Birds Around the House

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Birds around the house.

Scroll down to the last of the poems for photographs of some of the local visitors.


Red-tailed Time

Light and shadow balance
on the ridgeline. A cloud tests the air
behind it and drifts away.
High in the leafless branches
where a tree disentangles itself from the sky
is a hawk whose heartbeat
is all of him that moves.
He’s wild above
the domesticated golf course grass
with a razor eye
that sees time passing
as he waits to snatch his portion
on the wing.


An owl’s silky voice
lines the morning darkness
before it turns to starlings
gathered on the power lines
along the waking street.
And when South Mountain
spreads its wings
with a rosy glow from tip
to rocky tip, it rises
and comes back down
to sip from a lantana flower,
transformed into
a Monarch balancing
on a tightrope of air.

Night Falls

A Cooper’s Hawk glides
along the day’s final sunbeam
to its roost. The night chill
follows on the tip
of his tail and constellations
sparkle in his wake. The Big Dipper
scoops a portion of mystery
from the mountain to pour
over the city surrounding it,
where light gives way to sound
and the owl’s claw
is sheathed in silence.


The roofline holds its breath.
Clouds burn at their edges
and scatter dove calls
across the early silence
when all that moves
is a jasmine scented heartbeat.

First thought on waking: something
left over from a dream,
and when it flies away
it leaves a contour
printed on the air.

In motion, he’s a moment
escaping time.

One Winter’s Dawn

The owl is done
with pulling his moonlit shadow on a string
along the wash. His calls fade
as a winter-red chill
rises behind the urban trees.
The sound is half feather,
half claw, and it repeats
until it roosts
in the world’s inner ear.
A Cooper’s Hawk from Heaven
flies down among the doves and leaves
a streak of panic in the air
just as a loose
and lazy strand of cloud snags
on the moon’s rim
when it slips behind South Mountain
while the sun ascending
drapes a roseate sheen
across it. It’s a c0ld light
that blows down the street
at year’s end, and the night’s last
coyote is resting,
ears cocked to the tilt of the wind
while he licks the taste
of stars from his lips.


Costa's Hummingbird


Rosy-faced Lovebirds

Green-tailed Towhee

Bullock's Oriole

Costa's Hummingbird