What the Seagull Said

You think you had a bad day? the seagull said.  Try walking a mile on these feet with an injured wing.

While you get to have a sandwich and busy yourself with your life of a million unimportant things, I have to stand in the wind and watch the coastline, listening to the endless silence of my own hunger.  All I know is survival, how to stand guard against death, and capture what small pleasures I can, when I can.

The poets can make their lofty comparisons all day long, but we are not the same.




While admiring eastern pines

this morning, I paused

to marvel at my heart

for knowing how to beat.


I watched the red bird prince

briskly hopping

along branches of holly,

eager to claim the berries

of color and liveliness

equal to his own.


He had a tiny snow-cap

atop his head, and behaved

like such a gentleman

that I sensed less betrayal

in the world,

and in myself

a trifle of harmony.


Like a moment spent singing,

the sighting exalted me,

bringing me tidings

of gladness and goodness,

as if he were

a little winged St. Nicholas.


A Great Many Sparrows

You know there are a great many sparrows in a tree when your view of the tree itself has been almost completely obscured by the birds.

There are three ways to see these birds as they leave the tree in the morning, a single entity swirling up and away, as if together they made a rippling embroidered cloak worn by the night as it turns on its heels and marches away.

The first way is to be hardly aware of them at all, wrapped up in whatever it is you’re doing, or give them a sideways glance.

The second way is to see them, finding your attention momentarily captured by a spark of wonderment before your attention shifts away.

The third way is to be transformed by this thing you are witnessing, pulled by your transfixed gaze from your own body for a moment, a part of you taking to the air in the same way the birds do, following them with your close attention until the last black speck has vanished altogether.