I am becoming…

flaming-leaf_sm_hppi

I am becoming
the color of fall
when it stoops
to November,

russet when it
succumbs to gray
in quiet,
unnoticed ways

until suddenly
the briar leans
bare against
the fence

bleak, wild
and forgettable

© Sarah Whiteley

Advertisements

uncommon company

coyote-img_5508

uncommon company

comes cawing

-purple gracing black-

knocks politely

on the wood,

awaits his

morning snack

****Crow Update****

It’s been a while since I’ve done one of these and perhaps it’s overdue?

Coyote and his mate (now called Magda) had no surviving offspring from the spring’s hatch. There’s really no telling what happened but I noticed more hawks than usual in the neighborhood, so that may very well be it. Of course, we have raccoons as well, who will think nothing of eating crow eggs, or even hatchlings.

We’re headed into the gathering time for the winter roost, and so I’ve got several crows who come along on walks with the dogs currently. But the two that are most present right now are Coyote and Knock-Knock. And it has been my pleasure most weekends to spend some time sitting on the porch with both of them. Coyote especially sits quite close on the porch railing and seems to like to hold a “conversation” with me. I keep trying to capture the little chortling and deep guttural noises he makes at me on camera – he makes them from deep in his throat and actually bends his neck so that his beak is nearly on his chest when he does the gutterals. I’m determined to get that on video one of these days!

I’ve been sitting out on the porch with the laptop, getting ready for NaNoWriMo and diving headfirst into research. I’ve noticed that if I’m not paying enough attention to Coyote, he will very boldly walk up along the railing behind me and knock his beak against the wood very loudly. The first time he did it, he startled the you-know-what out of me as I hadn’t even realized he was there.

Coyote has also started to show an interest in the toys Freyja brings outside with her. Yesterday, he tugged her blue stuffed dog across the parking lot while Freyja looked on. She didn’t seem too concerned that a crow was inspecting her toy – she’s so used to them now.

I never tire of these strange “friends” and their antics. I don’t even mind the occasional loss of a swiped lighter if it means I get to continue to observe them from perhaps just a little closer than most people have the opportunity to do so.

holding on

fall leaves

listing off on my walk
the names of the trees
whose leaves are holding on
just a little too long –

what was golden now
giving way to brown,
tattered things that cling
complaining in the wind

there is an art, I think,
to holding on, to letting
go – and an impatience
for things which shouldn’t

but have lingered past
their welcome – strange
how we are perhaps more
enamored by the things

that rightly fall away
than by those that fight
another day to stay

© Sarah Whiteley

November chickadees

chickadee 20141101_123635

November chill
rusts the dogwood,
scatters the locust seeds
down the sodden street

the maple this year
shows an unusual
reluctance for red

but today gray was made
a near beautiful thing –
a frame for the darker
darts of the chickadees

in the yellow goodbye
of the chestnut tree

© Sarah Whiteley

the goodbye-ness of autumn

the goodbye-ness of autumn –
that long departure
of soft greens
into drifting golds –
flits sneakily
into the tips of trees
with its quiet reddening
before the freeze

earlier purpling skies
bring the sudden cacophonies
of starling troops
which garrison
in the horse chestnut,
starry and black
in the branches
of a yellow sun

morning walks
become gentler
meditations on dodging
fat spiders hanging
in their webs
which drape the air
between power pole
and pine

and among you walk
a gentle few who pause
with palms against
the bark

to discover if
they might sense
the exact solemn moment
the sap stills

© Sarah Whiteley

autumn’s end

the bees have succumbed to drowsiness
and the honeysuckle’s dropped,
replaced by the final asters
bowing low in blue reverence of sky

the river birches arch their yellow-graced
necks over the pond where drifts
of silver fish begin their quiet
descent to barely being

maples wait in flashing ranks,
upturned and expectant of lowering skies –
their red fingers signalling retreat
into stasis, when cooling saps no longer rise

and for now, we too forget our own restlessness –
stretching long in the last of the golden light –
hearts faint-pricked by the leaves’ moments
of letting go, watching the sun pull the light away

© Sarah Whiteley

Spending time with family in Wisconsin (and reminding myself once more why I live in a milder climate). Will catch up on reading when I return. Peace!

in memoriam – for J.

into swelling tides of feathered grasses
the swallows dive like last light
behind the foothills, purple and gray
with the bruises of another vanishing day

too many Octobers have becomingly blazed
since you and I sat on that step
with damp hair and cigarettes,
content in the sun-filtered silence

and if some days I choose to cradle my pain
close to my chest, it is only to
keep the dust from that October day
and our last shared morning

for all too soon the trees will bend
to November’s wind, piling their griefs
onto last season’s leaves, like failed birds
that lie in memoriam of warmer earths

© Sarah Whiteley

In other news, the deadline craziness is finally DONE and I can return to feeling human once more. Such a relief to shed a that particular stress and enjoy time that is once again my own!