Buntings are finch-like birds with
unmusical but distinctive songs.

Pity to have
the name of a bird
and not to fly.
Poor thing should
flap its wings and soar
to the highest rooftop.

Yet small against clouds,
exposed to all eyes-
in the spread of sky;
it searches for a perch,
the one true note and
the company of trees!


Before he's visible,
I hear the song,
whistle and twitter
formed by lips
in the art of music.

No feathers warm
his balding head,
exposed and public.

On weekends,
he plays the old tunes,
goes back to
his piano-playing days,
says we're not ready
for his new voice.

(Included in the anthology
Edicíones Bajo
de Luna, Buenas Aries.)

I am sometimes away with crows
in high trees back of Aula Maxima.
They pick at twigs of dreams,
weave stories deep in their nests,
scatter them low on the chestnut walk.

Ravens swoop at a pizza delivery man
unfortunate enough to find one of them dead.
And they, thinking he is to blame, attack:
armies of magpies, jackdaws and rooks.
They know. They know. But have it wrong.

And one lone seagull dives at a dog,
too big now to lift high into the air
Though the bird still lunges on cue. A game.
It glides over ducks and coots on river and canal,
dodging cloud-like wings of swans.

The American girl, who studied at McGill,
delighted in melodious bird-song at night,
the same music that wound itself
through bare trees as I left you
at the gates each night in the fading light.

This a the maze I have created
Crows, never far away, caw, caw, cawing
a warning that it is of my design.
I am too late, like this year’s cuckoo
with no nest to leave its eggs.

(Included in the Artistic Atlas of Galway.)