Bach for Birds (A Mildly Irreverent Arrangement)

I’m probably going to end up being haunted by the glowering ghost of Bach for this one, but then – how cool would that be? Ha!

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squelchy Monday

today I would trade my squelchy shoes
and sodden self for warm dogs
and ticking radiators, steaming mugs
of freshly brewed, nearly obscenely
creamed coffee – there’s even, I think,
a donut on the kitchen counter
with my name on it saying stay in!

but instead it’s frizzled hair,
unending responsibilities, and rain
that managed to drip everywhere

© Sarah Whiteley

Squelchy Mondays are the worst.

counting the dead

a woman at work innocently asked
and where’s your other brother?

even after ten years I often cannot
bring myself to say he’s dead

so I said Minnesota instead,
which I think he’s probably laughing about

wherever he is or isn’t

saying now that I have one brother
feels false as soon as the words are formed

so there must be a way of counting the dead –
but until I find a math that works,

I have two – although one of them currently
is unreachable somewhere in Minnesota

© Sarah Whiteley

I really did say “Minnesota” though I don’t know what possessed me at the time. And he would be laughing over it, which makes me smile. But I still never know whether to say I have two brothers or one.

channeling the crazy crow woman

how must I look – this graying
Botticelli who walks with crows
in a constant spray of black cawings,
a dark-feathered wind I would not dispel

one is for Sorrow, two is for Mirth,
and the bursting laughter of those first
brought the flock that now follows glossily,
seeking tidbits from one who says “well hello”

but oh, how the superstitious must
inwardly flinch (irrational reflex!)
and it’s funny to me how a feather can
so clearly draw a divide between them and me

pshaw! and caw! to all of you fragile-minded
things – flightier even than crows –
they are a gift the same as my mad curls and I
will revel in them both for as long as life allows

© Sarah Whiteley

My mom insists that I ought to write and illustrate a children’s book about the crows that have adopted me. Truth be told, I’d already had a few half-formed thoughts about that before she mentioned it. Trouble is I’m an impatient sort of artist – I want to feel the immense satisfaction of completion before I’ve put the proper amount of effort into it I think. The result of course is sloppy art. Ha! One of these days I’ll put down a few sketches and see if I can muster the enthusiasm for such a project.

In the meantime, I do sometimes wonder what sorts of thoughts are going through the minds of the people who have given me odd (or yes, even shocked) looks when walking by the entourage that is me, two dogs, and anywhere from 2-12 crows (depending on time of year).

thief and begger

darn crow stole my lighter
– my only one –
and tossed it into the bushes!

now bobbing head and ingratiating
croons his desire for treats
– the black-feathered cheek! –

but for the next hour, I watch
him tuck them carefully beneath stones,
treats now, treasure later

© Sarah Whiteley

I figure it’s about time for a crow update. Head on over if you’re curious about the cheeky little things…