Category Archives: animals

“Startling Starlings” from Thrown Again into the Frazzle Machine


Startling Starlings
Everett Road west of Riverwoods

In the middle of a murmuration
landscape and sky covered by wings
myriad dark apparently separate bodies
climb and swoop and soar in evident synchrony,
how can that be? Mysterious symphony
immersed in all that majestic energy
a blessing particularly chosen for me.

Margaret Dubay Mikus
© 2011

From Thrown Again into the Frazzle Machine

I am posting this poem here for Harold Grandstaff Moses who mentioned this phenomenon today on Facebook. This is my experience of murmuration. If you don’t know this term, it is that swooping, soaring sky-dance of a huge flock of starlings that stay in perfect synchrony. Amazing to witness! I was near my house, driving by an open field and into the middle of this awesome spectacle. I stopped the car to watch and laughed out loud at the wonder of it.

Thrown Again into the Frazzle Machine: Poems of Grace, Hope, and Healing is now available in print as well as popular E-book formats. (The paperback has black and white photos and the E-book has 11 full color pictures with the poems.) Check it out! And spread the word! Thank you!

THROWN AGAIN into the FRAZZLE MACHINE: Poems of Grace, Hope, and Healing

Treasures from the Past

All my poems are originally handwritten in spiral notebooks. Last week I was looking through old writing notebooks and discovered many of the poems from 2000-2002 were not in the computer, the only place they can be useful. So I have begun, in the midst of all my other plans, to every day enter at least a few. It is like time travel. Entering a life so different from the one I have now, and yet recognizable. More naive in some ways, some of the same truths coming through. My children were teens and now they are grown. I wrote differently then. Most of the poems I will probably not do much more with, just for me to see. But I am compelled to have the complete set. I seems important for some reason to find something or see something for the life I am now leading. Already I have found poems I remembered and had searched for and not found, until now. And today this one, which I like a lot, a buried treasure.


Midnight at High Moon

A thought to go to my window
and watch as I used to.

Two deer came to feed
on seeds knocked down

by careless birds
now laying on the crust.

The deer came dark and slow
against deep white of snow,

the storm from days ago
that melted on top and refroze.

They scooped up the seeds,
and still as marble

watched and waited
for what in the moonlight?

A third form
from the other side of the fence

slowly trod one crunching step
after another.

The two stopped feeding
and went over

and slowly, with no deliberate speed,
with no apparent notice

of bare slender legs and bootless feet,
all three made their way west

toward the forest
and the western end of the fence,

sharp soot silhouettes
blending into charcoal shadow.

And all was bright and still
under the midnight high moon.

Margaret Dubay Mikus
© 2000

Deer in Backyard                        (C) 2012 Margaret Dubay Mikus

Deer in Backyard (C) 2012 Margaret Dubay Mikus

Unexpected Fierce Mother

Amazed, I looked out into my wooded yard today. At first I thought some crows were attacking a large rabbit. But it was the other way around. She (I assume is was a she) was chasing after two huge crows like a mini-sheep dog. Ah! A tiny bunny running scared along the brick of the back of the house. Cowering in the mulch at the corner of the step. Stay there! I urged from inside, but he kept on running along the edge of the house and out of sight. Fearless and tireless, the momma kept after those crows whenever they dove down with their black wings widespread. She stopped to rest only when the threatening birds were far up in the trees or flew into the field behind us. I was called away by someone at the door, so I don’t know what happened in the end. But I was rooting for the rabbits. Even though they eat our garden, they are such a delight to see, especially the magic of the babies.

The apparently fierce mother reminded me of this poem:


The Fierceness of Loving

Now you are gone
the silence has a presence of its own.

I have longed to get back
to my other life,

the one that continues when you leave;
my gift to you, this letting go.

I missed you the moment you left
and allowed myself that time to grieve

and keen and then as therapy
I began to clean,

partly restoring order,
partly to focus on something concrete

and unrelated, partly meditation,
fulfilling my dream of good intention.

