Chick

I.

Hey bird,
I never felt like this
for any bird but you.
Wingling, all flutters, yes,
but not this stubborn tenderness.

Blue eyes,
when you look back,
a shell in me
rocks and cracks.

II.

Loveliest woman,
not really little, not really bird,
you don’t have to be anything for me.
How can I know you?
I want to love you accurately.

Cutting Steel in the Morning

Happy Monday, neighbour!
This is a Ragnarok alarm clock:
steel rod clatter and steel saw roar,
gas engine chatter, the windy patter
of sheets of rain on the storm-wet form,
showers of sparks, the radio blasting
completely unintelligible crap,
and the rap of nailguns dropping a beat.
Only it’s not the end of the world –
it’s just the beginning.
It’s 7 am. This is not a bad dream.

Reconsider Singing

To those who think that sitting on a cloud
in heaven, playing harps or singing praise
is dull: be sure that there are other ways
of glorifying God. The land just plowed,
the plowman’s pleasure in the land, the loud
eureka of a scientist, the phrase
unearthed, the poet’s well wrought urn; these days
and works of hands God loves, and has allowed.
But listen too, to polyphonic chant,
medieval choral oceanic songs,
cathedral deeps resounding unto deep
with solemn joy – for morning falling slant,
through windows gathering colour, belongs
to God! No new earth thing will seem too cheap.

Exchange and Curiosity

A gull stood on the clock on Clearihue.
It cocked its head as if it heard a sound
inaudible to creatures of the ground
and underneath its feet the tower grew
into a riddle, with a nonsense clue
a secret with a turning cipher bound,
as if a combination could be found
by listening for clicks. I listened, too.
I heard the tread of strangers walking by
below in flocks, some squawking, through the door
to vaults of molten blue. I left the sky
outside and gladly gave my wings for lore,
for keys, for coins, for mysteries unseen.
But when birds speak, I don’t know what they mean.

Non Sequitur

Like an answer that bird
flashed round the corner
to a prayer unprayed.

I started, and stopped.
It thrummed there a moment,
alight, aflame, a vibrating string,
a glittering thing unlooked for,
a free green gift, inviting thanks.

I tried. I said sincerely, “Lord,
this extra grace is precious; bird,
I do not deserve this emerald word!”

But to my shame I thought,
“Oh Lord, and the prayers I prayed?
Do they matter or not?
You knew, you saw my face
when you took away so soon
what I thought you gave.”

Frischluftvachen

December is the ocean
that Ararat remembers.

The yellow months open and shut
like moth wings,
the purple months, like crocuses.
But Novembers close with an arctic slap
and Ararat remembers that.

“It was quiet.
Even the little birds whose hearts
beat in fits and starts were still
or gone, and that was odd.”

“Then the motion of the grasses,
how the waves went through the hills.
It was cold.
I felt the hand of God.”

December is the sting of salt
the shock of lost time
that dispels the selfish afternoons,
it says Wake up
the floodgates are opened.
What are you about?
The doors of the ark are shut.

But
in the deep days of December also swim
fresh memories of Him
Author and Protagonist of earth,
and the truth
is worth the waking.