Country Crossing

Country Crossing
Poetry of Thomas Martin

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Free Verse - The Clandestine Life of the Burrowing Owl

Burrowing Owls are found in open, dry grasslands, agricultural and range lands, and desert habitats often associated with burrowing animals, particularly prairie dogs, ground squirrels and badgers.

Yes, I love a hole in the ground
(I didn't even dig it.)
but also circle and suddenly
swoop down on small scampering things
like Vole or Mouse
or listen for the faint susurrus
of Dragon's tiny wings.

Avoiding birdwatchers
(Homo Binocularis)
That's the big problem,
I mean how can you hide
from snakes and hawks,
much less sleep a little
when a busload of birders
roars by stopping to point
out Badger's old burrow
while waiting for you to get up
and perch on a pasture post.

What's to be done?
They've studied you,
They know all your habits
and will out your burrow,
you can't really hide.
(Does the Legion accept owls?)

Then, I forget that when made
by God, evolution or both
I promised to define the sky
while steadfastly ensconced
in the beautiful earth.

© 2008-9 Thomas James Ma
Published Magnapoets Journal, January 2009

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Haibun - Eye of the Storm

I was ten when Hurricane Hazel passed over our farm in the Piedmont. I really wanted to see that eye. When the wind stopped howling, I rushed out the back door. In the stillness my eyes were drawn upward.

so quiet
the weeping willow

Published 2008 in Haibun Today

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Haibun - The Maroon Blazer

Mother insisted upon bringing Dad's maroon blazer to Oregon when she came to visit after his death. She just could not bear to let it hang unused in his closet. She wanted me to "get the use out of it."

I finally gave it to Goodwill.

could not ever wear
his old clothes burning my skin
lonely child once more

Published in Contemporary Haibun Online

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Haibun - Moonlight

I remember the first time my family rented a summer vacation cottage at Long Beach, North Carolina. Darkness had fallen by the time we finished unloading the car. I came in with the last load and after dropping the box in the kitchen, went out to the screen porch where Mother was standing.

first night
the full moon floats
on silver waves

Every now and then through the years, she would remind me of how beautiful she found the moonlit ocean and how precious the memory. I remember those pitchers of iced tea, countless meals, covering my brother and me with lotions. She could drink coffee and gaze at the ocean for hours.

waist deep in the sea
"can't you come in a little"
current pulls at my feet

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Haibun - Getting Rid of the Festiva

I tell you no one wanted that car. We kept it parked in the driveway for years while we made payments on Saturns and bought Subarus and Hondas and tried to ignore it. Meanwhile, I would drive it once a week to Trader Joe's or the Beaverton Library.

driver's door opens
chains pulled across pipes
runs great, good mileage

I tried to donate it (only had about 102,000 miles). I called all the charities that take old cars (United Way, Cancer Research, even Kars4Kids) but upon hearing it was a 1989 Ford Festiva with a key jammed in the ignition refused to consider it.

I finally had to call a junk dealer who offered us a $100, and who came with a big smile and a ruddy, little Pomeranian
that waited obediently to one side while he hoisted the car up on his wrecker.

The dog yapped all the while but seemed happy. She made me smile, and my heart bubbled a little.

just as Samantha
began licking my fingers
five 20's changed hands

Published in Contemporary Haibun Online

Haibun - Weather

I last saw you on Midsummer Commons
It was rainy bright and you turned away.
We wanted words of prophets,
even weathermen.

the wind's rough coldness
gray bark, the brown fallen leaves
the rain still falling

Published in Contemporary Haibun Online

Haibun - The Farmer

Raised on a farm in the South, Father ended up farming most of his life. He loved the land, the growing things, and the animals. He went off to work early in the morning whistling and singing. We kids would tag along to work in the fields and secretly hope for early thunderstorms.

early morning stars
the chilly feel of wet dew
the sound of roosters

When he was about to retire, he could no longer make a living as a farmer. Elderly, he had trouble finding work in the rural area of the South where he lived. The only job he could find was working for a chicken processing plant. They had thousands of chickens crammed in cages and behind wire fences awaiting slaughter.

They gave him a job using a heating iron to burn off part of the chickens’ beaks, so the they would not damage each other through pecking.

He lasted a week
Making pets of them all
started smoking again

(Published Haibun Today - 2008)