A Tufted Titmouse Braves a Cold Spell by Martin J. Elster

A Tufted Titmouse Braves a Cold Spell

Peter-peter-peter cries my voice
echoing through the trees. Flakes fall to test
my stamina and patience. It is cold.
Tomorrow will be chillier still, fresh rime
glazing flower and fence. My whistles chime
like piccolos to pierce the stale and old
that clings as lichen to a larch. I rest
in a nest in a lifeless oak. I have no choice
but to sing and to hole up in this secondhand
woodpecker’s dimple, no alternative
but to twitter to my better half, to live
in my feathered fashion. Oh, but it is grand
and it is hard and it’s both work and play
and — peter-peter — it is cold today.

by Martin J. Elster

Editor’s Note: This sonnet is a delight to read, and one any birder would love.

Photo by Christine Klocek-Lim

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From the archives – Heading Towards Home by Martin Willitts Jr.

Heading Towards Home

The distance heads towards a small village
of post card, white clapboard houses,
where pale-green pastures level off
before another hill begins. The sky is waiting
for the rain to arrive, and dampness enters
the bones. A bird is nowhere, wherever wind is.

Heading this way is a van, pulled over,
its engine ticked off, cooling. A family is eating
lunch, while a man checks the map to see
the answer to every child’s question:
are we there yet? He’s not sure where they are.
Perhaps, they missed the turn. His wife is angry.
They should have turned right long time ago
but he was too lazy to ask questions, or
he said too many times he trusted his instincts.
The wind did not bring them here.

The town ahead is too small to be looking for.
Their two boys know it is time to play in mud,
while adults settle their scores. The houses
are turning on their suppertime lights.
Sheep are heard ringing in the fields, nearing,
like child’s questions. Everyone wants to know
where they are in relation to home, and crave
a familiar sight; no one wants to be in the lost.

No map tells you where you are,
but only your relationship to somewhere
if you have a familiar landscape.
And you are lost in anger, no map gets you out.

The dampness moves in. The doors of the village
open and call out to children. The sky greys
and triangle sheets of rain open like maps.
The van turns on headlights, breaks through mist
hoping someone knows where somewhere is,
while all the time the village knew where home is.

from Autumn Sky Poetry DAILY, January 27, 2017 — by Martin Willitts Jr.

photo by Christine Klocek-Lim

Snap Chat by Kathy Lundy Derengowski

Snap Chat

You took a photo and it caught me there
in faded wrinkled jeans, with uncombed hair
a slightly crooked smile and startled stare.

I would have posed, if given half a chance
remembering perhaps our old romance
the early pas de deux- the ancient dance.

But too much time has past, the years have flown
Our youth is spent, even our children grown
No record of the compromise we’ve known

So, unaware, with sunlight in my eyes
time, and the camera caught me by surprise
as when, with brief display, desire dies.

by Kathy Lundy Derengowski

Editor’s Note: The sleek use of rhyme in this poem makes this poem deceptively easy to read, but the narrative is anything but.

Falling Into Theory by John Calvin Hughes

Falling Into Theory

I have not yet assigned a cause to gravity. —Isaac Newton

Medieval physicists thought gravity
was love. They catalogued it attraction.
Gravitational attraction. That every entity,
man and thing, man-thing, just drafty fractions
and, loosed, would seek the earth their own.
Oh, how the spoon rushes into the arms
Of the beloved when fumbled. All seeking home.
All fall down. Hold us, great mass, from every harm.

A step, a stumble, down, ow, a knee,
an elbow, pow, a pop, a ligament,
a slippery staircase of concrete and steel,
unforgiving as an old lover’s heart
that you busted up pretty good, yeah you.
And now you’re gravity’s fool falling for true.

by John Calvin Hughes

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Editor’s Note: This sonnet’s complex repetitions lull the reader into its mysteries.

Vintage verse – The Glory of the Day Was in Her Face by James Weldon Johnson

The Glory of the Day Was in Her Face

The glory of the day was in her face,
The beauty of the night was in her eyes.
And over all her loveliness, the grace
Of Morning blushing in the early skies.

And in her voice, the calling of the dove;
Like music of a sweet, melodious part.
And in her smile, the breaking light of love;
And all the gentle virtues in her heart.

And now the glorious day, the beauteous night,
The birds that signal to their mates at dawn,
To my dull ears, to my tear-blinded sight
Are one with all the dead, since she is gone.

by James Weldon Johnson (1871-1938)

Photo by Christine Klocek-Lim

Finn’s Acres by Jean L. Kreiling

Finn’s Acres
for Suzanne and Ed

A flash of black and white across the green
of six a.m. Maine meadow—flying fur,
a mighty heart, a nose for prey unseen,
an eye for playthings tossed—Finn’s always sure
to catch the disc that sails across his lawn,
to catch the sunlight in his glossy coat,
to catch and so to share whatever dawn
might promise, in his flight the antidote
to vague human complaints. He runs a race
he always wins, past drifts of Russian sage,
beyond the trellised grapes; he owns the place,
and us as well, demanding we engage
with earth and atmosphere and things that fly.
Our hearts rise with his, happy to comply.

by Jean L. Kreiling

Editor’s Note: As always, this poet’s easy grasp of the sonnet form supports the central theme—Finn. This poem explains why we love our pets.

Vintage verse – Lines Composed in a Wood on a Windy Day by Anne Brontë

Lines Composed in a Wood on a Windy Day

My soul is awakened, my spirit is soaring
. . . .And carried aloft on the winds of the breeze;
For above and around me the wild wind is roaring,
. . . .Arousing to rapture the earth and the seas.

The long withered grass in the sunshine is glancing,
. . . .The bare trees are tossing their branches on high;
The dead leaves beneath them are merrily dancing,
. . . .The white clouds are scudding across the blue sky.

I wish I could see how the ocean is lashing
. . . .The foam of its billows to whirlwinds of spray;
I wish I could see how its proud waves are dashing,
. . . .And hear the wild roar of their thunder to-day!

by Anne Brontë (1820-1849)

Photo by Christine Klocek-Lim