Archive for the ‘birds’ Category

The Imperial Ducks

April 3, 2019

“Friends, humans, snackers, give us some treats!”

Ducks2

When the dark Duck of the South is floating on the pond,

and the greens, wings and flings of Spring respond,

observe  with me now the ducks as they cavort,

and I’ll tell thee a tale of a different sort.

As I did chance upon this lovely pond of the Queen city,

methinks I encountered two green-headed ducks, quite pretty.

As I did watch them they made likewise to observe me

and they noticed me munching on some cracker delicacy.

They commenced to approach my pondside perch quite boldly

and did by their quickened quacks begin to entreat me

for some morsels of my whole wheat crackers

‘cause I had landed there as a pondside snacker.

No sooner had I tossed them a tidbit or two

than two others like them waggled over to get some too.

But as the newcomers did paddle their approach

the first two judged their entrance as a fowl reproach.

Thus ducks one and two did confront their mallard cousins

and assail them with quackish protests by the dozen.

I beheld as these first two wiggled wildly their duckish butts,

chasing away the offending intruders with quackerish cuts.

As I am a human with tendencies to taxonomy,

methoughts I’d take note these behaviors of birdbrain ferocity,

as their hubris did remind me of the ancient imperial city

where bullies intimidate their kin with fierce intensity.

Vittorio

Methinks these bossy birds are of the bullish Roman variety,

having no tolerance for taxish quacks from the Euro birdbrainery.

Like their Hungarian cousins doing their own territorial hustles,

these haughty ducks harass their meddling cousins back to Paris or Brussels.

“Friends, humans, snackers, toss us some snacks!”

those bold ducks had demanded—them greedy green hacks,

as if . . . “don’t waste your snacks on those lingering slackers.”

So I gathered my crackers and took leave of those quackers.

Glass Chimera

Advertisements

This is for the birds

January 25, 2019

I thought I’d take a gander

at our nation’s slow meander

into polarized politics’ clown’d identities,

as chronic deficits  drain our amenities.

Meanwhile back at the ranch

not much chance in extending an olive branch

in  the present  state of our union,

cuz our leaders share no communion.

They find it advantageous to split  into camps

which somehow blows out our Liberty lamps.

So obsessed with the clown scenario showdown,

congress anoints the annual guvmint shutdown,

until  the farcical politics runs its course

while our nation’s deficit’s on a runaway horse.

Someday no credibility will be left in the US dollar

as Fed and Treasury in red ink they waller.

Someday dollars will be valued as turds,

cuz their politicking’s all for the birds.

ArguBrds

Glass half-Full

The Geneticus of Homo Onlinicus

November 30, 2018

In Phase One Man took charge of the virtual heavens and earth.

The earth was wild and perilous, and adversity was over the surface of the deep, and the Striving of Man was travailing over the land and over the waters.

Then Man said, Let me find some Light, that I might have some Sight, and (S)he separated the Light from the Night. Man called the Light Right and the Night he called Fright, and there was Light and there was Night, Phase One.

Then Man said, Let there be a Net in the midst of this stuff, and let it connect the Light to our Sight. Man made the Net, which separated what we Feel from the Real deal. Man called what we feel Cool, and the Real deal he called Cloud.

And there was Cool and there was Cloud, Phase Two. What’s it to you?

Then Man said, Let the Lectrons in the Net be gathered together, and let the Web appear, and it was so and so. And Man called the Web virtually Real, and the Cloud he made so Loud  that it was virtually every Where.

Then Man said Let the Web sprout vegetation: couch potatoes yielding their data with virtual tomatoes yielding their what’sittooyas. Yeah I say unto ya but you say tomato while i say tomahta and the Cloud say yeah we gotcha, it be just hot n jot like siracha.

And behold, as you can see, the Net broughteth forth confusion, or excuse me: vegetation. The Web brought forth vegetation: virtual tomatoes spurting their hootoos and and couch potahtas spudding their duds and the data from so many couch potatas tweeting their seeyalata alligata

and i’ll text it tooyah if’n I can. The candy man can the candy man can, sayeth the candy man sam, son of sam cuz he be a sagittarius ram or an L.A. ram i think i am i am therefore i am.

And there was teasing and there was mourning, Phase Three.

