Photo by Boston Public Library on Unsplash

I could hear crickets once
and the chirps of city sparrows.
I was awash in sound
before the years spilled away.

A block of ice dragged along the gravel.
Mama slapping dough on the table top.
Water bubbling in the pasta pot.
Papa’s shoes squeaking up the stairs.

The scratch of metal jacks.
The slap of a rubber ball.
Friends laughing and calling
in the gathering dark.

Gone now —
except for a place within my skull
untouched by age or loss
where childhood memories overflow
when once I could hear crickets.

Some years ago, my elderly father asked me…

With a nod to Henry David Thoreau

Image Wikipedia Commons/ Andy Reago and Crissy McClarren

Returning in spring to the the leafy woods,
the wood thrush spills his plangent notes,
on the green-gold carpet of ferns and flowers.

The flute and the flutist are one and the same
when the wood thrush begins his serenade,
whether from instinct or duty or love.

Hearing those notes I always stop,
beguiled like the mythic followers of Pan.
Feeling an amalgam of longing and joy,

I smile as I brush away my tears.

The nineteenth century American naturalist and writer Henry David Thoreau, beloved for his timeless book Walden, once wrote of the wood thrush, “This is the…

A kiss may await

Photo by Shlomo Shalev on Unsplash

Hummingbird hovers
at the lip of a flower
nurtured by its kiss.

I sat watching a hummingbird today as he whirred around the lips of a scarlet blossom. The intensity of his concentration was punctuated by high-pitched squeaks.

His energetic fervor as he probed with his delicate tongue deep inside the flower, struck me as a very amorous action.

This seemed to be more than a search for food or a way to scatter pollen. Through its shape and color, the tubular red flower seemed designed for enticement. With his extraordinary abilities to fly and hover, the hummingbird seemed ineluctably drawn to connect with this specific floral offering.

In the natural world there may be extraordinary abundance, but there is rarely…

A dream with eyes wide open

Photo by Alexis Antonio on Unsplash

The moon slipped into
her attic room
like a guilty lover
uncertain of his welcome.

gentle to the touch.

Planting ghostly kisses
that will not yield much.

A room flooded with moonlight is magical, but it can also be a bit disconcerting.

It was thought at one time that a person who slept in a room suffused with moonlight might easily have the balance of their mind affected.

Consider the word lunatic.

Luna was the goddess of the moon, according to the early Romans. Her power grew stronger with the waxing of the moon. …

The joy of waking with the birds

Photo by Aaron Doucett on Unsplash

I retired a few years ago. (I still feel a thrill when I write those words!)

Through most of my working career, the only sound that could wake me up with any assurance on work mornings was the harsh ringing of my alarm clock.

But now, I wake up to music. Not the music from a clock radio or an app on my cell phone, but to the music of birds, singing outside my bedroom window.

Once, years ago, bird song spilled from the throats of countless birds at dawn. Their combined singing in the early morning reminded me of…

Will his urgent call be answered?

Photo by Trac Vu on Unsplash

He was a very noisy hawk. An immature red-shouldered hawk, I believe. A youngster, trying not to be so young.

Perched on a naked branch of a dying oak, he never seemed to stop his clamorous calling. Never seemed to hunt, nor fly about, nor just sit Zen-like, waiting.

From the first light of dawn, through the hazy heat of the day, his calls seemed to grow more desperate.

As if he were pleading, yet at the same time announcing, “I am here. I am here. I am here.”

Day after day I listened a little sadly to his insistent…

Remember this moment

Photo by m wrona on Unsplash

Fireflies spark like Sulphur matches
brighter than the faint stars in the hazy sky.

On the screened porch I sprawl like a drowsy cat
protected from mosquitos and night-blind beetles.

High in the trees that circle the yard
like an amphitheater dedicated to the ancient arts,

the wind strums a lofty harp,
as the katydids and crickets tune their instruments.

Like a starched sheet, distant lightning snaps.
The humid air licks my face and limbs.

A restless breeze carries the scent of cottage roses,
and of memories laden with love and some regret.

Suspended in a tangled net, time falters.

One factor decides

Photo by Daria Gorbacheva on Unsplash

Cats hold the power
to sheath or unsheathe their claws.
Love helps them decide.

Someone once described kittens as fuzzy hugs…with razor blades on their feet. Anyone who has had even just one of those sharp claws hook into their skin knows this clever saying speaks the truth!

The Internet is full of funny videos and memes showing tiny kittens acting with outsized ferocity when they feel threatened. Instinct makes these little creatures know that their best defense are those curved scimitars hiding in their paws.

I have lived happily with many cats for more than fifty years. Each time…

Each of us must seek the light

Photo by Gayatri Malhotra on Unsplash

Like flowers tilting to the sun,
We all seek light.
We all need warmth.

Nothing thrives for long in strife.

Can we give ourselves permission
to reach for what we need;
to leave behind what hurts us

and cloak ourselves in love?

Some acts are universal.
The swelling of buds.
The casting of seeds.
The questing of roots.
The dropping of leaves.

Nothing need ever be wasted.

Each living cell on earth plays its part,
symbolic or symbiotic,
to nourish and preserve.

When will we learn to nurture ourselves?

The sun, the rain, and every caring voice
every spirit, every love-centered…

Deborah Barchi

Deborah Barchi has recently retired from her career as a librarian and now has time to read, explore nature, and write poetry and essays.

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