Rooster’s big day

Rooster opens an eye. Dark. Of course. Gently, he ruffles his feathers, shifts his feet, opens both eyes. Clears his throat. Big day ahead. As usual. He will eat and drink later: now, there’s work to do.

He hears movement and knows the black hen is peering toward him. She likes to watch him work, likes to witness his skill, likes to be there for the first moment to know he has succeeded once again.

Rooster hops down from the rail and walks out the door of the coop to the wire fence. The end of the moon tosses a little light into the yard, and the stars wink. Goodnight, Rooster tells them, Your work is done. Sleep. He hears the black hen walk into the yard behind him. Then he clears his throat again, settles his feathers, and begins.

He knows he has timed it perfectly. He’s been at this for years. As a young cock he was sometimes hasty, started early, worked too hard. It is hard work, it takes stamina, but he knows his job and he never falters, never fails. And after the first big haul, it only takes a little well-timed effort here and there during the day until it’s time for night again.

ERRR-a-ERRR-a-ERRRRRR! ERRR-a-ERRR-a-ERRRRRR! ERRR-a-ERRRRRR! ERRR-a-ERRRRRR!

Rooster pauses for a breath. One more. ERRR-a-ERRRRRRRRRRR! And there. The tiniest slip of pale golden light appears behind the trees on the far horizon. Rooster nods. The black hen sits down. ERRR-a-ERRR-a-ERRRRRR!, cries Rooster, as he pulls the sun into the sky.

Five Reasons to Love the Long Nights of Winter

After a bright afternoon’s quickening light
To be cradled by dusk,
Its slowly sit-down darkening

To contemplate the softening outline of the old cat
Curled warm on your grey-trousered lap

To watch the women and men with briefcases and backpacks
Walk from the bus toward darkened houses

To see a glow appear here or there and know
The tired homecomings have begun

To unravel the mysteries of your heart
That can only be glimpsed when the busy sun
Pulls up its thick shadows
And the arms of the evening encompass all

____________________

I have finished striding through the day

I have finished striding through the day
and yearn now for small comforts

a familiar chair
a soft lamp
a half-read book
an old cat

Let go of the adventures
and the glad-handing
let the workers
return to their families

let me find my way to tomorrow’s courage
as night folds down