1: living room

Tiny russet spots
dance like molecules
over the mushroom
expanse of my overstuffed
a rug braids its oval self
on top of long thin slats of oak
staggered together side by side
flooring my world

floor to ceiling shelves spill
over with books, a Buddha, and dragons
budded stems
pruned from a sweet Adelaide rosebush
waft scents from a
knotty pine table with sturdy square
legs that tame the
red yellow green tan
threads ovaling beneath it
my father fashioned the table magic
with a lid that hinges open on springs
pull the top up and
work or eat in luxury
in front of our big ass plasma television
that frightened me when it first arrived
but gradually became the norm
in the morning it sits quietly
while words find their way from the air to my computer

2: pianos and birds

In the great room
Sophia swings and squawks the morning alive
a pirate parrot, queen of the salty sea
her red life drowns itself dry
in a house in Montana
feathered friend
sorrow surrounds you
in me
my super sweet wish is to see you fly free

sometimes the birds and I sing
while their pupils dilate and constrict
we rock out the long morning hours of summer
later Len rips out ragtime tunes on the Baldwin upright
as LB the black-cheeked conure bobs and weaves on his shoulder
when he switches to Beethoven or old Christian hymns
LB swoons

The prompt from Pamela Sayers and We Write Poems asked that we record observations, preferrably from the place where we write. I write on the couch in the living room, usually when I’m home alone so the tv is off. 🙂 The birds’ squawking is always nearby.

25 thoughts on “observations

  1. Brenda, I envy your “floor to ceiling shelves”, but it surprises me not a bit that they “spill / over with books”. I loved all the visuals of the first section, such imagery that it was easy for me to imagine you writing this poem with the “big ass plasma television” turned off. And all the sounds of the second section with the birds; I love your description of Sophia.



  2. Brenda: I could just say “ditto” to all that’s already been said. But I will add one personal note: I loved the line “while words find their way from the air to my computer”…that is SO where I feel like the words come from. Straight out of the air! I suppose I especially feel that way being so new to this whole writing experience. For 44 years i haven’t been a “writer”…definitely not a “poet”. It truly has appeared, like magic, out of thin air. So glad to have found you in the process.


  3. You are an extremely gracious hostess Brenda. Allowing all of us to troop through your living space, gawk and rubber-neck. Love what you did with the prompt and agree with a great deal of what Neil says. This poem extends a hand, invites, and satisfies the senses. Thank you,



  4. There seems to be such a harmony between the animate and inanimate in the space that you have described. There is something called “Vaastushastra” , that some follow here in India, basically about the ambience for harmonious living. Your room spells that kind of magic:-)Would have loved to stop by 🙂


    • Thank you for your kind comments. This room does have some magic, but sometimes I fear the noise drowns it out. Vaastushastra sounds like Feng Shui, which has worked its way west, and is about balance in living space. I love your statement – “a harmony between the animate and inanimate.” Thank you for giving me something to ponder this morning.


  5. Mmmm what can I say? That this is a study of stillness and movement. I like the structure. Golly, a parrot in the living room, how fabulous Brenda. Does it eat a lot of corn? My dad used to keep a parrot, and it’s corn everyday.


    • Sophia loves cooked corn, she is a clown with a cob. There is too much dried corn in the commercial food we buy, she doesn’t eat that, so it sits in her bowl at the end of the day. She tries to rehydrate them in her water bowl, but they don’t rehydrate well. She does rehydrated dried fruit and veggies from time to time (and gets plenty of fresh). Interesting creatures, these squawkers. 🙂


  6. Change not one molecule!

    That’s to say, if you were asking me. But who am I to say about your magic here? I peer through the window, only a passing gust. Yet pass, depart, well feed I think with a dose of wood and feathers between my toes. So if you want to say “no meat”, then I reply, rich blood-full marrow then, the very root of things being as we might wish of them.

    This poem might just change the very air I breath, the skies I choose to pray keep me safe. There’s a reason for being, and this poem knows just why.

    Brenda, when I appended this prompt to suggest, “don’t worry about being simple, about not making the scene dramatic”, I’d intended to encourage folks to grant themselves willingness to just let things be. But this poem, you, have pierced straight through that gossamer wish and arrived, given us the very heart of place and relationship, more than “making it real”. You’ve made it breath, given everything this prompt asked of us – made this still life actually move (quietly, even if with a dancing squawk or two!).

    It’s not so oft that I read something that genuinely invites me to feel this much glad for having read. Saying well done is shallow thanks for this poem’s gift!



    • How refreshing to look at the poem through your eyes. Thank you for taking the time to go into depth and share your thoughts. Wow. I am grateful that you stopped by, and that I waited until this morning to read comments. Your feeding my fire, Neil, and I deeply appreciate it. Morning is a beautiful thing. It’s a new day, and here I am on the couch again, you make me want to write more.


  7. It would be difficult to find a more descriptive piece. It would be interesting to find out what Fiona would think of an in-the-house bird. She was bred to point and retrieve, but accepts anything I tell her is okay.


    • We have cats and dogs. They all leave Sophia alone, but she rules the roost. Our smaller birds are caged unless they are out with us and supervised. I’m sure the cats would go after them. Fiona would love/hate a big bird. Especially if it learned to say her name. 🙂


  8. Love the humor in the first poem about the plasma screen tv…that made me laugh! I enjoyed both poems, I especially enjoyed these lines: In the great room
    Sophia swings and squawks the morning alive
    I like that you have a wish to see her fly free!


  9. Ahh, a kindred spirit. I too speak with grackles and crows. They call me Brother Bird. I enjoyed the traipsing around your room. I particularly found the ethereal quality of words from thin air finding their way to your computer a spatial event for most poetic expression. Magical how that works, isn’t it?


    • Thanks for stopping Donald. Yup…my email moniker is birdbren…lol. We could get together and squawk. Sometimes yes, the poems flow magical. Other times they take a lot of work. It’s the magic that keeps me coming back. 🙂


  10. Brenda, I thought I remember you saying you had a couple of parrots. I can see your living room clearly. You have oak floors, oh, I am so envious. I miss wooden floors! I love how you explain the tv. When Michael bought our plasma two years ago, I felt the same way as you. It seemed so imposing and in your face. Nice write and descriptions 🙂



    • Thanks Pamela. Yes, but we get used to the monstrous intrusion of television. I love our floors, they are much easier to keep clean than carpeting. Yes, birds live in our house with us. They are calm today (knock on wood). I think their mood fluctuates with weather. Thanks for stopping.


  11. Does everyone have a parrot? Although, I used to. Love some of your phrasing “mushroom expanse” “a rug braids its oval self”. I think this prompt has been particularly fun, as it is allowing us to see each other’s spaces.



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