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Seagulls swoop
over the pool--wings, bellies
flash green-blue.

Note: They reflect the pool's chlorinated reflection of sky back at it.

Walking past, I sneeze:
Six sparrows explode
from the lawn.

Chirp! Chirp! the sparrows
splat sidewalks and cartops with
tiny white chirp marks.

Starlings: Peck Peck Peck...
Boing! lands the ball,
away they flap.

From that maple blows--
but it's not autumn yet...Oh!
Hello, cardinal.

Note: This is a variation on an ancient haiku gimmick: The case of mistaken identity. Apparently we haiku poets are all near-sighted, mistaking butterflies and birds for falling leaves, snakes for sticks, etc. Oh, that's right, the snake-stick goof is from an old joke.

The leaves of a whole treetop
lift off--

In the brick wall,
a sun-bleached wooden gate.
On it a sparrow.

From a bare branch,
three caws, then he spreads coattails,

Crow alights on a branch,
shaking loose
two more leaves.

Crow swoops off
with a loud caw, shaking loose
the last leaf.

Gull wings ripple the sky,
bits of loose wave
escaped into the air.

Overhead, black blips,
an endless stream, negative
Milky Way: starlings.

Morning bird cries
here...there...there... - corner
boundless space for dreams.

The cries delimit space for a listener - or half-awake hearer, cornering a space by becoming its corners.

Up flashes a red-wing blackbird,
the man-made lake.

A real red-wing blackbird rises from real reeds in a man-made lake, making it, too, real, or more real than man can make it, so no longer just man-made.

pitta pitta pitta -
from the bush a rush
of meadowlark wings.

That tiny fish
the heron spears, swallows --
is it less alive?

Just the sense of the vitality that has assimilated its energy.

The pear tree swallows
a bird and begins
to sing.

From bare branch to bare branch,
crows talk briefly.

Crows sit, speak in yips
like small dogs, but the dogs
would jump up and down.

"Barks" suggest the sound better, perhaps, but I wanted to suggest high-pitched puppy barks.

Gull turning whiter
than its
in the sun

And both were easy to lose sight of in that bright sky.

Just one seagull
over snorkeling tourists
staring at rocks.

The night is shiny
with your singing.

A branch sways
in no wind for a bird
no longer there.

A story told in absences. If there's no wind, why does the branch sway (briefly). Because of the bird. What bird? The one whose take-off stirred the branch into motion.

Even with shades down,
it's winter - crow racket,
carpet static.

Vertical lines
of rain and bare saplings
and no birds flying.

Raking last fall's leaves -
a dove circles overhead,

I'm confused too. When I wrote this, I new why the dove was confused. Now I'm not sure. I think it has to do with season. This is spring, getting leaves I missed. The dove must wonder if it's already time to migrate.

Waking to bird calls -
a design in yellow thread
edging a green quilt.

Hummingbird appears
there!...there!...there! - perhaps
the same bird.

The same bird, but appearing in such rapid blips, it's hard to tell.

From a branch
the burble of R2D2 -
a grackle!

R2D2 is the small 'droid in "Star Wars" whose voice is a burble of baby babble and bird-like whistles, of which the grackle's chatter reminded me.

Stillness after rain -
CAW of sudden crow
bursts from my brain.

The stillness had opened up a space into which I expanded, so that when a crow cawed, the noise seemed to come from inside me. When unaccustomed to filling a large space (like a yard or a continent), it is easier to explain this to oneself by feeling it comes from one's body (brain).

Sunrise. Blank grayness
ripples - a lake! Thrash from reeds...
vanished - blackbird.

Birds hopping about,
their hands in their

Sparrows skittering
cold drops
out of the bird bath.

In the grass birds
move...dip...move...dip -

Davening refers to the rhythmic bowing or head-bobbing motion of observant Jews reciting aloud or silently their prayers.

Nailed to a tree,
just the back wall
of a birdhouse.

