Thursday, June 7, 2007


A week ago I noticed commotion in the palm tree outside my window. I moved to the glass slowly and watched two creatures darting to and from a branch. A pair of mourning doves were frantically carting plant matter to the tree and hastily building a nest. But what a nest. Twigs seemed to spill out into a shapeless and carelessly crafted shanty, like shelter one would erect, stranded in the woods, as a hurricane rolled in. Next thing, the lady bird sat down, swelling like a cartoon of herself. What happened to planning? I wondered.

The idyll was short-lived. The neighboring bluejays didn't take kindly to the interlopers. Within hours they began strafing the area around the tree and screeching with ballistic aggression that, at times, resembled a diabolical "Hah". Mr. Mourning Dove stood anxiously on the edge of the palm frond, nervously watching Ms. Dove. Was there a military action in the works--a skirmish, perhaps? Or, worse, an outright territorial dispute? I had no doubt that the jays, twice the size of the doves and with a belligerent disposition to match, would win.

The next day the nest was deserted.


michael said...

I have read your reviews off and on over the years, first in print and now on the net. I come to them, I read them, I walk away full of wonder, in every sense of the term: curiosity, surprise, astonishment. It gladens my heart that you have created a writers' life for your self.Happy Birthday. Michael.

ann murphy said...

is that you?
thank you, michael.
i've worked hard.

From Rilke:

Only he who has also raised
his lyre among the shadows
may find his way back
to infinite praise.

Only he who has eaten with the dead
from their stores of poppy
will never again lose
the softest chord.

And though the pool's reflection
often blurs before us:
Know the image.

Only in the double realm
do the voices become
eternal and mild.