By the time we realize how much there is to learn in this big world, the time for learning is nearly over.

•February 12, 2015 • Leave a Comment

swallow2hummingbirdCayucas and Misc 014
A hummingbird zooms
one can hardly follow it
quick flower sipper

A mating call
slam bam thank you ma’am
always a race

Behind binoculars
birders sigh in frustration
what’s the darn hurry

Contemplating flight
wings over splashing water
reflections about time

Pair of Eagle Poems

•February 12, 2015 • Leave a Comment


Bald Eagles at Cherryvale
Learning from eagles, studying the pair
nesting in a cottonwood tree.

Modest eagles had no idea
they were causing such a stir

sitting motionless
within their own silhouettes.

Yet, people were driving in the heavy snow
to get a glimpse of them,

parking their cars
by the side of the road,

standing in the blizzard
shivering in the cold

to watch these birds be,
until their own caps turned white.


How Far the Magnificent Allow Themselves to Fall
“A living fierce gyrating wheel.” Walt Whitman

As I walk, I hear the rotating earth catching
at each turn, echoing almost as if it is out of breath.

On the horizon, a pair of eagles spin together,
heedless of gravity or anything except each other.

They have flown to a dizzying height and allow
themselves to fall tumbling, clutching talons

ignoring earth until the last second as
they release and begin ascending again

in cloudless flight, freefalling in complete trust.
I watch the aerial acrobatics with envy,

experiencing humbling transcendence
at what cannot save me but still does.

Cayucas and Misc 199

A Crow Also Rises as Lazerus

•February 12, 2015 • Leave a Comment

“If men had wings and bore black feathers, few of them
would be clever enough to be crows.”

Was it a day like any other,
an island day,
a day of grey or sunlight,
water splashing over licorice stone,
obsidian smoothed by time,

when all Bangai Crows
rose from the dead
like Lazarus
on Peleng Island
Sulawesi, Indonesia?

Gone since 1900,
found in 2007
by shy or boisterous biologists,
did the trees glitter
with iridescent flashes

of feather, loud cawing
or fluttering of wings
as anxious ornithologists
looked though
field glasses?

Birding is a matter
of keen eyes,
of discerning ears
of quickly turning heads
to catch images of body or bill.

What a burgundy wine
celebration it is, rediscovering,
bringing back news of a species,
for those who concern
themselves with knowledge,

with the fate of earth,
not sunk somewhere
in a tired motorcar or boat,
in deep ignorance or denial,
but instead, face the rebirth

the rebuilding sight on,
just back from the brink.
A species not yet extinct,
can enjoy small miracles,
knowing those of timing,

sometimes in our hands,
sometimes not,
feeling pride of discovery,
of scientific diligence,
owning some humility

(as humble as any crow
would be in finding us)
and in matters of defeating
death, one must leap or fly
concurrently with looking.

Synchronized Swimmers

•February 12, 2015 • Leave a Comment

4518 Wow! they have long beaks

First there is a sky so laden
with feathery cumulus clouds
that it threatens to burst open.

Then a few clouds descend
into the water like lace paper kites
creating shadows above

water. Another glides in
and another until the sky
and lake are inverted

in an unsilence of landing,
a communion of unbroken
grace beneath early sun.

Twenty five white pelicans
have landed on Walden Ponds.
They waterglide in unison,

in an ancient gracedance delicate as
snowfall. Slowly these featherboats
pattern into a circle, floating like lotus

flowers, supporting precise instrument bills,
some showing bright orange breeding spots.
White suited synchronized swimmers

tighten the circle, and all at once
dive underwater together, tails in air
to remain for minutes scooping up

all the fishes they earlier herded
into the lakes center. A few lucky
escaped rainbows thrash whiplike

in shallow water, jumping near shore
while the rest are swallowed and the pelicans
resurface altogether to breathe and rest,

repeating the spectacle many times until they
have eaten their fill, then light up the lake purple
in twilight candles as they fly off at sunset.

Cayucas and Misc 333

The Couple in This Photograph

•February 10, 2015 • Leave a Comment

(Approaching Valentine’s Day)

If you ever forget that we got married,
I will show you our wedding photograph.
Thirty nine years to the day and counting
breaths and fights and farts and laughs.

I will remind you of two strangers
standing there wearing white.
Smooth handed glossy haired
taut skinned shiny eyed toothpaste

smiling what an ad.

How many cells have sloughed off,
have fallen with stardust
to be replaced with now?

Today we confront mirrors reluctantly
with fragile limbs achy voices wavering
wrinkly faces. This picture we stare at
reminds us again and again how short life is.

When I touch you, can you recall
The hands that didn’t quite know
what they were doing but it didn’t matter?

Now I read your body like the strings
on my guitar playing the chords
of a love song sung in the dark.

Listen to the songs of endurance,
love soothing drumming music
on your body as fading light
quietly settles in our hair.


November to March in Nipomo

•February 21, 2014 • Leave a Comment

Cornflake covered limbs

   dripping with dry flecks

       ready for flight

Red haired witches

   dance in golden taffeta

     before combusting

Trees burning copper

   with clouds raining pennies

      lift from treetops

Crawling corn snakes

   Ignite fountains of honey

     in amber clusters

Several red foxes

   twist before settling down

     waggling their tails

A quiet flame

   rests as it breathes

       living exhalations

Fire lair breathing

   The dragon flies then lands

      silently as lair

A redtipped brush

   paints Eucalyptus leaves gold

       Monarch butterflies



Midnight Song in the Morning

•February 20, 2014 • Leave a Comment

Mourning Dove

Feather rose

sing of love.


Greying ash




Crying bird

hidden deep

in your nest.


Grieve your fill

through the night

then fly on.

mourning dove