Sunflowers of Winter

Out my window, the stalks of summer
stand tall—even when bent
by snow, even when knocked
by wind, sunflowers hold up
their seedheads as offerings
and all I can think of today is

Our front yard today as rain falls like tears..


When Bat unfolds her wings to flutter
over the shadowed waters,
River drifts off to sleep listening to the Kinglet lullaby,
each tinkling note a way of kindling
Cedars who will spark the stars
into constellation.

Metolius River as darkness falls, photo Marina Richie

Cooper’s Hawk

Curve of beak. Bend of talons.
No gentle arcs are these
but fish hooks ready to grapple
junco, finch, or even quail.

Accipiter presides from her perch,
this feathery lioness fiery of eye,
Scalloped breast a sunset
on a rippling lake,
Long banded tail
draped down casually before
the launch.

What is it to live suspended
between stillness and action?
She is the sprinter in the blocks
Muscles tensed for takeoff
ready for the race.

Cooper’s Hawk in yard–photo, Marina Richie

Mr. Sharpie

All hell breaks loose when
Mr. Sharpie comes to town—
He’s not one for the soft shoe

Lean and lithe, keen of eye
quick of rounded wing…
Bang! Pencil-thin yellow talons

sending pine siskins scattering
in a streaked spray of flurried
wings and tails flashing warning

Sharpie is the restless hunter
edgy, high-strung, and less patient
than Ms. Cooper’s Hawk when

As rainy trees ring with taunts of siskins
too far away to snatch,
Sharpie tucks a foot into his soft breast

His entry was not soft. His first hit a miss.
Watching him from the window
I am not prepared for the swift attack upon the

Sharpie knocked that ceramic bird
clear off the lava stone, neatly avoiding
a funky clay bluebird an inch away—such

Sharp-Shinned Hawk, photo: Marina Richie


Spiraling grain of juniper trunk
A tornado spinning and
stronger for the twist—
yielding to winds.
How do I turn
and return

Juniper twisting to the will of the wind, Photo: Marina Richie


One Steller’s Jay feather,
this lupine flower in the snow
landed like a writing quill
poised for the poet to grasp.
Or was the feather placed there,
held in the beak of a raven
who pens sonnets in the pines?

Steller’s Jay feather found just this way…photo: Marina Richie


Metolius River knows
cursive connections
flowing in relationship
of individual droplets
forming the words and
words are the wonder

communal continuum
this champagne river
celebrating evanescent
sparkles dazzling
whitewater funneling
necklaces of turquoise

trout havens entwine
with filigreed
forests shading, rooting,
weaving words in
language of wild waters
lilting lyrical song

Metolius River, photo: Marina Richie

And a bonus picture to go with the Mr. Sharpie poem: