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poetry by j matthew waters

Archive for the category “Birds”

wondering what tomorrow will bring


white swans on the lake
united as a collective or afloat
as solitary souls
spotted here and there
like triangular sails at a standstill
soft and steady raindrops
pelleting the reflective surface
all around them

soon all daylight will be gone
and I will have exhausted my stay
an unfamiliar melancholy
sinking in as replacement lights
emerge one by one
leaving me wondering
how long the swans will remain
after I’m gone





april two thousand nineteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

bluebird missing outside my window


today I shall shed a tear
and attempt this thing
called poetry


a half a world away
you lived
though I swear you were
next door
scratching out words
for all the world to read
one morning
one day
one night at a time

there comes a time
when the bird no longer
tweets her morning song
and is it then you come to realize
we’re no different from one another
no different than the branch
is to the bough
no different than the song
is to the bird
more melodious than ever
lamenting outside
our southern window





march two thousand nineteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

on the fringes picking up pieces


you see me in your dream
taking notes on the sidelines
while the rest of the gang
sit on high like a panel of judges
or a murder of crows
calling on the next witness

I keep my wings tucked
inside my black jacket
pacing back and forth
along the roadside
keeping my mouth shut
and pretending I’m all alone

you’re the only one
recognizing me for who I am
perfectly capable of joining
your little inner circle
but modestly more at ease
scavenging on my own terms





march two thousand nineteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

unlikely guardians


who will speak to me next
as if in tomorrow
standing here on the ground
looking up
bird’s nest in the open air
curious cat in my peripheral

I realize I’m not alone anymore
it only feels that way
stepping out of my skin
for the very first time
and looking back
through a bottomless mirror

so it seems the bird and cat
have been chosen
to encourage me on
one pushing
the other pulling
both bickering
in their own beautiful way





march two thousand nineteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

with no place to go


I’m sitting in a rocking chair
next to the bay window
paralyzed
a ray of light shining through
warming my hands

inside a clock is ticking
a fire burning
eyes shut tight I listen
to the house settling
as finches gather
in nearby spindle tree

I’ve watched the cycling
of the seasons
for so many years gone by
seemingly
from this very place
where the passage of time
simply stands still




february two thousand nineteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

counting blue birds


certain things bring tears to my eyes
but I’m not about to let anyone
in on my little secrets

she asked me ‘penny for my thoughts’
and I replied how I really miss
counting blue birds from the deck

autumn was short and the winter cruel
and I was forced to retreat
back to the days of my youth

how I wanted her to accompany me
but I needed her to stay behind
in case they return while I’m away




january two thousand nineteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

simply by closing your eyes


listen and the words will follow
though they may not be the ones
you want to hear

if you practice patience you will
learn to rearrange them
turning lies into truths
and hatred into understanding

on the banks of fortuity
you may be able to slow things down
simply by closing your eyes
and making good use of your breath

and if you’re willing to travel
further on down the stream
letting yourself go
allowing otherworldy sounds
to become your rhythm
the gods that be may take notice
making an exception to the rule
by granting you a bird’s eye view




january two thousand nineteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

january thaw


winter winds unusually warm
bringing back birds I’ve not seen
in what seems like ages
suddenly returning in waves

I’ve been flying and foraging
for nearly a fortnight now
blending in with a family of
black-capped chickadees

I almost forgot what is was like
to be amongst a family
of five or fifty or five hundred
coexisting effortlessly




january two thousand nineteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

the last migration


nobody talks about birds
growing older
but here we are
sitting on park benches
bread crumbs in our hands

this sitting down is for birds
I say out loud
and you naturally agree
without speaking a word

it’s a warm winter’s day
and our shadows
are barely visible on the
black asphalt
like skinny icicles hanging
ever slowly changing




december two thousand eighteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

looking beyond the darker side


wherein your frustrations lay
a memory resides worth unearthing
buried beneath fortunes good and bad
a reminder of better times ahead

emotions tied to the ebb and flow
whether near the sea or far from shore
and strung along by hypersensitive moon
swim in your tumultuous waters

waves of intensity arise unannounced
testing your capacity for compassion
a merry reminder there’s nowhere to hide
when violet-backed starlings come around




december two thousand eighteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserve

cunning like a songbird


in the kitchen uncaged canaries
chat amongst themselves
swapping oft-told tales and
keeping secrets from
black & white cat crouched
against shadowy wall

outside red-breasted nuthatches
mimic dog barking at jet airliner
piercing cumulus clouds
waiting for aforementioned feline
to give them another chance
at target practice




december two thousand eighteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserve

weeks before winter solstice


north by northwest winds do blow
giving rise to wooden and metallic chimes
previously content and on the down-low

I thought I had put them away for the winter
but alas they are alive again
imitating hummingbirds feeding voraciously
somewhere below the tropic of cancer

although the fire may be burning bright
do not shutter your windows my dear
for tomorrow a shining light may arrive
bringing forth the freshest of air




november two thousand eighteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserve

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