In dead of night, in silent places,
The deer creep out and take their places
For midnight dancing, their footsteps prancing.
They circle round a leafless tree,
For now it’s winter, though they might be
There other times — in summer, perhaps.
Soon rabbits join them, an inner ring,
If you have ears, you hear them sing,
The lilting rabbit Hopping Song.
Next squirrels join in; it’s quite a din
To hear their tch-tch, as they grin
And join the creature chorus.
Don’t leave out mice; you must look twice
To see their little bodies quiver —
A dancing river.
So don’t disturb the animal fiesta —
You thought they would be taking siesta —
But to your wonder, you found their frolic.
We don’t live in the wilderness
Plenty of creatures entertain us
‘Round ‘bout my house
Seagulls and crows –
Didn’t think they’d mix
But they’re up to tricks
Like picking our roof apart
They congregate in noisy flocks
They roost in the ash and redwood trees
They wheel and turn in the chill, clear sky
(Once when the wind was rising
In the California summer
And fires began to rage in the distance
The crows wheeled ominously above
With loud and raucous screeching)
Squirrels add their voice to the chorus
With angry squawking at my cat
Or spiraling up (or down) the trees,
Chasing each other
Butterflies bring silent rest notes
To the symphony
I hear a hum – nothing less
Than a hummingbird
Doing acrobatic dips and swirls
And in summer
The fence lizard skitters shyly away
The animal chorus –
Perhaps out of tune,
But welcome in the silence