Early Birds by Ursula Moeller


So early in the year
snow lying patchy on the lawn
sun barely up
pinking the apple tree

I watch a female sparrow
alight at our birdhouse
and poke her head
through the round front door

I’m embarrassed we didn’t
clean out last year’s old nest
of sticks and feathers
and gathered odd bits.

She pushes part way inside
tail sticking out straight
seems to ponder
if it’s worth the work.

Her black-bibbed mate
feathers fluffed full
perches on the roof
cocks his head

Then tries to mount her
while she’s half inside,
strong shake of her body
rejects him.

She emerges twig in beak
drops it down to the ground
seems like it might
be worth the trouble.

He is next inside
and removes his own bit
a tattered old feather.
Is this a commitment?

Rose-breasted juncos
peck seeds below
black crows arc overhead
on their own search.

Tomorrow morning
I’ll check again.


Animal Rights Haiku

I was just asked if my haiku, below, could be anthologized in an animal rights anthology. Of course I was touched, not having thought of it that way.

the nun scatters
her cut hair
for the nesting birds

The haiku was inspired by my friend Miriam Bobkoff who was a Buddhist monk (her lineage not distinguishing nuns). She cut her hair in preparation for the head shaving of her ordination ceremony.
She was a true bird lover. She hung seed feeders and hummingbird ones. She loved Bosque del Apache in southern New Mexico where migrating cranes winter. I once saw her run beneath a flock of flying cranes, calling “take me with you.”
Rich and I were at the Bosque over New Year’s, and I was reminiscing how Mir B. called the snow geese and sandhill cranes “people,” which we still do.
I’ve been thinking of her her for no apparent reason of late. She’s been dead for over a year, and while certain things (grilled tofu, oysters, the San Luis Valley) often call her to mind, she has just been in my thoughts more than usual.

She left me her embroidered portrait of an oyster catcher. She’d never bought a piece of textile art before, but she loved oyster catchers. In fact, she saw the piece, by Kristen Chursinoff, years ago here on this very blog.


I wasn’t happy to get it, because my possession meant she was dead. It’s really quite special, though. (https://dailypost.wordpress.com/events/self-confidence-sunday/)