Tag Archives: Birds

Back at the Lake

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as if the world could be different  – an avenue of budding branches

the upturned boat a sarcophagus for the corpse of winter

siestaing swans – necks wrapped across their backs

water’s gentle glissando as a man takes his reflection for a walk

a child’s drawing of flowers – bright celandines

on the island a female goosander shows off her elegant profile

inside this lake a smaller lake – patch of blue sky

who will teach me how to hold these incongruities?

small insects motes of dust tickling my face

this is what nothing looks like – liquid fullness

last year’s willowherb scrawny and bedraggled

the boardwalk a wooden snake winding nowhere

behind my eyes penicillin blue pomegranate red

planes of light glancing off the lake’s stillness

 

 

 

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In Two Minds

Another mind is moving in me, a second nature that is as inseparable from me as my shadow, except that in relation to it I am the shadow and it the light. The dilemma I find myself in (if I find myself at all) is that this other is hidden from me in the same way that seeing is hidden from things that are seen. The work of meditative thinking is a collaboration between these two natures—the seer that remembers and the seen that always forgets. As in rowing, if you pull more on one oar than the other, you go round in circles, and, as in rowing, all I can see is what I have passed as I press forward toward a point that is hidden behind me.

Carl Lehmann-Haupt

 

The Double

I am tired, but she is not tired.

I am wordless;

she, who has never spoken a word of her own,

is full of thoughts as precise and impassioned

as the yellow and black exchanges of a wasp’s striped body.

 

For a long time I thought her imposter.

Then realized:

her jokes, even her puns, are only too subtle for me to follow.

 

And so we go on, mostly ignoring each other,

though what I cook, she eats with seeming gusto,

and letters intended for her alone I open with curious ease,

as if I, not she, were the long-accomplished thief.

 

Jane Hirshfield

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Birdwings

imageYour grief for what you’ve lost lifts a mirror

up to where you’re bravely working.

Expecting the worst, you look, and instead,

here’s the joyful face you’ve been wanting to see.

Your hand opens and closes and opens and closes.

If it were always a fist or always stretched open,

you would be paralysed.

Your deepest presence is in every small contracting and expanding,

the two as beautifully balanced and coordinated

as bird wings.

 

Rumi

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Questionnaire

What tells a flower to dry to paper

and make a packet for its own seeds?

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Why do autumn crocuses, palest mauve,

keep no leaves for leaning on?

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Where does the heron’s neck go,

perched so high in the cedar?

IMG_6247Who will hunt down the only member

of the Petrosaviales family?

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Is it true only filched canary creepers thrive?

How does a small pink flower dye

dark blue?  Where does it hide its stain?

IMG_6217Which are tougher – roots put down

in a Scottish city or on a Chinese mountain?

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What wit chose the paint

to match the moorhens’ beaks?

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And why do weekend crowds

infuse the garden with restlessness?

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How does a flower grow from stone?

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What will happen when there’s more

to save than what remains?  Please explain.

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Sulphur-Crested Cockatoo

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‘Look sharply after your thoughts. They come unlooked for, like a new bird seen in your trees, and, if you turn to your usual task, disappear.’

Ralph Waldo Emerson

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