the raccoons

that silver morning at Shi Shi,
the chill we rose to a mere shade
of the deeper cold to come

we’d had visitors in the night,
our tents encircled by prints –
two sets surveying our strangeness

then breaking away to wander
to the edge of the sea,
twining in close loops together

we followed with our coffee
trailing steam from our mugs –
careful not to efface the evidence

© Sarah Whiteley

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!

procrastination

sometimes the light is perfect
in the way it drapes itself
across the day – as it is now,
this morning in late October

and you find that you must pause
in getting up to go in
to a waiting chorus of chores
though the front step is cold
and has grown harder than remembered

you try to delay the mundane –
the rinsing out of the favorite mug,
the sweeping up of the dust
that returns so doggedly to old corners,

and you wait for the light to shift
into something more ordinary,
more suitable for the junk drawer
calling out for a straightening –
to be set somehow aright

© Sarah Whiteley

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.