and pocket-faded, full of words.
I sing and shape the stumbles into spells
of love for Crone to honey-fill her jars,
for Wizard’s far-fetched flings at sun and moon.

Inspired by A Prompt Each Day’s midweek wordle, which sent me back to my Hiraeth-world.

after Amadae

Remember when we hid in the caves
late dust swirling in red sun and talked
of home, imagined roses blooming
thorn-berries yet green and sour, river
foam-cold? We had the king within reach
but were too fearful—proud—young—to grasp
the hem of his robe. Remember how
the cedars howled with the storm of it
wind rushing like undammed water through
the desert valley heaped with his dead
and ours, and you lay huddled, fevered
by the fire? I went out long before
the cliffs should have echoed new birdsong
to watch the armies march clacking, bone-
white, on and on into morning