I am a transplanted European, who has lived in Phoenix since 1978. My poems have appeared in many publications online and in print, and reflect my affection for the natural world, as well as occasional bewilderment at aspects of human behavior. My newest collection of poems is Bird on a Wire from Presa Press, and late in 2017 The Bitter Oleander Press will publish Shatter the Bell in my Ear, my translations of poems by Austrian poet Christine Lavant. http://www.davidchorlton.mysite.com
A Walk Along the Wash
The mountain that was flat all day
cools into a third dimension
as the sun slips toward its shoulder.
Grass along the wash is still
bright as it meanders and points
at the four peaks floating
on a distant cloud. There’s amber
in a Firetail’s wings
as it rides an updraught that carries
all the way to an evergreen’s crown.
A killdeer startles the ground awake.
A kestrel settles high
above the lagoon whose surface
is broken by a sharp fin steering
a catfish from the bank
where a Green heron snaps
his waiting tension and glides
across his reflection.
There’s a world of liquid darkness
underneath the ripples and a calm
when the cormorants rise in
circling uniformity. Back on the path
a phoebe flies a shadow’s length to chase
insects until the last
of daylight drips
from the tip of a palm frond.
If you fly the distance and arrive
among sounds you hear
for the first time, you might call it
a vacation: time to spend with drinks
beside a pool
while the land surrounding you
bleeds off in all directions
to the unmapped territory
in your mind. You’ll pay somebody
to look after you, provide food
and take the effort out
of living for a while.
you nest behind a waterfall,
came of age half in the clouds,
have no map to follow
just a galaxy of stars
through which to find a way,
and when a city passes
see the fingers
of a small lagoon
with flies to eat and water
for the next few hundred miles.
Perhaps the first migration
took more strength than you had.
a little grace
in your long and folded wings.
©2017 David Chorlton
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