Key West - chickens
strut the streets, brightly plumed -
they're like...birds!

Wings whip sunlight
to golden froth, settle
to the grass - pigeons.

How easily it is to dismiss their beauty once we have named them: pigeons.

When trees stand still,
bird noise reminds spring wind
that it has been there.

During heavy weather, birds stop signalling and go silent. As the wind decreases, the birds start singing, perhaps saying, "Hey! That was some wind, wasn't it? Are you guys OK? We're fine!"

I am at home here:
See - the park blue jay nags me
for sitting around.

A more obvious version, in fewer syllables:

It's just like home -- see?
The park blue jay nags me
for sitting around.

But I think I prefer the irony of feeling "at home here" because of this avian Jewish Mama.

Gray hummingbird's beak
spears blossom after blossom,
wings invisible.

Early spring. Bloated:
with each step a fart.
Overhead, wild geese.

An obvious connection? I felt my gassy stomach was providing a sound track for the distant geese, whose someone fart-like squawks I couldn't hear.

Among the reeds moves...
a reed?...Oh,
a heron!

Fog -- looking down,
the eagle is blinded
by this cloud's dazzle.

Rising above a fog, it surprises me to see that this murk is the top of a cloud, blindingly white in the sun.

Dawn; speech clouds
rise, expand. Through my words --
an arrow of geese.

These are the clouds made by breath on cold days (no wonder the geese are headed south). But they also suggest the speech balloons of comic strips.

Starling, not as near
as I'd thought, but so huge! --
no wonder: a crow.

This spring day I with my pen,
my neighbor pounding and that
lark waste time.

No one pays me to
write. Lark, do you sing on breaks
from selling used worms?

If I sing like a lark,
will you, lark, tell the world
how sweetly I sing?

Today I got nothing done.
Lark, shouldn't you be
patching your nest?

These four go together, and are perhaps a bit too cutesy for haiku. After all, there's very little of the lark in them - just a few song notes to start me off, the rest all whimsy, which may be poetry, but for haiku, the lark should also be a lark.

Bird and car noises.
The birds have a much larger

Breeze and my feet
bend the grass, scaring up a bird...
lost in the sun.

Along the roof struts
a pigeon, guarding stars,
who pretend not to care.

Woodpecker in a tree
so rotten that he hammers
without sound.

Sparrows dive, spear the
big chunks. Crumbs left
for slow-poke pigeons.

Wild geese overhead,
amiable honks -- creaks
of an old sailing ship.

Cedar Waxwings

Masked bandits
raid cherries, peck, gobble --
the rest for ants.

They appear to have dark masks over their eyes, winged Zorro's.

Ivy -- no matter
how many stones tossed, out swarm
sparrows and sparrows.

Out the window --
the same street, snow, frame houses...
a red bird?

Over the bay,
all the birds in the world...
then more! --
from what world?

When it seems you are looking at all the birds that could possibly be (in this case huge swarms over a Florida bay), it is strange to see rising to double the cloud at least as many more birds.

Listening to cars...
now I can just barely hear
birds singing.

Hard to hear birds
over car noise. No wonder
they shit on them.

Just a theory: All the bird droppings that car owners curse are perhaps vengeance, since car noises tend to drown out their songs. On what shall we poets shit? TV sets?

Flicking dry droppings
off the mailbox – someone
ate blackberries.

Such a small bird,
such a big song –
it fills the sky.

Here's the cat – come in!
Do the birds sing

In memory, a lilt -
surprising to hear the force
of bird song.

Surprising when I bother to listen to the birds instead of to my vague idea of what birds sound like.

All right, cat, go out,
but, please, no more
baby birds.

I can't resist
the cat's pleading. Birds
know better.

All the Pelicans
walk like Grampa.

A pelican sits down
further than you expect,
as if deflating.

Across the bay
Groucho eyebrows rise and fall--
a pelican lifts off.














Loss and Loneliness and aloneness


Old Age


A Poet's Life








Telephones and TVs