On A Mission, Headed West

A family of five wild turkeys dwelt in this valley last spring, three newborn chicks, one albino. Watched them grow, seen often through the summer. Then their homelands were invaded by an aggressor troop eighteen strong. Occasional brief territorial squabbles, tribal instincts leading to an uneasy union. Then autumn, more sparseness, but so very resourceful. Leaves winding away, their tree roosts sometimes exposed. Then the snows came, early and unceasing. Till finally, one week, only a last intrepid one was still in evidence.

the coldwhite usurping the walking living place now
where green aromas once told abundance
grasses and seeds nourished us
and we relished their locating and plucking
my brethren numerous as our feathers
combed the fertile hill slope
a confident skillful phalanx
rooting out each delicious life thing
as we, an army, unchallenged took the terrain
descending of dawns from our secreted roost
high on the forested rise behind us

we were many
when legion digging claws and spear-like looking
uncovered every manner of nutritious life-thing
in our morning warm-time travelling
this world walking living place
green and brown light spaces
filled of what noses detect
and clear sharp air-stuff
moving wind and bringing signs of what is important
to all the listening of my brethren
oh we were many and fearless
now we are one thing
only one to keep vigil for enemies
sharp of tooth, cunning of attack
while eking out a meagerness amid scant warmth

the place of moving fast liquid alives so loud
still, the wet drinking happens
and we learned where the tall hemlocks
and sapins wait silent, waterside
their blood warmth overpowering
the coldwhite at their base
where even yet pine nuts can be had
and cold soil yields to the scratching
necessary we must curtail in chosen intervals
our looking and sniffing and knowing for the red fast one
whose teeth wants our livingness
who moves with no-noise and fast-move
now we are one thing
only one to wisdom danger
but still we can ride the air if need be
for short moments
enough to move across the moving cold-drink

if this one sustains past the deadness of the coldwhite
if this one shines life, surviving this trial
our groupmind knows again soon the yellowsun climbs
its sheer sharp excellence flooding the life
soon it makes anew the all-living walking place
the greensmell soaks our nostrils with insatiable want
and the fine fine hens come down from their hiding
strutting the strutting of impregnation
and this one no longer concerns with concealment
we will have them when color returns to our garment
we will lead new little ones to secret places of plenty


[ foto – author: More of these beautiful birds around in recent years, including during winter (no joke in Quebec). Of springs I’ve seen pairs with as many as a dozen chicks. I got interested in what they do to last the winter, so I read up a bit before imagining this vignette.]

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  1. Very nice, I like to rise early in the morning before sunrise, go for a walk outside, and look at the sun flooding with light the landscape, of course when it’s not cloudy.
    Having just done that this morning, your line:

    ¨soon the yellowsun climbs
    its sheer sharp excellence flooding the life.¨

    Resonates with me in this chilly morning. 🙂


  2. Thanks for the autumnal reminder.
    Way down under, Winter is coming.
    With the cold fingers of an icy invader.
    Like a wild turkey, I best get flying.
    Another reminder!
    I best pack some bourbon.


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