Diving in

Hollow Place

They are quiet now, the cheep-cheep-cheeps.
They once pipped in earnest when we sounded
like starlings, scrambled to them. Mother or Dad
bird nervous in a nearby tree, worm dangling
from their beak, anxious to drop their load,
go back for more.

We debated their exact location in the old apple:
center of the tree’s gone dead, but you can’t tell
from the blossomed branches pruned tight.
High at the broken crown, or low at the crotch?
We listened close then stuffed white rags in the holes
we could reach.

Don’t be startled by this murder. The birds are
alien, impostors. They steal homes from ones we love
and resist all manner of yelling at them from opened
windows: Out! Out! Get away! Save the seed
for the good birds!
We are tribal masters
declaring our territory
thus and so.

/ / /

It’s a start on something I want to work out, how it’s okay to kill some things, but not others. Thought to add something of bin Laden in this, but decided not to.


15 thoughts on “Diving in

  1. Oh, I am delighted to see this! A poem in our kettle!!

    My immediate reaction to the infamous death in the news was relief and yet I judged those who were partying in the streets. For me, there is something about duality of emotion in these kinds of matters. And I’d love to write about it.

    You have picked an excellent metaphor and terrific words: tribe and territory. And I love “Don’t be startled by this murder.” Very timely indeed. And thought-provoking.

    • A poem! A poem! No matter for good or bad, a poem! 🙂

      I had a similar reaction to the death. It was/is complicated business. I found my public voice being one of gladness, though, and didn’t want to “out” my other feelings. And now I feel so disingenuous.

      The story about starlings is also true. And in telling a friend about it one morning last week I didn’t get to the killing part, because she did the “aw, cute” before I could get to it. So the stories have morphed into one, for me, strangely.

      Good morning!

  2. Yes, strong feelings in this scene to confront, but I also feel that gentle hand to approach. Took me several reads, letting the roots come to speak, yet maybe some are the volumes not yet said (could be anything!).

    We trade life for life, even learning (you think?). One way or another way someone (something) pays that price. This reminds me 1) in phrase, like an old snake bite kit, each sentence meant to calm the thoughts, and 2) two birds I might write about, a child’s education in life(death) as it were, but not ready yet.

    This poem is “personal”, and I’d think too, would be more remote if you’d included the over-charged current events. More than a good beginning.

    • I always love your insights, Neil. And I think writing a poem as a snake bite kit instruction is intriguing. Absolutely smitten with that idea, am I.

      I’d like to read your bird poem.

      Thanks for your enthusiasm for our new little venture & this poem. 🙂

      • Cool. Go for it Deb! Don’t we (me) wish relationships came with a little neatly folded instruction page. “Please relax, hardly anyone ever suffers any serious injury from a relationship… “ 🙂

        We’ll see about the birds. I still remember/feel some shame about that lesson learned. (Probably just the more reason to write that one.)

        I adore what you guys are doing here.

  3. Thanks, Neil!

    About the shame thing. Thank you for the reminder. I wrote some stuff last year specifically from a point of shame. I had wanted to go deep, be vulnerable, and shame is a perfect vehicle to do that. Frightening, yes. Hugely so. And perhaps not everything written is good/suitable for public view (for others or me), but it was important for me to go deeper. And I still need/want to do that.

    Good luck with that. Truly.

    • Thank you Deb! Very much.

      It is interesting to observe shame come to the front, then take a back seat to more productive expression. (Although I understand what you say, wouldn’t suggest just blurting out anything, anywhere. But I think we know the difference, what’s alright, what’s not, to say.)

      And maybe Deb it’s not so much “going deep” but taking something that is, and bringing it to the surface, into better light. Maybe it’s not so fierce after all? In any case, my thanks to you and here’s my result,
      round eyes like windows are

  4. I so loved this ! though i admit i had a completely different story in my head when i was reading this .. the comments were enlightening !!

    congrats for this new place 🙂

    Add em to the blogroll too !
    Hope to Hop back here soon !!
    I will so miss BTP !!

  5. I don’t know if we are supposed to write along…but I did.

    Diving In
    Getting the feet wet
    Unseasonably cold
    Chilled to the bone
    Collecting more bones
    Whispering secrets
    Finding clues

    Waiting for the new day
    The sun to rise above
    The mountains
    The scene before me glorious
    Incredible blue fills the air
    Sage brush like water
    Rolls endlessly forever
    Tiny forest
    Home of quiet tiny things
    Lizards, horny toads, snakes, spiders
    Coyote the same height
    Lost from view
    Follows the day
    Invisible path
    Yet right beside you

    No regrets
    Diving in
    Making history
    On this day
    With all that is new

  6. Murder with “white rags” – that detail got to me – and “Save the seed / for the good birds!” As we all know, the perception of good is open to interpretation; one person’s good is not good for another. Thank you for this; it has stirred up a couple of ideas in my head.


  7. Pingback: Carolee | June 28 | A FINE KETTLE OF FISH

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