Tuesday, July 5, 2011



It is a rhythm we learn early enough:
that bird’s quiet climb up a trunk
is also its feeding hour; it is working
for its transient stay in this palace
of trees at the edge of the woods. 

From a porch, between sips of tea,
the watcher espies the cuckoo dance
on the tulip tree--a hop-skip-and-pick
not unlike the hip-hop kids’ dancing
away from embalming classrooms
at end of day: hop-skip-and-pick 

pebbles to throw at a party of wrens
that whirr noisily away, squawking
mayhem at hallooing children who
cackle at the frenzy as if they were
born to raise hell, and for the fleeing
birds to screech for mercy, mercy! 

The rhythm of a summer day: a bird
on the tulip tree minding its business
is scared silly by the clangor of a dump
truck rattling through raven packs
snatching trash from spilling bins
that line up the street like pallbearers. 

Elsewhere in Tripoli, napalm bombs
scare dumpsite scavengers picking up
metal to shape the bullets for another
day’s battle. Rhythms of a day, we call it.

---Albert B. Casuga

Prompt: A cuckoo climbs the trunk of the tulip tree, pausing every few inches to search for prey. The dump truck goes by with a rattle and clang. ---Dave Bonta, The Morning Porch, 07-05-11

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