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Sep 2019 · 256
peeper
Tom Spencer Sep 2019
leaden night
heavy, humid

clinging to a weeping
window pane

the spring peeper
greets its kin

with metallic
cheeps

and ballooning
chin


Tom Spencer © 2019
Aug 2019 · 249
first car down the road
Tom Spencer Aug 2019
first car down the road
on a summer morning

scissortails and mockingbirds
scatter from the powerlines

rabbits bound ahead
and then dodge into the grasses

luxuriant and wild
grape vines

cloak the barbed wire
and smother the hackberries

cumulus clouds
still tinted pink and gold

rise lazily above
the freshly mown fields

with their stubble
and neatly rolled bales of hay

tires hum
leaves rustle in my wake

the heat has already
begun to pool

in shimmering illusions
that dissolve

on the blacktop ahead


Tom Spencer © 2019
Aug 2019 · 182
two silhouettes (Austin)
Tom Spencer Aug 2019
two silhouettes
on the overpass

one head down
looking at her phone

the other waving
a plastic wand

trailing soap bubbles
in the morning light


Tom Spencer © 2019
Aug 2019 · 603
a cloud of egrets
Tom Spencer Aug 2019
white wings
gleaming in the sun

a flashing pendulum
swinging steadily

back and forth
across the field

a cloud of egrets
stalks the tumult

churning from
the tractor’s wake


Tom Spencer © 2019
Jul 2019 · 208
the well of dreams
Tom Spencer Jul 2019
leaves shiver
windows rattle

but no rain falls
waking to the

unsettled edges
of a skirting storm

I find myself
drawn once again

a visitor to this place
this precipice

very briefly
brimming full

of possibility
and promise

but instead
like an autumn leaf

I answer
the gentle summons

and drift back into
the well of dreams


Tom Spencer © 2019
Jul 2019 · 364
after the rain
Tom Spencer Jul 2019
thinning clouds
drift eastward

fading light clings
to the trailing mist

in the sudden calm
beads of water

slip from the leaves
and are welcomed

by the thirsting earth
hibiscus flowers droop

ferns shimmer
distant thunder sounds

from the top of a tree
a mockingbird

celebrates this brief respite
from the summer heat

a neighbor steps out
and joins me for a moment

we fall silent
and drink our fill

Tom Spencer © 2019
Jun 2019 · 405
because I looked
Tom Spencer Jun 2019
because I looked
I saw the hummingbird return

to the same bare branch
on-top of the sunlit tree

and noted its zealous
round trips to the feeder

on the porch
and because I listened

to the katydids calling
only half understanding

their urgency
but certain of it

this otherwise quiet evening
signifying nothing in particular

reminds me of everything
in particular


Tom Spencer © 2019
May 2019 · 1.7k
fidelity
Tom Spencer May 2019
a door closes
and I hear him

shuffling down the hallway
his wife of sixty-six years

my mother
asleep, almost invisible

beneath the blankets
as fragile as a baby bird

he stops to wind
the grandfather clock

smiles and nods
“I smell that coffee”

ninety years-old
and still "up-and-at-em”

pills to ration
a newspaper to fetch

dishes to put away
meanwhile

back in their room
dreaming

she remembers
everything

standing by his side
she turns to meet his eyes

Tom Spencer © 2019
May 2019 · 277
beyond
Tom Spencer May 2019
vast
infinitely vast

soft spring sky
calmer than a waveless sea

swallows arc
with scythe-like wings

distant flecks
vanishing

beyond
the beyond



Tom Spencer © 2019
Apr 2019 · 303
suspended
Tom Spencer Apr 2019
suspended
holding my breath

as the crow floats down
lightened

before landing
wing tips fluttering

talons extended
reaching

for the top
of the powerline pole



Tom Spencer © 2019
Apr 2019 · 218
thirsting
Tom Spencer Apr 2019
after weeks of drought
waking up to thunder

and torrents of rain
flashes illuminate the darkness

silhouetting the trees
hail stones pound the roof

and shred the new leaves
lights flicker, windows rattle

as I peer out of the door
none of this compares

to the storm in my heart
your last words to me -

"I guess it is the two of us now"
yet, you are far away

and I am left thirsting
alone and uncertain

Tom Spencer © 2019
Apr 2019 · 490
ornaments
Tom Spencer Apr 2019
dangling from the
powerlines

crescent moon
and morning star

luminous jewels
suspended

above a blinking
stream of brake lights

crawling
into the dawn


Tom Spencer © 2019
Mar 2019 · 695
eager for dawn
Tom Spencer Mar 2019
spring morning,
still dark -
mockingbird song
eager for dawn

