Winter’s Blessed Wind Chill

December night acquires a fuller moon
that lights the whitecaps on the Ijsselmeer.
I pace to warm myself, attempt a tune
the wind absconds with, wiping off a sneer
from my chapped lips. A sleepy heron stands
just inward of the rocks that take the spray.
It dews his feathers, flecks and chills my hands.

Winter’s Blessed Wind Chill appeared in The Olding Man

Joie des Livres

In the beauty of this day’s fall colours
when its nip in the air put that tang in my tendons
I gave up my day job
of being unemployed
and my addictive personality
that hasn’t killed me so far
due to terminal sloth
and marched off
to my artisan’s workbench
resolute
to do something
of worth
in this world
until studied reflection
on the personal safety accorded me by Guardian Sloth
sent me happily back to bed to read.
Better read than dead.

Wistful Waking

I watch nostalgia surface, see it bite
at the sunrise that relieves the harvest moon.
This perfect weather – bright light day and night –
should be enough, but is not, to festoon
my autumn with the joys of the season:
canoeing, hiking, catching leaves that fall
like puzzle pieces teasing at my reason.
Why having much can I not have it all?
The past calls loudly but not using words.
I revisit places I have never been.
More of me than my eye pursues the birds
that gyre around the great church spire and then
flit out of sight, return once, and are gone
into the shade nostalgic thoughts bring on.

The Hamadryad’s Witness

The month of May was brighter, warmer when
young Pertelote had tamed proud Chanticleer.
The moon of then waxed brighter, warning them
of the coal-tip fox. The fowl could see their fears.
They ranged a world of hart, shallot and thyme
and did not live, as do their heirs, in boxes.
It’s said they sang. Per Chaucer, they could rhyme.
It was not heaven: birds died then of poxes,
and ancients suffered painful nights, but feigned
that they were fit by day — few changes there.
Men’s councils grew, and herd allotments reigned.
From Wall to Malvern, men killed off the bear.
The men feed scrapied sheep now to their cows.
The fading started when they ditched the Druid vows.

Coot-Swallow, Everyone!

Auguries require a due respect
to count for anything influencing deeds,
though reckoning backwards helps, as you’d expect,
convince us they relate to human needs.

To name the day for the first birds you see
is smarter than to study economics,
enough to recommend, it seems to me,
it over college, reading Sunday comics,

consulting stars, or running phrases on.
Exceeding science, it comes near religion.
I have a portent I can base this on,
my horse came in a winner on Crow-Pigeon.

————
Coot-Swallow, everyone!
It’s a glorious spring day here. A coot-swallow day, to name the day after the first two birds I saw after going outside this morning. I had provisionally thought today was Dove-Weathervane, but looking out the window does not count.

Tolls

The clock I race retires its ticks sometimes,
till I can only trace its whirring hands;
or it hides its face from even me, and climbs
up to the sun to dial foreign lands
which pirouette in answer to its ring.
How can there be so much I just now see?
More belles to ring, their beaux who bring
them wan I Ching: Blind cats that sing
and roosters wring. Fat flounders fling
their flukes to cling onto the Ming
vase that goes ping. Large turkey wing
tied down with string. Loose words that zing.
Post-shaving sting. I’m in the swing.
Rewind the spring. God save the King.
Rewind the spring. Spring. Spring. Spring. Spring.

April’s Flowers

If I knew all the colours’ names
I would not know enough
to catalogue the tulip’s flames
in these fields lined with rough
wet grasses where the great swans feed
and grebes give grebe chicks rides
through waterways that squarely lead
to dikes that damp the tides.

For miles and miles the tulips grow
in every shade then some:
lavender, and furnace glow;
purest black, and plum.
Reds so hard they hurt your eyes,
greens as pale as smiles
exchanged by lawyers, blues like skies
and golds that gleam like piles

of museum treasures in the sun
that recalls tulips when they’re done.