Oddments

In search of story


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April 1.23: Coping, but barely

For me it isn’t every day

I get to see a duck ballet;

other ducks flock by the millioms

to watch the duck named Esther Williams.

 

What’s that, young reader? You never heard of her?

Look her up!

(It sounds political but it’s not.)

I needn’t say that the music was “Swan Lake.” Of course it was.

 


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March 18.23: Coping, but barely

Bold like Ozymandias

declaiming to all nations,

my species speaks in Latin

and names the constellations!

Poecile atricapillus

regarded me with disdain

atop Syringa vulgaris,

twittering this refrain:

Pfui, pfui, pfui!

(the fire was in his eye)

I can balance on a bud —

I’d like to see you try!

 


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March 14.23: Coping, but barely

In robinspeak: Look at me!

I call from minaret of tree!

Look up! I cannot wait all day

to sing my song and say my say!

Raise your eyes and tilt your head!

You’ve met your feet — look up instead!

The sky is grey and winter lingers;

wrap up tight and mitten your fingers,

or be like me and weather the weathers

by bellowing full your winter feathers.

Rise above! Stretch out your wings!

You humans are such starchy things!

I grant there’s good stuff in the dirt,

but too much looking down can hurt.

Look up and see the endless skies —

your spirit needs the exercise!

What risk to you, oh, you clay-bound,

when both your feet stay on the ground?

Dare to snub the daily strife

and defy the gravity of life!

 

Yes, dear reader, that’s what the robin said. I heard it myself.

 


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February 28.23: Coping, but barely

What is the secret to life,

to live it the way it was meant?

Where do I learn survival,

how to feel at peace and content

even in winter’s cold rain,

a calypso of needley sleet

that beats on my head sharp staccato

while ice encrusts my feet?

How do they do it, these ducks,

apparently comfy and warm,

despite the bleak and the biting

of frigid late winter storm?

Could I be as gladly oblivious

to cruelty, bloodshed and dreck

if I wore my own feather bed

and had rubber band for a neck?

Or maybe I’m mistaken,

and they are not placidly sleeping,

but seek pond solitude

 for private silent weeping.

 

And thus, dear reader, ends February. With deadly ice and alien snowfall, with roaring winds and crashing downpours and tornado sirens and mid-day darkness and — of course — more news of suffering and idiocy. I watch the ducks and wonder what they know.


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December 6.22: Coping, but barely

An ordinary window,

an ordinary day,

an ordinary glimpse,

then mental tour jeté.

A camera must be had!

Indecorous dash ensued,

then, breathless, stealthy, sly,

I engaged in conduct crude.

In blushless want of manners,

intrusive imposition,

brutally dismissive

of my need to get permission,

I zoomed in on his person,

with brain and camera focus

on this feathered fisherman

and his wintry bare-branched locus.

He appeared a bit put out

at what the flower said,

which made his handsome feathers

stand up atop his head.

I wish I could have heard

but this is all I got;

I could sneak clandestine photo,

but eavesdrop I could not.

And thus the common day,

as if by magic word,

was instantly transformed

by a Merlin of a bird.

It was because of Walt Kelly’s brilliant Pogo illustrations that I knew this was a kingfisher. It was the Internet that told me it was a Belted Kingfisher. Why it isn’t a Collared Kingfisher I do not know. The Internet also told me that it is common in central Indiana. I think not. This little guy was a first for me.

I stood in the middle of my living room, far back from the window. This fine specimen was on a tree across the pond. All hail the power of the zoom!


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November 7.22: Coping, but barely

Brown birds,

brown leaves,

crackles, crumbles,

webs in eaves.

The glossy crow

in polished black

perpetual

melancholiac.

Pallid sky,

 sunlight void,

droops a greyness

ichthyoid.

Pond of slate,

grass turned rubble,

wind that moans

of toil and trouble.

The year grows weary,

needs to sleep,

gardens snuggle

in winter’s keep.

Beshawled and flanneled,

I watch the earth

beshawl itself

with color dearth.

 

 

With apologies to Shakespeare.

 


17 Comments

October 30.22: Coping, but barely

With enigmatic aspect

of jarring puce-y pinks,

they gaze into unseens,

each vacant penguin sphinx.

Contemplative and placid,

in ignoble habitat,

I seem to hear their mantra:

My kingdom for a hat!

One may quibble about puce and maintain reasonably that puce is in the eye of the beholder; however, puce is also a reference to the Puce Stamps in Walt Kelly’s Pogo. Our intrepid photographer, Bill, named the color.

Many years ago, in the times of antiquity known as The Fifties, Bill and his wife Donna were high school debate partners, and one of their warmest debates was Pogo (Bill) vs Peanuts (Donna). Rowrbazzle! vs Good Grief! I should know: I was there.

Ergo, puce penguins.

I have written before about ancient friendships, and no doubt I will again. They rule!

With thanks to photographer S.W. Berg.

and apologies to Shakespeare.