I heard the cry of birds – chickadees
Calling chickadee dee dee
From a tree branch near my back door.
It mattered not to them that every other limb
Wore thick white tufts of snow and ice;
That the air outside was minus ten degrees celcius
Or that the weather forecasters had proclaimed
A major chance of freezing rain to shelter from
Coming within a matter of hours.
What, it seemed to me, the birds did care about
Was that the sun in the sky seemed just a little warmer
Than it had been, and that somewhere in their avian brains
They knew that snow or not, the sap was beginning to run
And that meant old seeds to pick and leaf buds to nibble
Or maybe small insects were beginning to stir in otherwise cold
I stood and stared in that cold open door
While I waited for our nonchalant puppy
To finish bounding in snow banks,
A huge lump of black sinking into not so pristine white
My toes turning cold and just listening to
The sweet sounds of these first harbingers of spring.
When the winter’s snow fell and the ground froze
And these little birds went wherever they go at that time
The world was a rather different place.
They wouldn’t know that banks collapsed next door
And jobs were being lost in the thousands
And that interest rates and gas prices fell
Or that seniors saw their retirement funds vanish
And others their entire fortunes disappear
And I don’t think they’d really understand
The importance of a Democrat, the first black man
Becoming President of our neighboring country
Or know that the busses in our neighboring city went on strike
For 52 days. People walked, or drove, and would have envied them
Their ability to fly had they been around then.
Not that little wild birds care about such things.
No, they care about the length of the daylight and
The strength of the sun’s rays on feathered wings
They care about seeds hanging from branches
And twigs and bits of string with which to build a nest
And what would be the safest spot to construct
Away from the prying paws of squirrels and dare I say it
Cats, my own sweet housecats fearsome
Feline hunters when faced by something small.
Regardless, I watch these two wee birds hopping gently from
Branch to branch and marvel at their agility
And ability to remind me
That no matter what
The cold will pass, the sun will warm the earth
Flowers will bloom and grass will grow
Laughter and the sounds of life will soon enough
Fill the once frozen air
Irrespective of portfolios and General Motors
Uninhibited by reluctant bankers and layoff notices.
As it should be.
Catherine M. Harris
(c) February 16, 2009
This also appears on Helium at: http://www.helium.com/items/1343294-chickadees-winter-birds-coming-of-spring
Dad, you and I
Were partners in crime
Never quite what others expected
Even as daughter and father
But that was fine with me.
You were that handsome
Witty and cavalier man
How the world loved you for that
So did I
And yet such wanton ways
Lead to your leaving us
I told you once
Just be my friend
Don’t try to be my father
This meant the world to me
You being you and me as I was
I knew you better, I think
Than people who
Shook their heads in disbelief
Who chose to believe other things
But us, we were the best of friends
At a time when it mattered most
And now that all is said and done
What matters most to me
Is how very much you loved me
Daughter, friend, whatever
I could confide in you
And you in me
As time passes on dad
I miss you
In ways more than words can ever say.
I believe in curled up cats
And black dogs dusted white by
Fresh fallen snow.
I believe that if I listen hard enough
You will hear me in your heart
And if the wind blows cold
Memory burns hot.
I believe that there is hope
And tomorrow will be better
And if it’s difficult right now
The tide will turn our way, someday.
I believe some words are
And unspoken sentiments
Are often the loudest sounds of all.
I believe in the the best of people
That beauty lies within
And souls shine brightest
In the dark of night.
But most of all,
In spite of it all,
I dream of horses standing eyes blinkered
Standing on platforms and looking bewildered
I don’t know what it means
I know how it feels
I am standing on precarious platforms
Blinded for finding the answers
The drivers are missing
Who would have thought
My answers would turn into problems
Not of my doing
I’m not a little bit scared
I don’t want to look
At what just might happen
If those who took my helping hand
Don’t realize soon
They are dragging us with them
Down a very dry well
We don’t deserve it
Doesn’t the universe
Reward those who help others?
I don’t want to be angry
But I am
I don’t want to worry my love
But I do
Cause it’s so hard to find the solutions
To problems that shouldn’t be mine
The horse is biting at the bit
To race beyond the gate
If only I could take these
Step off the platform
And run free.
(c) Catherine M. Harris, June 16, 2008
Tell me softly what you mean
I don’t know I heard you
Through all the words spoken
The ones unspoken thundered
It isn’t right to be remembering
Stuff I’d long thought buried
There’s times (at my age)
Looking back I can’t believe
I can’t see my long ago friend smile anymore
Or hear his voice –
I can’t believe that those rocking chair hours
Are over and
Baby drinks vodka
Though I’m not supposed to know it.
I can’t believe I’m not
That beautiful girl who was too
What? Shy? Insecure? To realise
How goddamn good I had it
I laugh now thinking back
I realize the missed chances
And wonder do they wonder
Or am I just fanciful
Stupid, doesn’t matter
I’m not that anymore
That was just what
Could have been.
I think of things that
Let me down, so so many
And when I thought oh I can do this
Wait no I can’t I can’t I can’t
And do you ever wish
You’d done something differently
Not done something?
Do you ever dream of
All that should have been?
Ah hell, who knows
The cliche is at my time
I need a red sports car
I’m not old enough for the
Purple hat and thanks for that
I feel like I did when I was 17
The world was just too large
I couldn’t decide there were
Constraints and experts
Quick to tell me all I couldn’t do
I just wish that someone would say
Oh yes you can
And you can
I believe in you.
I’m tired of tears
And goodbyes and just fading away
And trying to forget while
Trying to remember
I’m just tired.
So make me laugh
There’s more than enough to
Make me cry
Make me sing
Make me look forward to everything
Cause damn, there’s so much more
I need to remember
All that can be,
There’s so much more to come.
(c) Catherine M. Harris 13/5/2008