Chimp

And then Man said, Let there be Sites in the Web to separate the Haves from the HaveNots, and the Littleduds from the BigShots and let them be for data and for you say potata an’ how’bout i say potahta and it was so and so and so on and so on.

And so Man made the two great Mights: the Righty Might to be the Right and the Lefty Might to amp up the Fright, all Night long, y’all. All night long they drum up the Fright and so by ’n by they drive the Trolls to Flight, while so many be high, high as a kite, up all night, surfin’ site to site.

It ain’t right, y’all.

Ain’t right.

And there was seething and there was mourning, Phase Four.

Then Man said, let the Web and the Net and the Cloud teem forth with swarms of living creatures, and let birdbrains fly above the virtual earth.

ArguBrds

And Man created great Webbed monsters and Netted numerous comfortably numb couch dummies after their kind and Man saw that it was Cool.

Everybody’s cool, or thinking they am, and so the Cloud swarmeth with various and sundry mucho macho nacho-grandmother’s  critters of all minds after their kind,

CrocJaw

some before and some behind, spouting babble with unbelievable babel meanwhile babylon be amblin’ along waitin for the watchtower to deflower all that proletarian power at the witching hour.

And Man messed with them, sayin’ be ye tooty-frooty and Occupy and fill the Cloud, loud and proud, and let the birdbrains multiply on their virtual reality schme-ality.

And there was scheming and there was dreaming and there was mourning. Phase Five.

And Man conceived Man in his own image, and (s)he deviated in their own lineage and brought them forth as if they were winning in their own sinnage, and stirreth them up in their svelte squirming, while they as yet knew not that they be tweeting their shittage in their own image.

And yet Man still saw it all as pretty damn good, and he liked them all; thumbs-up he gave ‘em all, y’all, in their teeming and in their scheming; so there was daydreaming and there was mourning in the days of Phase Six.

Man had at last evolved to his full potential, more crafty than any other beastly species of the field.

Good luck with that.

Glass Chimera

Feeding the Birds and the People

June 8, 2018

While staying on Kauai, Hawaii, I have been observing a cardinal every morning. This beautiflul red bird has lighted upon the deckrail, shortly after each sunrise each day. His visits demonstrate a boldness on his part to venture into areas of human domain. But that boldness is tempered with a shyness by which he promptly flys away as soon as I make any movement in his direction.

Comparing these bird encounters with similar episodes at our home in the Carolina Blue Ridge, I surmise a personality trait that seems to be characteristic of the cardinal breed. It’s probably my imagination that the  colorful creature has some comprehension of his special status among the kingdom of the birds. He seems to understand  (or so it seems to me) that this human is fascinated by his flashy appearance; he also knows that his bright profile is, in some settings, a liability, because the bright red makes it easier for nearby predators to catch sight of him and perhaps eat him.

However, Mr. Cardinal’s skittishness did not interfere this morning with my continuing attempts to capture a pic of him. I was pleased this morning to find that the different physical arrangement here in Hawaii have made it possible for me to snap the pic.

FeedCardnl

My Christian perspective on life in this world prompts me to accompany this amazing  (to me) photo with a scriptural reference. Here’s the first one I thought of, in the words of Jesus:

“Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?”

In this case, I, human, am representing the heavenly Father in dropping those cereal crumbs onto the deckrail for our scarlet friend.

Meanwhile, feeling satisfied that I have managed to capture, here in Hawaii, that flighty image of the bright cardinal which I could never manage to obtain back home, I’ll cast another crumb of interest in here for you to nibble on.

Before Mr. Cardinal visited this morning, I was continuing my read of Edward Joesting’s excellent book on Kauai, Kauai: The Separate Kingdom.   

https://www.amazon.com/Kauai-Separate-Edward-Joesting-III/dp/0824811623/

In chapter 7, Mr. Joesting reports on the beginnings of commercial agriculture on the island of Kauai. The earliest enterprises were initiated by a trio of American business partners who were working with Hawaiian leaders with assistance from Christian missionaries who had arrived in the 1820’s.

Long about 1835, some Americans leased a large tract of land from Kauikeaouli (Kamehameha III) Kaikioewa, the governor of Kauai.

What fascinates me about this development in Hawaiian history is the changes in motivation that Hawaiian working people found themselves adopting in response to the new capitalistic farms.

