Whales and Wailing — A Dream

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“Whales & Wailing” — C.Birde, 8/17


The building is a single story, squat and square with walls made entirely of windows. Situated on the beach, it stares blindly over the great, gray stretch of ocean. Lace-edged waves lap and curl against the sandy shore. All seems tranquil, quiet. Stand before the barrier windows, though, hands pressed to the glass; glance left – the serenity is broken. A killer whale is caught in the shallow water, breached. Taut, sleek ,black and white skin runs with seawater. A pectoral fin lists skyward. The large mouth, arrayed with rows of sharp teeth, hangs slack – a shadowed pink cavern.

Howl an animal cry. For the waste of life. For the selfishness. For callous business decisions and profit margins that disregard the larger picture. For the tangled and interconnected web in which we are all a part. For compassionless, human hubris.

Howl again, in anguish while all those surrounding continue, unpreturbed, with their individual tasks. Heads bent over papers and devices, they remain unaware, detached. Unconcerned for the great creature’s suffering and passing; unmoved by the strangled human wail that issues from amidst their own.

All but one. She approaches. A little girl, wide-eyed and concerned. How old – eight, nine, ten? She feels it, too. The grief. The suffering. But her hand is firm, her touch warm. Her very presence anchors, halves the pain.

Cling to her. Don’t let go. Fight it. Together.


— C.Birde, 8/17



Small Storms — A Poem

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“Sunset Poppy” — C.Birde, 5/17


It is not the rain,

nor the drawn, pewtered sky,

but the unexpected rupture,

the rent calm and

aftermath of grief

that pulls,


drags like teeth

through shorn grass.

The price of a heart


Bear it.

Embrace it.

Sit with it —

an old friend come

to pay respects —

till inching hours blunt

the tooth-and-claw edges.

Ride it out,

like the small,


significant storm

that it is.


— C.Birde, 5/17



Treebeard, in Memoriam — Images

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“Treebeard, 2016” — C.Birde, 2/17

It is with a heavy heart that I bear news of Treebeard’s passing. He was felled Wednesday, February 22, 2017. Treebeard was lifelong resident of Greenwood Cemetery, Boonton, and quite possibly, he had made his home there prior to the Cemetery’s establishment in 1876. We became acquainted in his twilight years, twenty-six years ago, and I knew him to be a patient, generous, and forgiving soul. He had seen much in his nearly two centuries. After the loss of a major limb, many years before our first meeting, he sheltered countless families of squirrel’s and birds and insects, without complaint. Concurrent with this limb’s loss, he accepted a vining growth which leant him his moniker. He rooted and grew, suffered and succored. His was a fine example to follow. Though his stump remains to mark his place, I will miss his presence — the green shade of his crown, the length and all-encompassing reach of his shadow; I will miss the song of wind through his leaves, the creak and groan of his massive branches. Rest well, Treabeard. In lieu of flowers, please plant a tree, or nurture and appreciate those you share your life with, whether daily or in passing.

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“Treebeard’s Stump” — C.Birde, 2/17

Treebeard’s stump is an impressive 60+ inches across.

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“Treebeard’s Midsection” — C.Birde, 2/17

Treebeard’s midsection, measuring over 140 inches in circumference.



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“Treebeard’s Cavity” — C.Birde, 2/17

The massive cavity that, doubtless, lead to his undoing.



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“Treebeard’s Remains” — C.Birde, 2/17

The trunk of Treebeard lays stacked in Greenwood Cemetery’s center.


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“Treebeard 2016” — C.Birde




Blades & Branches — A Poem

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“Branches” — C.Birde, 2/17


the grind

and grumble

of saw and blade


Air parts,

earth trembles;





heartwood —



and chewed

in joyless


Sentinel Maples

or Evergreen Guard,

Merriam or

Addis Oak,


or Treebeard –

When next I walk,

whose absence


I mark?


— C.Birde, 2/17


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