What's Tony Thinking

A Poem for New Year


We’ve had some glorious days lately. On one of those I walked in nearby Discovery Park, where I volunteer as a guide and writing instructor. Afterwords, I wrote this poem, which I hope you enjoy. Happy New Year.


What I Saw

On the North Beach trail
a fellow bird-watcher
and I passed,
our binoculars announcing kinship.

“Seen anything good?,” he asked,
his scratchy white-beard opening in a smile.
“Good” in bird-watcher tends to mean unusual, rare, cool,
if not outright exotic, then a close cousin.

I thought about what I’d seen . . .
two mergansers in the surf their sweeping rust-colored head feathers
a true and perfect “duck-tail” do,
unlike some of their human imitators.

And a particularly industrious black-capped chickadee
excavating bugs from the bark
of a broken alder branch
with the intensity of a minature jackhammer.

And a plain-old robin
flying in that on-again, off-again way of theirs,
vanishing into the dark-as-a-closet interior of a western, red cedar,
no longer seen but heard — “cheep” “cheep.”

And the seal bobbing in the high tide
a “king tide” of 12 feet, 8 inches
waters that made the shores of sequestered Puget Sound
slap with waves nearly as furious as those of the Oregon Coast in November.

Oh, and the snow-covered Olympics to the west,
the two peaks of The Brothers,
and a little to the north, Mt. Constance,
and to the south, Mt. Rainier, topped with two little puffs — smoke signals — of cloud.

“Seen anything good?” asked my compatriot.
I fumbled for an answer,
“Not really,” I said. Then after a pause, I added,
“only ordinary miracles.”

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