On page 131 of his book, Edward Joesting wrote:

“In agreement with the philosophy of the missionaries, the lease stipulated that native laborers be encouraged to work on the land. For this right the company would pay to the king and the governor twenty-five cents per month for each man. And it was further stated that each worker would be paid a satisfactory wage and be exempted from all taxation. This taxation had taken the form of labor performed for the chiefs and such other contributions as the chiefs wished to impose.”

As agriculture and business later developed in Kauai during the next twenty years or so, what this arrangement amounted to, economically and sociologically, was this:

Whatever ancient cultural motivations that had traditionally compelled Hawaiian working folk to labor for their tribe and their chiefs—these motivations were being supplanted by new incentives, directly related to 19th-century agricultural scales and practices, and modern, capitalistic business.

On page 132, Edward Joesing wrote:

“The idea of Hawaiians working for an employer who paid them wages, which could be disposed of as the earner saw fit, suddenly introduced a concept of independence that was not easily understood by the commoners and was feared by the chiefs. Adding to the independence of the commoners was the fact that the commoners no longer had to pay taxes to the chiefs. It was more than the average islander could comprehend. There was nothing in their history, no precedent, no legend, that could be used to bridge the gap. . .

On occasion the workers went through the motions of caring for the fields, accomplishing practically nothing. The plantation manager was beside himself (mad). He did not know the Hawaiians still could not comprehend the fact that their wages and the things they bought with them would be their own posessions and coud not appropriated at will by the chiefs.”

My rationale for combining these two different encounters—one with a fresh understanding of historical changes in 1830’s Kauai, and the other with a visiting cardinal this morning—my reasoning may not be entirely clear to you; it’s not even so clear to me, except it has something to do with this quote from a gospel:

“Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?”

FieldHawaii

King of Soul

March 14, 2017

March 14, 2017

Why the Diagonal, y’all?

TreeDiag

Because it’s the shortest distance

between two

points?

or

because what goes up must come

down?

or

to break up the conformism of these trunkated

lines?

or

because it

snowed?

or

because this old tree was just ready to begin its

fall?

DiagTree

or

because its time had come, y’all?

or

because that’s

all

she wrote

or

maybe it was just the final

call,

from seed to tall

from spring to fall.

It could happen to us

all,

y’all.

From seed to fall,

that’s all?

Prob’ly not,

I do believe.

SeedEating

You?

Glass half-Full

This is for the Birds

February 10, 2017

We placed this bird-feeder outside our kitchen window. We bought it from Lowe’s, where I work a few hours every week, since I’m an old guy now.

This bird-feeder has been a real hoot. There’s nothing in the world like watching birds, at close range, while they do their thing, whatever it is that birds are doing. I mean, it’s hard to figure out what they’re up to. Their ways are higher than ours.

Personally, I think they’re a higher life form than we are.

Although yesterday, I had to wonder about them because of some of the petty bickering they got into that later came to my attention.

ArguBrds

One of these birds was talking trash to the other, and so they got into a dispute about who was to have the corner spot on the White House. (We call it the White House).

The corner spot, like the corner office, is the hallowed position on the pecking order because it’s easier there to pluck the seeds and kernels from the White House trough.

I thought these two combatants were arguing about the corner spot. But later, I found out otherwise. Shortly after the altercation occurred, I was visited by my informant, who shall remain nameless, except that I shall heretofore refer to him/her as deep Beak, so you’ll know the aviant of whom I speak.

When deep Beak subsequently made his/her clandestine visit to me, I was, at that time yesterday afternoon, able to gather non-fake news (that is, the real scoop) about the real issue that provoked the confrontation you see photoshipped here. Deep Beak disclosed this information to me in a discreet manner to protect his/her own anonymity. As you can surmise here, deep Beak’s face cannot be seen. I insist on preserving the anonymity of my source.

TrapdBrd

My source revealed that the two birdbrains pictured earlier were not arguing about the corner spot at the White House. In sooth, they were having a political discussion.

The cold, hard truth about these litigants is: they were  arguing about Rule 19 of the US Senate. That’s the arcane legislative rule that enabled the Republicans to do their very subtle, though obviously potent, power play on the senator from Mass so that the said senator could not retrieve from history some information about Jeff Sessions who was up for nomination as Trump’s Attorney General.

