an actual murder (20220415)

not many crows in the woods
ravens, yes, plenty of them
gliding overhead and honking their horns
the big black cadillacs of the sky

usually the crows
stay in town
or the edge of town
where they can grab
unattended lunches
discarded bread
anything edible that isn't nailed down

theses woods are
almost wetland
just a thrown stone's distance
from the sea

it is a surprise to see so many
an actual murder
raising a ruckus
and then we see why
a horned owl perched on
a low branch

they surround him
cawing insults and warnings
and when he flies on silent wings,
they ensure his exit is as noisy
as they can make it

Poem 20151231

signs and portents on
viewing an owl in flight
and stationary in a tree
and again in flight
on the last night of the year

the owl, athena’s friend
and harbinger of eternal night,
paused in her flight long enough
for us to view her in a tree

tawny and silent she watched us
and allowed us to approach her tree
while holding her in the beam
of a flashlight

and then she flew again
wings silent
all we could hear were the sounds
of nearby freeway traffic
so much like unceasing waves

the day before we had seen
five hawks
sentinels on lamp posts
lining the road during a drive
and counted ourselves lucky
–a five-hawk day

but what does this night predator
so beautiful and silent
caught for a moment in her flight
in the white artificial light
in my hand
portend for the year ahead?