Tom Spencer © 2019
Mar 2019 · 647
packaged
Tom Spencer Mar 2019
before the stars
first flared

the ephemeral
becoming

the rising into
and slipping

out of being
is all that has ever been

an effervescent verging
pulsing on the cusp

between what was
and what will be

that place where we
experience

what is briefly
and beautifully real

but now
we have learned

how to package
even this

shrink-wrapping
and conforming

existence itself
into a virtual

and vacuous
commodity

a transaction
based on distraction

fleeting glances
gauged for profit

worth something
to someone

somewhere
a stalker browsing

for sleep-walkers
with available eyes


Tom Spencer © 2019
Mar 2019 · 276
illuminated
Tom Spencer Mar 2019
the sky is clearing
from east to west
illuminated
by the dawn
silver clouds
stream by
for a moment
the whole city glows
for a moment
even the grackles
fall silent

Tom Spencer © 2019
Mar 2019 · 481
cedar waxwings (2)
Tom Spencer Mar 2019
this morning
small flocks of
cedar wax wings
dashed into
and out of the fog
black flecks
fluttering
in a misty orb

this afternoon
yellow bellies
twisting through
a cloudless sky
they seemed
like schools
of glittering fish
streaming after prey


Tom Spencer © 2019
Mar 2019 · 978
cedar wax wings
Tom Spencer Mar 2019
thick clouds of mist
shroud the trees

heard then seen
cedar wax wings

pierce the gloom
their eager

shrill chatter
hungering for spring


Tom Spencer © 2019
Feb 2019 · 1.0k
dandelions
Tom Spencer Feb 2019
soaked with dew
one thousand dandelion puffs
glitter in the slanting light
from a distance - crystal blooms
close by - a yard full of weeds
and yet... oh Issa
and yet...

Tom Spencer © 2019
by Issa:
this world of dew
is only the world of dew -
and yet... oh and yet...
Feb 2019 · 296
seeing and being seen
Tom Spencer Feb 2019
riding the top-most
branch of the tree

as it bows to the wind
the crow dips down

and then
thrusts its beak upwards

cracking
the black wedge

it calls out
and ***** its head

listening -
off in the distance

beyond the glass
unheard by me

it detects a response
and glances over its shoulder

meeting my gaze
for a moment

each other looking
seeing and being seen

and then it
launches into the breeze

leaving me sailing
in a black eye’s bead



Tom Spencer © 2019
Feb 2019 · 376
highway roses
Tom Spencer Feb 2019
a bright morning
after a week of cold rain

roses bloom along
the highway overpass

no, it is just the blankets
of the homeless

hung out in the sun
to dry


Tom Spencer © 2019
Feb 2019 · 465
winter passage
Tom Spencer Feb 2019
slow stepping
through tall grass

the deer
navigates the meadow

by blazing starlight
head high, ears alert

stopping from time to time
to snort and stomp

sensing the unseen presence
holding its breath

a shiver amongst the shadows
of this leafless grove

Tom Spencer © 2019
Jan 2019 · 600
communion
Tom Spencer Jan 2019
deep into winter
the last viburnum leaf

tumbles unbound
and nestles

amongst its scattered
bretheren

the sleeping prophets
of soil and spring

each a paling dream
gently yielding

to the ceaseless
rhythm of abundance

Tom Spencer © 2019
Dec 2018 · 1.5k
suburban morning
Tom Spencer Dec 2018
dawn light
silhouettes the branches

dried leaves clatter
on the rooves and driveway

cardinal song
pierces the highway thrum

behind the rotting fence
a dog sniffs, whines and growls

the swimming pool scrubber
splashes and sinks with a shudder

one after the other descending planes
roar and then fade away

even in this labyrinth
of suburban sameness

everything is emerging
declaring itself

and then slipping away
like the feral cat

one moment
eyes locked on mine

next moment
disappearing behind the garage

Tom Spencer © 2018
Dec 2018 · 1.5k
highway scene
Tom Spencer Dec 2018
cold morning light
streams through
the concrete cathedral
beneath the highway

the clouded breath
of a homeless man
glows and curls
in the golden air

cars accelerate
and the wisp is swept
into dim
and hardened shadows


Tom Spencer © 2018
Dec 2018 · 3.0k
winter conversation
Tom Spencer Dec 2018
clouds race by
like kites with broken strings

trees sway
naked branches rattle

cold wind
stings my ears

you ask why I love
the winter

sycamore leaves tumble
and swirl through the garden

brittle sails
crackling air



Tom Spencer © 2018
Dec 2018 · 831
an owl sounds the darkness
Tom Spencer Dec 2018
drifting back to
sleep

listen
senses sharpen

an owl
sounds the darkness

distant
and then nearby

again
three muted hoots

pulses
from a hidden perch

where wide eyes
scan

for quivering
breath

in the shadows
undercover

ears wired
for wings


Tom Spencer © 2018
Dec 2018 · 297
a flurry of gold
Tom Spencer Dec 2018
a flurry of gold leaves
sails past

whirling into
and then out of

the sunlight streaming
between the buildings

everyone is in a hurry
eyes fixed on phones

headsets on
no one talking

only wind sound
and the dry scrape

and tumble of autumn
skittering down the curb

Tom Spencer © 2018
Nov 2018 · 665
empty nests
Tom Spencer Nov 2018
caught in a web
of bare branches
- a flock of empty nests