Oh, and did I mention that deep Beak intimated to me that one of these combatants you see here is a Democrat and the other is Republican?

Pshaw! I’ll bet that explains a lot, huh!

It’s becoming more and more obvious to me that these birdbrains are too polarized to be thinking clearly. They are, forsooth, just playing politics. These two have been politicized beyond rationality; they are just winging it, making up stuff as they go along just for the sake of preserving their own tribal identity instead of their common heritage as endothermic vertebrate Avifauna.

Anyway, according to deep Beak, Jeff Sessions is a pretty good guy, although he has a checkered past, like all old Southern geezers, including this reporter, when it comes to his attitude and his professional history as a lawyer in Alabama as pertaining to the issue of Civil Rights, back in the day.

I’m talking about the dark days of segregation and Jim Crow before the South was born again unto the liberating effects of The Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

It has been reported that Senator Sessions, the AG nominee, has changed his tune–has even changed his tweets since the Dark days. He has radically revised his attitude toward blacks and their civil rights since those dark days of Jim Crow southern discriminatory segregatory  laws that protected and prolonged the ancient scourge of racism and its deleterious effects.

Just ask Senator Tim Scott of South Carolina, if you have any questions about the nominee.

Let’s hope Sessions has changed his tune, anyway, since he is now Attorney General of these here United States, which I hope will remain United.

The last time the secession talk got so heated up was when those wild-eyed Democrats of South Carolina declared their independence at Fort Sumter.  But now its the Left Coast making the secession noise; we’re hoping to keep California in the fold since they make all our blockbustin’ movies out there, not to mention most of our fruits and nuts.

Blockbustin’  movies is OK, but Union bustin’ is not.

All you citizens of the good ole USA out there, keep an eye on your Senators and Representatives. Don’t let  them screw this thing up. We can’t allow this good thing we got going to fall apart. We must not permit this US thing to fall apart over petty politics. Keep the birdbrains accountable.

And let’s hope they confirm Judge Gorsuch.

And you should get a bird-feeder from Lowe’s. Get a high on a bird today!

Glass half-Full

The Snowbird Lesson

December 30, 2016

When I was a child in Mississippi, we had a book about birds of North America. For some reason, I know not what, I became fascinated by a certain bird that was pictured therein. It was the snowbird. Being a boy from the deep south, I had not seen much snow, which was a rarity where I come from.

Perhaps that rarity factor is the reason I was fascinated by the picture of the snowbirds in my little book.

Now I’m sixty-five, and living in the Blue Ridge mountains, which can be quite snowy this time of year.

Early this morning, December 30, we did discover the first snow of the season, and I have to tell ya– along with the whitey flakes the snowbirds made their visit known to us.

Snowbird

Later in life, When I had become young man, I became fascinated with a song called “Snowbird” that was a hit on the radio at that time, 1960’s. It was a tear-jerker tune, sung perfectly by a lady known as the Canadian songbird, Annie Murray.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pq9bHd58-LA

“Snowbird” is a sad song about unrequited love.

“When I was young, my heart was young then too. Anything that it would tell me–that’s the thing that I would do.

But now I feel such emptiness within for the thing that I want most in life’s the thing that I can’t win. . .

and

“The breeze along the river seems to say, that she’ll only break my heart again, should I decide to stay.

So little snowbird take me with you when you go to that land of gentle breezes where the peaceful waters flow.”

. . . and yet, beneath the poem’s cold mantle of forlornness there is a trace of hope, a mention of “flowers that will come again in spring.

As it turned out, in my life the flowers did “come again in spring.” Those misadventures in love that later became a flood of heartache ultimately were buried in the fertile ground of life’s demands. Not only were seeds of new love sewn providentially into my life, but those seeds have yielded new flowers and more seeds.

Yet still, “the snowbird sings the song he always sang, and, as it turns out, eats the seeds always needs.

The snowbirds visited our house this morning, and wow! did they have a feast!

Snohello

Those little critters are much like the two humans–my wife and I–who find much joy in providing seed for them during this snowy season. There’s Snowy on the ledge, and his wifey down in the tree:

SnoMates

Thanks to love and marriage, which go together, you know, like a horse and carriage, or like . . . snowbirds and snow, my life has turned out to be a love feast instead of the festival of the broken-hearted that might have been, had not a wonderful loving woman come in and changed all that lovesick blues to pure white marital love, 37 years of it.

