from The Hum of It All published April 2017
The Owl and the Mockingbird
I didn’t expect to meet him
great gray-blue barred owl
walking the driveway as I
sought the New York Times.
I slowed as he flew to a sweet gum
limb ten feet above with curiosity
but not menaced by the rangy mammal
seen before on his property at the river.
Our reputation as tree-huggers is
spreading even among the insects.
Transfixed, I knew to go motionless,
even if he saw me blink and quit breathing.
So he sat for some time, no hooting,
no motion, no koan or death decree,
just master of this morning zendo,
calling to mindfulness and
reminding that not by newspaper alone….
That afternoon came the uncanny
mockingbird as I walked a tree-blessed
parking lot, his stage for wild song.
Don’t tell me they don’t notice
an audience even of one, mate or not.
I, too, used to dash from office to car,
deafened by cell phone mania rather than
listen to the stunning generosity of earth
art as he sang on from new to newer
tune without so much as taking a bow.
Such brethren breathe solace
in our world of ceaseless pain.