Only when the begging cries of the crow fledglings finally cease do I notice the air’s clarity, golden light glistening on a black birch.


  1. substitute chickadee, robin and grackle fledglings here!

    1. Do they have annoying cries too? I tell ya, the crows are almost as bad as human infants!

      1. If I were their mother, I would be tempted to smack them, relentless and impatient!

  2. I like that this stone is true to the flow of nature observation. One thing draws your attention, then you notice other things, and that leads you further on…for as long as you can spare the time!

    1. Thanks. Yeah, that’s the way it works in reality — and it’s also one of the easiest ways to write a compelling microblog piece, I’ve found: go for the arresting juxtaposition. I use the 140-character limit at Twitter to enforce concision, and two observations are generally all I can fit in.


    The golden light glistening on a black birch
    tells it all. How glorious can that summer sheen
    be, seen against the mottled birch branches?

    How crisply clear could a day be when cackles
    of hungry fledgling crows remain unanswered?
    Is it the aborted cry that restores a morning calm?

    Have all the querulous puling benumbed this
    valley into a lull not unlike that of a dead day’s
    silence? Let them beg all they want. Let them cry.

    Does anyone hear the starving orphan’s plea
    cutting through these barriers of pine and poplar?
    Do we hear them still erupting from Haiti’s debris?

    Are there cankered mouths in Ethiopia waiting
    for morsel? Can anyone locate the burnt slums
    now floating with lilies and dog’s carrion in floods

    all over the earth, from Manila to Missouri, from
    China to India, from Brazil to temblor-struck Chile?
    Do we still remember the children of New Orleans?

    Their cri d’coeur have not stopped, but the crows
    have ceased. I notice the bright day break through
    the swaying willow trees, but my morning tea is cold.

    —Albert B. Casugs

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