I wouldn’t trade marital love for anything in the world. It’s so much better than the broken heart that might have become bitterness. Thank God for true love that is lasting and faithful.

Here’s another version of the song, “Snowbird,” as recorded by the songwriter, Hank Snow.

   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JBwqqH0LTyI

And here’s a parting pic of little Snowy with his Finchy friend.

Snowb&finch

Glass half-Full

Our Urban Companion

June 15, 2016

City city, rising high

all strung out across the sky

what artist’s smearings could interpret

thy jagged profile, so raggedly imperfect?

SFStrung

Since your swift gold rush run was done

and your thrashing railway web’s been spun,

have you embossed yourself in gold-tinged filagree?

Did we who trod the prairies plod thee?

(Aside)

Oh lookee here.

Yonder cometh the world traveler

Methinks

he hath the fat and hungry look:

Pigeon

Pigeon pigeon, strutting like a dude

with bold entreaties for some food

how long hast thou been loitering without fear?

You got a permit to solicit here?

Who gave you permission to hang around?

acting like you own this town.

‘Though you resemble your country cousin dove,

thou huntest not, but just beg and grub.

I surmise that in some faraway jungle

thou was chased away by some uncivilized uncle;

and now, thy feathery incandescent suit

cloaks with grandeur thy wand’ring grubby pursuit.

Oh ye little urbanized beggar

art thou a diner at this establishment, a regular?

Hast thou honed and perfected y’er plodding pleading game?

Hast thou an identity? Who gavest thee thy name?

Every city whence I travel

thou are there on the sidewalk, in the gravel,

sometimes poking in the parks where it’s grassy

other times pecking pavement, bold and sassy.

When I get to heaven wilt thou be there too?

Groveling and grubby down near my shoe.

But perhaps thou wilt there soar free.

Did He who form the eagle form thee?

Fare thee well my gentle companion,

with winged flapping in flight-paths random.

Cherish every encounter and generous friend

until in yon celestial city we do meet again.

Get along now!

You can’t be grazing here like a cow.

We shall see what will be

between you and me in eternity.

TreeTrail

Glass Chimera

In the Air I have seen

April 18, 2016

In the air my eyes have seen

more wonders than I could ever dream.

Some loom large with majesty so grand . . .

MtRngUt

. . . while others dangle on delicate strands.

SpidWeb

In the air my eyes have beheld

certain patterns into which my mind can delve

like dappled skies in cloud-swept windrows . . .

CloudDapl. .

.  .  . and divided glass on skyscraped windows.

GlassBldg

In the air I have noticed with my very own eyes

incredible creatures that somehow can rise,

like this simple bird whose lifestyle, so exquisite . . .

BirdEats

. . . surpasses the swami’s contrived solicit.

Levitator

In the air I have observed with my God-given eyes

such incredible scenes which life doth devise

like the sinister mystery of this Paris gargoyle . . .

ParisGargoyl

 . . . and majestic Alps formed without human toil.

AlpsValy

In the air my eyes have seen

more wonders than I could ever dream,

from large to small, from ridiculous to sublime,

between stupid and smart, to stupendously divine.

Glass half-Full

Troubled Waters on American Pond

March 16, 2016

As I was strolling by the Pond one bright March morn,

I came upon an old duck, but he seemed forlorn.

I said, Mr. Duck, what has stricken you so sad?

He said, There’s just no way I can still be glad.

DukUgly

He said, Now our honorable ducks have all gone down

since superTuesday’s primaries brought these honking’ geese around.

Politics has sunken to new depths of mudsling crud.

I just wanna stick my head in some watery mud.

DucksFeedng

Now these honking’ geese think they own the place;

they strut around; they honk in your face.

I wish I could just get away from them–

that loudmouth Trumpy gander, and Hillary the honky Hen.

GeesStrut

I just wanna  be like those turtles over there,

sitting in the sun without a care,

but for the future of our Pond I fear;

things will never again be safe around here.

TurtlsGees

With all the contention between ducks and the geese

we’ll have no more quiet, no still waters, no peace.

No civility, no serenity–it’s all downstream from here.

and masked bandits will rob us blind, I fear!

Raccoon

Oh, woe is US, I say;

woe is USA!

Glass Chimera