Saturday, September 25, 2010

Bits of Me

It's turned cooler this close to October
and all of the hummingbirds, the Rufous,
the tiny Calliope, even the Black-chinned ones
have chartered flights for warmer climes,
southern getaways as it were - all the way
to Mexico. It's probably my advancing age,
but I sense (or wish) they've gathered up bits
of me like they do nesting material and taken wing,
retracing the route back to where their
hearts began. I envision them musically, like
thousands of precious notes strung out for mile
on end, playing on the breeze as flutes and piccolos
strains of Tchaikovsky's "Sleeping Beauty Waltz".
Or could it be a vague wanderlust resurfacing,
the drifter's instinct I apparently inherited from
my father who once hopped trains, a tendency
I abandoned while still a young man after having
been battered around and wounded emotionally
in my carousing and left totally disheartened.
Whatever the source of the longing I'm feeling now,
it's strange how I miss the continual visits by those
diminutive birds as close and very dear friends,
suddenly having disappeared without word.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

on mating for life

A mourning dove dead in the grass,

its tawny wings clasped rigid, prayer-like

and I realize with surprise the sadness I feel.

Its once darting, discerning eyes are being

swarmed by ants, eyes now shriveled and

as sightless as gauzy windows no longer

capable of seeing the world. I've heard

doves mate for life. Perhaps that's where the

greater part of this sadness lies. I wonder -

am I to be this dove, or is it to be my wife,

the first to die and leave a mourning mate?

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Sweet Journey

She stares into her canvas, drawing
to her brush a blood-red droplet
of paint for another flower, her hands

delicate, as diaphanous as the wings
of a white butterfly, with blue veins
running lace-like a precious pattern

from her thin fingers to her heart.
She knew she was terminal, but
death was uncharacteristically

slow in fulfilling itself, as she sought
week by week to finish her painting,
not a masterpiece, she would say, but

a sweet journey of the heart, as if
retracing a memory-strewn passage
back to her beginning. She paused

at times in her wanderings along the
sunlit, fragrant path of that canvas, too ill
to crawl from her bed, or encountering

the world from a hospital window,
the shadows of her death intensifying.
The last time she painted with me

she seemed to be telling me her death
was near, and thanked God for the years
allotted her. She died several days later,

her canvas, her life, largely incomplete
but her true journey now underway.

(For Dorothy - missing you)