just hum

November blows in
bearing a hundred
different songs
about her wind,

leaving one ditty
to rattle and drum
upon the limbs
of the locust

you know this one,
I tell myself,
if you’ve forgotten
the words, just hum

© Sarah Whiteley

November is upon us, and I’m not quite sure what happened to September and October. But then I suppose a crazy schedule will do that to a person and before you know it, days and whole weeks slip away without a leaving any impression at all other than a chaotic blur.

Things have calmed down a bit for me finally and I am determined to get back to the habit (and pleasure) of writing. For the month of November, I am tasking myself with drafting at least one poem a day. Many of these won’t be posted – they’ll be put aside to be tweaked later with the intention of compiling them into a new manuscript. But it feels good to set my mind to a creative task. One that will leave an impression and will keep the days from slipping by without remark.

And one of these days, I’ll post an update about the crows. They’re gathering their numbers for the winter roost, so I will at least try first to capture a quick video of them tagging along for an autumn walk with the dogs (which always turns heads in the neighborhood).

Happy November to all!

crow funeral

this morning, I am the attendee
of another crow funeral

the fourth such curated cacophony
close followed by hushful reverence

yet this is only something eventual
finally becoming true

while elsewhere, the crickets
rasp hymns to the rain

© Sarah Whiteley

Anyone who has followed this poetry blog for any length of time knows that I have been accepted by a very special family of crows. For the past 9 years, they have been clownish companions who visit me on the porch, caw through my window to get my attention, introduce their young to me, and tag along on walks with the dogs. I have had to warn any dog sitters coming in that the crows recognize my dogs and will want to walk with them even when I’m not there. I have been entertained, enchanted, and delighted by them – even when they steal my lighter and drop chicken bones on my head (I think that’s a gift?).

This morning the family lost one of this year’s young – hit by a car while I was on my way to work. This is the fourth crow funeral I have witnessed, but the first I have seen from start to finish. While I would have much preferred to have a different start to my Friday, it at the very least serves as a reminder that animals are as capable of close connection and of mourning as we are.

uproarious – excerpt from Wandering Wonderful

to say that a landscape
can never be clamorous

disregards the wild
hearts within it,

forgets the crows
and casts no winds

an outlook is only
sometimes peaceful,

and mostly uproarious

© Sarah Whiteley

My newest chapbook Wandering Wonderful is now available for pre-order from Finishing Line Press. Pre-orders through March 22nd will have an opportunity to win a canvas print of the cover art. Click for details!

June crows

four crows in the June grass
watch me watching them
from my bright blanket,
while the fifth plucks sprigs
of blooms from the chestnut

an all-at-once wind teases
white petals into yellow light –
a sudden floral flotilla
and the fifth crow flies with one,
two, three sprouted sprigs

and I from my bright blanket
reaching into the world –
admiring the petals,
yet never wondering
who the bouquet is for

© Sarah Whiteley

reading Milosz on the porch in March

it must be March –

this morning
the quince blooms
and two crows
sit on the porch rail
trading gentle preenings
between them,
beside me,
while I am sipping
rapidly cooling coffee
and reading
my tattered Milosz,
thinking about how even black
might just be luminous
when embodied by feathers
and emboldened thus
by the merest blink
of gathering Spring

© Sarah Whiteley

April windstorm

the winds that rushed in yesterday
to strip branches of their blooms
flipped trash can lids, sent them
spinning down the street,

cast crows into chaotic aeronautics
and sent all songbirds deep
into their shrubbed shelters

but today, they come out singing
blithely tumbling between trees,
the sidewalks surprised by pink –
awash in piles of petals

© Sarah Whiteley

extra cinnamon

startled stranger,
you may be wondering
how it is that quite suddenly
what very much appears to be
nothing other than a slightly misshapen
pumpkin (yes, take a gentle whiff) pancake
has turned up, or rather fallen, onto the stiff
blue wool shoulder of your winter coat

it’s just that
the crows were hungry
and your raucously loud
barreling-around-the-corner
cell phone conversation disturbed
Charlie (the one scolding you) Crow,
causing her to drop her treasured breakfast
onto the unfortunate shoulder of your winter coat

I added extra cinnamon

© Sarah Whiteley