Tom Spencer © 2018
Nov 2018 · 694
signs and portents
Tom Spencer Nov 2018
a murmuration of starlings
shivers over an empty parking lot

blue sky emerges from the gloom
and then disappears again

indifferent to my approach, a stray cat
yawns and blinks its copper eyes

grackles gather on the powerlines
in the middle of the day

weeks early, autumn winds
chase leaves down the sidewalks

anxious about the fate of the nation
I search for signs and portents

a wave crests and then is gone
I comfort myself by remembering

that it has always been so

Tom Spencer © 2018
Nov 2018 · 793
scrub jays
Tom Spencer Nov 2018
a wisp of smoke rises
from the ash and embers

and curls into
the cold morning air

a group of scrub jays
hop from stone-to-stone

around the fire ring
enjoying the lingering warmth

and satisfying their curiosity
about the noisy intruders

I lift my coffee mug
to my lips

and they disappear
into the junipers

and wild persimmons
their raspy calls

reminding me
that I am on their turf

Tom Spencer © 2018
Nov 2018 · 1000
great horned owl
Tom Spencer Nov 2018
turning a corner
my headlights catch
a great horned owl
sailing through the darkness
wings outstretched
gliding on a cold north wind
a phantom conjured
by unyielding hunger
set aloft and still verging
from shadow to shadow
hours later
in the warmth of my room


Tom Spencer © 2018
Nov 2018 · 661
alley cats
Tom Spencer Nov 2018
morning rain
spatters the porch

the alley cats
have eaten their fill

and linger
as they rub cheeks

circling
one another

a swirling eddy
of contentment

they drift
closer to my side

but warily
still half wild

in a few minutes
they will slip away

like rain
on a summer day

Tom Spencer © 2018
Nov 2018 · 1.3k
unexpected rain
Tom Spencer Nov 2018
awakened
in the middle of the night
by unexpected rain
pattering the roof
and dripping off of the leaves
I guess I should have watched
the forecast
but I am glad that I didn’t
even in this wet season
a surprise visit
from an cherished friend
reassures this sleepy old man
and sets me adrift
dreaming of spring

Tom Spencer © 2018
Nov 2018 · 808
dream
Tom Spencer Nov 2018
waking from a dream
of combing through
forgotten files
with neatly labeled folders

under “warblers”
I found a cellophane
envelope enfolding
a black and white bird

I opened the envelope
and the bird awoke
fluffing its feathers
in a cloud of dust

I offered
an outstretched
palm of seeds
which the bird ignored

hopping onto my finger
it glanced out the window
and sang -
forget the seeds

forget my name
open the window
- which I did
and it flew away

Tom Spencer © 2018
Oct 2018 · 252
and then more rain
Tom Spencer Oct 2018
day after gloomy day
black and gray clouds

smudge and smear the sky
rain followed by mist

and then more rain
the streams are choked

with mud and debris
autumn grasses bow down

in sodden ranks
water drips from trees and eaves

just a few weeks ago
the earth was cracking

confused by the change
redbuds are blooming

and amid the tangle
of mottled leaves and

slick black branches  
plum blossoms are opening

I lean in trying to detect
the lush fragrance

but the sky opens up again
and I splash back through the garden

my clothes are soaked through
spring will have to wait


Tom Spencer © 2018
Oct 2018 · 5.1k
pulling back the covers
Tom Spencer Oct 2018
pulling back the covers
dimming the lights

an owl calls
from the holly tree

just outside
of my window

the garden below
has grown beyond my control

weeds sprout vines tangle
in the summer squirrels gnaw

on the green holly berries
littering the courtyard

with half-eaten haws
in the spring mockingbirds

gorge on the bright red fruit
their florid songs

celebrating
light sky life sun leaf air

closing my eyes
I think back through the decades

to when I planted the tree
it was a time of hope

a time when we dared dream
of a world without

mortal enemies
when you could imagine

shaded islands of calm
hidden coves immune to rancor

now look at us
heads down lost hurtling

stumbling
under a trance

we have turned on one other
distracted by those

who grab wealth and power
under the cover of night

confused by the constant
trumpeting and alarms

blind to what we share
we retreat

into the darkness
of our fears

Tom Spencer © 2018
Sep 2018 · 1.3k
Ryoan-ji
Tom Spencer Sep 2018
temple garden
pebble waves break
against islands of
moss and stone
pink cherry petals
drift on the tide

