RUFFLED CHICKEN SONNET

My chickens don’t like deep snow. Their feathers
Are ruffled. They need to be smooth as nudists
And able to stay calm in all weathers.
They need to say “Aum” like good Buddhists
But won’t listen to me. Chickens won’t parrot.
I lecture, “say ‘Aum'”, but they just cluck.
At least parrots can copy. Neither carrot
Nor stick works on chickens. They stay stuck
Just like the World stays stuck. Peace is a jewel
But the World prefers feathers be ruffled.
It can’t stop. Warfare is habitual
And peace is a voice that gets muffled
By deep snow. Then Silence speaks out what I mean:
“Stop this ruffling of feathers, and preen.”

SNOWY NIGHT SONNET

We have had a doozy of a double-barreled snowstorm, 18 inches to clean up on Monday morning, and 14 more to clean up Tuesday morning. No drifts, as the snow was oddly windless. I wrote this sipping coffee in the dark before dawn, before heading out on the second morning.

With night’s snow fell a silence. It was deep
As the snow was deep; grew deeper as snow
Grew deeper. The world did not go to sleep
But was wary, waiting. I do not know
What it awaited. Anticipation,
Like a small boy restless in a cold bed,
Impatient for Christmas, breathed steam that hung
In the dark stillness. No blue, green or red
Christmas lights blinked. The power was out.
No furnace rumbled and no fridge hummed.
No sledding-hill’s child freed a far-off shout.
What broke silence was me. My fingers drummed
As I awaited the soft light of dawn
And the Power we need to turn back on.

LOCAL VIEW –The Last Brown Day–

Sometimes my focus is too much upon the oncoming, and I miss what I am surrounded by. I am like the driver of a car, wisely focusing on the road ahead but a bit oblivious of the view beside me. This is all well and good until you become oblivious of the person beside you.

I recently heard a story about an old man and old woman driving together in one of those old pick-up trucks with bench front seats. They sat so far apart that the old lady’s forehead was actually resting against the coolness of the passenger side window. In front of them was a battered pick-up truck of the same year and make, but in it was a young couple obviously very much in love; the young lady’s head was resting on the young man’s shoulder. They were driving so slowly the older couple’s truck caught up, and as they did the old lady looked forward and then she sat up, turned to her husband, and reproachfully said, “We used to drive like that. What happened to us?” The old man glanced at her with a wry smile and said, “I haven’t moved.”

As Thanksgiving approached this year I looked forward to two things that to a degree were in conflict; a reunion of family, including new babies and new partners, and the first big snowstorm of the year, which was a glorified warm front but promised to dump a foot of snow all at once.

As the storm approached there were certain things I needed to attend to, such as making sure my snow-blower was running correctly after sitting idle all summer, and getting salt and a snow shovel out of storage and putting them on the porch. I noted the snow-blower’s carburetor was a bit fouled, and a sheer-pin on one blade needed replacing, and this necessitated a drive to a hardware store in the next town for a gasoline additive and a sheer-pin. This resulted in a, shall we say, “discussion” with my wife, because it seemed I might miss an hour of our reunion. What was more important, a sheer-pin or our own children? In the end things worked out, for I slipped away from our reunion and was back an hour later in such a manner that the chattering group hardly noticed I was gone, but beforehand it seemed worse than it was. I was not at all looking forward with relish, and anticipated trouble.

It was at this point, when my brains were working themselves into a tizzy, that I decided I needed to stop and smell the roses, though there were no roses to sniff. I was too focused on the oncoming snow and oncoming reunion, and was missing what was in the present tense. And what was that? It was not snow or a reunion. It was the last brown day before the landscape vanished under a blanket of white, perhaps for months; perhaps until April.

It didn’t take any extra time. I just took the time, as I walked from one chore to the next, to scuff through the leaves, and enjoy the rustling.

With holidays I nearly missed the last,
Brown day. It wasn’t on my Christmas list:
“The last, brown day.” Snow will make it be the past;
The white comes fast; the landscape’s kissed
By wool on trees and roads, but if a drift
Must block my path I wish a pile of leaves
To rustle through. The way sounds shift
From crisp to sift, from leaves to snow, just grieves
My heart, for I know snow is here to stay,
And therefore isn’t like the last, brown day.
Seize the moment, before it slips away.
Seize upon the last, brown day; in a kicking way
Rustle through leaves. Make life be play.
Rejoice all through the last, brown day.

THANKSGIVING DREAM SONNET

Cranberries cooking in a cozy kitchen;
Voices carrying on conversations
In every corner; the scent of pies, then
The scent of turkey; toddling grandsons;
And my grandfather…wait…he is long gone
And this scene is painted Rembrandt orange
On sunrise cumulus; Arizona dawn
Campground; alone; without a door hinge
To squeak or girl to love; I only own a
hurt…wait…that too is long gone; I am now
The grandfather back east. Arizona
Faded, as I too fade. I’m glad times allow
Returns to cozy kitchens, but this too
Will pass, until I finally wake with You.

FAME SONNET

Long I’ve yearned for fame: To be interviewed
On TV pontificating for long
Hours about short poems. Instead life has booed
Rather than cheered. I’m always singing my song
Alone in the shower. Then I wondered
What fan I face when I sit facing a page
Of pure white. By mistake I then blundered
Into depth over my head, and, like a sage,
Walked into a painting facing just who
Painted it. Creation filled up with hints
of whom the Lonely Author might be. It’s true
Creation is merely the fingerprints
Of the Creator. Therefore it’s a shame
To miss His glance for a passing sketch, called fame.

GLOOMY THANKSGIVING DOUBLE-SONNET

Talk about “triggers”: Gray, bleak November,
And again I’m eleven with parents parted,
But must fake thanks. How I remember
The hurt, fifty years later. Downhearted
To this day in some strange way; it seems spring
Can never come. How dare my parents do it?
They could renounce love, but I couldn’t bring
Myself to side with a side of their split
For I sided with Love. Yet that Thanksgiving
Came, despite divorce, and mocked all held dear.
Fat turkey is not what makes life worth living.
Gray, leafless boughs trigger, year after year,
A sense that Thanksgiving can’t be the same
Until the two sides quit their unloving game.

And the same holds true for politicians.
A bond of Love must connect opponents
Or Democracy dies. Love tempers men’s
Savage inclination to turn mere rants
Into murders. Love is the hope of sweet spring
In bleak November. Love is never first
To draw the sword, though Love can surely sting
Those men first drawing blades. Love quenches thirst
For peace, but not falsely with soothing lies,
For Love is one with Truth. But power-crazed
Men can’t comprehend marriage. Cyclops eyes
See one way alone. They can’t stand amazed
Sharing views with those with whom they’re living,
And chose to be blind to the Cause of Thanksgiving.

THE SPITBALL SONNET

When I was young we had school shootings every day.

We called her “Miss Gestapo”, and spread cruel
Rumors about corpses in her closet.
She surveyed us with wintry eyes, no fool
And no friend. She would cram Math; somehow get
Through thick skulls the import of zero. I had
To get through forty minutes, but the crawl
Of time stood still. Just then Fred, who was mad,
Shot me with a spitball. She wheeled; glared; though all
Eyes were innocent. (Shooting puffs a sound
Distinctive). She turned back to the blackboard
As I chewed some paper. Fred turned around
And grinned. I loaded. Class gasped. My aim was towards
Not Fred. What possessed me I’ll never know
As I raised my shooter towards Miss Gestapo.

P.S.
(This point may seem somewhat moot:
To cause commotion, you need not shoot.)