Already we prepare for war, hang
Irish Spring in orchard trees, clear
the battlefield of weeds before

their green turns brown as the latest
batch of baby ground squirrels
watch from the granite outcrops, little

heads peering from our uphill bleachers.
We cheer the appetites of hawks,
eagles and crows, their hungry, noisy

and nested young waiting on a thatch
of twigs, open-mouthed—even
the rattlesnakes these easy swallows.

We clean the .22 and pellet gun.
There is no talk of peace, sagging
hog-wire a poor border to defend,

to hold when we’re away at work
to satisfy the costs of living where
we will always be the intruders.


6 responses to “INTRUDERS

  1. What an amazing photo, John! (I liked the poem, too.) 🙂


    Liked by 1 person

  2. Denise Withnell

    Great poem and photo John! All of us creatures must eat, but the critters that go after our fruit and vegetables DO have other dietary alternatives. Have you actually tried the Irish Spring? Ours is still in the box – it’ll be a few months before there is any sign of apples or peaches on our trees.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, my dear, ‘Irish Spring’, not to be confused with the Buena Vista’s Irish coffee, are the first two words of the 2nd line (at your suggestion). Love you!


  3. I can so relate! Must be the bane of all foothill folks – but it’s Johnny Red waiting for me. s

    Liked by 1 person

    • All the rodents did well after last year’s abundant rain as we face another hatch gathering in the rock piles to invade the garden. Of the raptors, our crow pair seems to be the most successful thinning the youngsters, the Golden Eagles the most spectacular, but we mustn’t forget the bobcats and coyotes…thankfully the ground squirrels have many mouths to fill.


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