Tom Spencer © 2018
Sep 2018 · 376
contrail slash
Tom Spencer Sep 2018
contrail slash
glows above the clouds
one moment kite string thin
next blurred by the wind

Tom Spencer © 2018
Sep 2018 · 488
Two Crows (autumn)
Tom Spencer Sep 2018
early autumn
a stiff north breeze

sweeps away
the oppressive heat

two crows
are nestled down

in the swaying leaves
below my window

beak touching beak
a brief inkling

of intimacy
before they rise

one after the other
strapping black wings

straining
then sailing

two exultant caws
cast into the wind

Tom Spencer © 2018
Sep 2018 · 794
roadside
Tom Spencer Sep 2018
cloud mountains
rise above the plains

a veil of gray
sweeps the horizon

wind brings
the scent of rain

cars rush past
heading for the city

breathe in deeply
just plowed soil

just mowed field
listen

distant thunder
insect rattle

grass rustling
cars roaring

we live in troubled times
blind unbound

deaf to calm
solicitation

time's relentless
propulsion and hissing

churning pressing
my family is waiting

I turn back to my car
both sated and shaken

reminded to breathe
to see to be filled

even for a moment
to be grateful

that grass and field
soil and wind

and gauzy far-off rain
will defy our clamor

and complaint
and will remain


Tom Spencer © 2018
Sep 2018 · 893
rain lilies
Tom Spencer Sep 2018
long hidden
now seen

ten thousand
rain lilies

echo
summer's end

Tom Spencer © 2018
Aug 2018 · 1.7k
canyon wren song
Tom Spencer Aug 2018
dry creek bed
a silvery flow
slips between
sun baked stones -
canyon wren song

Tom Spencer © 2018
Aug 2018 · 3.9k
door mat cat
Tom Spencer Aug 2018
moon faced
door mat cat

velvet tent ears
and stripes

faintly glowing
in the kitchen light

eyes track
my routine

paws tucked-under
quiet, waiting


Tom Spencer © 2018
Aug 2018 · 3.5k
black bee
Tom Spencer Aug 2018
black bee
head first in a

hibiscus flower
waxy pollen beads

dabbled down
its gleaming back

foraging done
it shimmies out

to spy the next
allurement

darting and hovering
as it chooses its mark

close enough
to feel its pulsing whir

breeze the hair
on my arm

I hover too
allured

and unfurled
before turning to dart

through this
shimmering world


Tom Spencer © 2018
Aug 2018 · 1.2k
lesser goldfinch
Tom Spencer Aug 2018
hearing the
plaintive notes

I scan the
branches

but no flash
of yellow

or acrobatic
flits

hidden singer
wistful song

lesser goldfinch

who dared give you
that name


Tom Spencer © 2018
Aug 2018 · 317
summer haiku
Tom Spencer Aug 2018
garden hum
yellow bell flowers
rung by bees

Tom Spencer © 2018
Aug 2018 · 13.9k
water here
Tom Spencer Aug 2018
up early to water
the garden

the cicadas are
already drilling holes

into the
leaden stillness

everywhere
leaves are drooping

I spray the shrubs
to wash off the dust

birds fly in to sit
on the dripping branches

begging for a shower
a cardinal flutters  

its wings and sings
and I oblige

jewel-like droplets splash
through the slanting light

everywhere
the world is ablaze

heat waves wild fires
everywhere anger

everywhere distraction
suspicion

leaders are faint-hearted
the wicked fan the flames

still my garden needs water
still the cardinal

flutters its wet wings
and sings

here here water here
here here water here

Tom Spencer © 2018
Jul 2018 · 4.1k
existence
Tom Spencer Jul 2018
standing behind
a wall of reflections

gazing into a canyon
of steel and glass

movement
from the opposite wall

a curtain sways
and a silhouette turns

from the glinting
and the figure

standing
in the polished glare

Tom Spencer © 2018
Jul 2018 · 678
summer haikus
Tom Spencer Jul 2018
buzzard shadow
melts
in a two lane
mirage

in the dust of a
tractor's wake -
a churning cloud
of egrets


Tom Spencer © 2018
Jul 2018 · 1.8k
Untitled
Tom Spencer Jul 2018
reading about
evening stillness
  hearing
the sparrows'
morning chatter


Tom Spencer © 2018
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