I missed you before you left
and struggled against

the thoughts that brought tears,
for after all you were still here.

And now
to resume a life disrupted,

not to pick up the same threads exactly—
for the river of life continued to flow

carrying me to new harbors,
opening fresh possibilities.

Thank you for coming back to us,
what joy to watch you grow!

How much I have learned
about the fierceness of loving.

Margaret Dubay Mikus
© 2004

From my new book, Letting Go and New Beginnings: A Mother’s Poetic Journey
and my CD, Full Blooming: Selections from a Poetic Journal

All Manner of Critters

I was moved by a recent article in the newspaper. A local woman had started a pet food pantry to help people keep their pets in these hard financial times. Animals are so important to us. I thought of poems I had written and pictures I had taken of all manner of critters over the years. Once I started looking, I found more than I remembered. Here are a few.


Birds on a Line

How many birds
can sit on a line
not quite wing to wing?

How many birds
can sit for how long,
waiting patiently
to burst into song?

Margaret Dubay Mikus
© 1996


Convention in Town

Such loud birds
at the Caw Caw Convention
with all their early morning
blustering and posturing,

throwing their weight around
to get first dibs at breakfast,
not caring who hears them or who
wakes up to their raucous conversations.

Margaret Dubay Mikus
© 1996



There are as many ways
to fly as varieties of birds.
There is no right way,
only flying or not flying.

Some birds glide gracefully
going far on one powerful stroke;
some flutter glide, flutter glide
or breast stroke in peaks and slopes.

All get where they are going,
as they were designed.
The only wrong way is to not fly
and then starve in body and spirit

for the lack of soaring.

Margaret Dubay Mikus
© 1996


Once Again

Once again, as in all other years,
robins are seen in abundance
and tiny black and white birds
flock and flit in still bare branches,
and in morning light now, gentle calls
float into my dreaming ear.

Once again, as in all other years,
grass will green and buds will sprout
and weeds and flowers alike
will grow in rich profusion.
Rabbits may come or ducks,
to lay hopeful eggs in our daylily bed.

Chipmunks will scurry
and frogs and insects of all description
will bellow full-throated song.
And maybe the occasional snake
will be seen sunning on a convenient warm step.

As in all other years, wind will blow,
sometimes raging, through fresh green leaves
of all shapes that will enclose
my particular grateful space.
For in this winter past
I often wondered in my darkness,
if spring would ever come.

Margaret Dubay Mikus
© 1997


What Do We Know

of the lives of dogs,
of the richness
or lack
of their conversation?

We, who have such
blunted senses
and overdeveloped mind,
what can we know

of a life
of abundant, excited smells
and awareness of
the very highs and lowest lows
of sound?

What do we know
of love without
of the fullness of feeling,
the sleep of content?

Margaret Dubay Mikus
© 1997



A mutant bird
sang his errant song
at 2:30AM
well before dawn.

The melodious notes
slid out of his throat
lingering there
in cold night air.

Still awake,
she heard as
the notes slid into her ear,
lodged in her brain

and for months
remained there,
not washed away by rain
nor blown by wind,

pure bird notes
sung in tune
from a pure heart
that opened when it opened.

Margaret Dubay Mikus
© 2008


The Pond at Daniel Wright Woods

late afternoon

Look at how the sun
shimmers the continuously
rippling water
and dragonflies flit
in the cattails.
The fishing line shines
as it’s cast and re-cast
and the clouds like fish
swim languorously above,
the air dotted with
cottonwood like bait.

Margaret Dubay Mikus
© 2008



(not silver and not fish)

The silverfish are gone
whether because
I asked them (nicely) to leave
or the increased
activity of bees

or some other unlikely
improbable explanation…
makes me no never mind
The silverfish are gone

no longer browsing
my bookshelves
or burrowing to die
between glass and mat
of my hung pictures.

No swatting the ceiling
or brisk smack with
a rolled magazine,
no more bug stains
from remains.

Margaret Dubay Mikus
© 2009

Birds on a Line,” and “Flying” are also in As Easy as Breathing.