Dine and Dash

House Finch

Once I went a-hunting
for a lovely indigo bunting.
But nary a bird did I see
until I espied in a tree —
a house finch.

A house finch peering at me!

With a grim, strong beak,
he mouthed a playful tweak,
yet refused to sing,
preferring teasing.

So I dropped my seed
along a narrow path.
Then he did a loop,
and an overhead dash,
stole some with a grunt —
and that was that.




A sentry posted at the ends of the earth
Watches the ocean on a serene day
On a railing, the seagulls perch
Facing inland or seaward
He does not know if they have a preference
But from his tower, he spreads his arms;
They are wide enough to embrace both.

Lifetime Labor

Those birds that chirrup a sweet song
Perhaps they were born with gifts
But the Mockingbird learns tune by tune
Listening to the beauty of others
Note by note he copies and twists
Until his hard work yields a repertoire
As brilliant as the colors of autumn

Birds Before Winter

Winter wrens forecast a season of snow
Maples shed their leaves as a lady does
Peeling off her layers of petticoats
On the lake, mallards drift aimlessly
Blue jays and cardinals flit eagerly;
Peanuts rattle in the birdwatcher’s hand

Central Park in the Fall

Urban squirrels fat with handouts
Lounge on limbs of light
Dappled green and yellow
Red creeps along skeletons of cambium
Woodpeckers call to mates and friends
And the feeders hang heavy with black sunflower seeds
Waiting for the winter that’s been delayed
Chickadees and juncos always arrive
Fashionably late