Tag Archives: spring

HOUSE FINCHES





He waits upon the beam

that holds the rafters up,

dry weed in his beak.

He chirps incessantly

as she constructs a nest

with what he brings her.

He seems to have forgotten

the ear-piercing love songs

from her red-breasted suitors

prancing on the railing

now that he has a partner

to get the real work done.

SOMEHOW, STILL LIVING





                        Swirl of savage sunsets,

                        Swirl of the dead

                        Somehow, still living.

                                    – Adrian Louis (“Degrees of Drought”)

Bribed with little water,

we have enticed Redbuds

to brighten our gardens

with cardinal colors

regardless of rainfall

before they leave

green hearts in spring.

Even the bare hills

sigh and grin relieved

for the living, love us

for our generous nature

that keeps the wild alive

and close to our swirling 

yearnings satisfied.

LAST CHANCE


Another round of Blue Oak

from the limb droughts have cured

to fall with a crash in the yard—

after the calves were marked

and friends were fed and gone,

you and I and a bottle of wine

before the fire we cooked upon

waiting for the pillowed clouds

to collect and turn dark gray—

our forecast rain.  Tough filaree

looks like the dirt it’s hanging on,

leaves red and brown and in between—

last chance for feed this spring.

One wonders why we do this

to become the grass we need.

FACING THE MUSIC

 

 

Blessed are we with the diversions
of spring in bloom: colored orchestrations
of multisyllabic assonance rhyming

with short-clipped awe: an ever-changing tune
that steals the senses midst tumultuous times.
Blessed are we to be alive with work to do.

Always the War to measure the world by:
patriotic hawks enlisting reluctant doves
as fodder that shocked us into an explosion

of lyrics and melodies—an awakening
for music, a renaissance for humanity
we pray may come this way again soon.

 

MEANWHILE BACK AT THE RANCH

 

 

The rafters rain with dry debris of nests
under construction, as finches dance
with crimson breasts upon the railing

crooning springtime love songs.
Hillsides splashed with islands
of Golden Poppies burn together

engulfing green, white skiffs claim
the flats with gilded fiddleneck as
the tender and translucent leaves

of oaks test unsettled weather
gusting within all living flesh
flushed with a mix of urgency and awe.

Killdeer claim the gravel drive, guard
speckled eggs that look like granite
as the crow pair cruise the layered

limbs of trees for homes, their own
secreted away in canyon Blue Oaks
as burnished eagles sweep the grasses

at feeding time—a great and brutal cry
fills the eyes as this troubled earth
awakens with unrelenting passion.

 

FEELING APRIL

 

 

From creek to ridge alive with spring,
churned and feathered urgencies abloom,
from pink to purple petals opening

to the sky, to its great white ships
passing after a sunlit shower’s rainbow.
Perfumes stirred inhaled, this canyon’s

air is shared with two golden eagles
hunting for hungry hatchlings high
in granite outcrops, sailing low

to snag sunning ground squirrels
more frequently now, imagining
young yellow beaks in sticks

open to the sky. It is the beginning
of the end, the ripening of the seed—
the dramatic performance of scripts

with fresh actors little changed
in my life, in my flesh—dependable
feelings somewhat akin to love.

 

APRIL’S DRUM

 

 

‘On the make,’ my mother’d say
of springtime sojourns, the lone tom
between gobbles of rafters a strut,

the fan and drag as damp earth warms
to steam the green to flower skiffs of color,
to dress the oaks in tender iridescence

while finches softly fall aflitter, giddy
with the fun of it stirred within the air
we breathe, inhale into our flesh.

Like quail paired, couples nested
near the creek in the old days, empty
cars parked along this quiet road

like Do Not Disturb signs, lovers drawn
by April’s pounding drum to taste the wild
just beyond the sagging barbed wire.

 

THIS TIME

 

 

Upon redbud bloom, the earth
awakens, windblown pollen
stirs the flesh anew, colored

petals dress the drab decay
of summer’s dehydration
brightly, bring bees to work

and birds to play
house, raise young families
and sing—it is this time.

 

REDWINGS

 

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In the cattails, long leaves
like a thatch of swords
after a war, hem the water in—

veil the mud hens putzing
close to shore where bullfrogs
freeze in the sun

waiting for something good
to come along this irrigation pond
trying to go wild. I have come

to love their god-awful birdsong
like rusty hinges on a pipe gate
yodeling in the tight places,

musical cascades turned loose
to lyrics I still don’t understand.
I say I think they’re courting

because its spring, because
you and I have stopped
to watch them sing.

 

Gallery

McKee Branding 2016

This gallery contains 14 photos.