This poem was written last spring as streets fell silent and we peered out warily. It was one of very few creative pieces that I was able to finish in 2020 in between teaching on-line and walking many shielded lengths of the allotment lane behind our house while the birds were going about their spring business as usual. I’m pleased that it now appears in Corona Chronicles Necessary Narratives in Uncertain Times, published by DIO Press, New York. Thanks to editors Kenneth Fashing-Varner, Steven Bickmore, Danica Hays, P.G. Schrader, David Lee Carlson and Dorothea Anagostopoulos for selecting it.
We overschedule our days on
shared screens, heads disappearing
into false places. Encircled faces
lurk unseen behind initials. Voices are switched on
or muted. Conversations become concentrated.
Staccato chat replaces warm chatter
with hard-to-read silences punctuated
by emojis, fixing and unfixing smiles.
Tears flow, virtual hands go up or
stay down but are rarely tentative,
Outside in a bright spring fluffed-up blue tits
negotiate the evening birdbath queue for
their place in a pecking order behind loud sparrow brood.
A young blackbird’s saffron-rimmed eye stares suspiciously
at what might be seeds before he bounces off to
learn to bend his worm-listening head lawn-wards.
Fledgling robins flit back-forth between
turned soil and sheltered hawthorn territory.
A glow of speckles, needy yellow beaks yearning
red breasts not earned yet. Later a hidden tawny owl
haunts pear tree dark, waits for a possible
mate’s echo, sends a shiver through
pre-dawn with her unexpected hooting.
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