Birds on a Fence

By Peter Halstead

        As whitecaps ripple, as far as the eye
Can see, twenty miles out towards Nome,
        Three thousand miles of sea carpeting
Our breezy home, and as we reflect on why

The perfect fetch rustles in the fronds,
        Or how aquamarine can pair
With neon sky, or troubled water
        Bond the ocean with the air,

Two robins rest implacably
        On the fence and stare
Into the same infinity,
        As if somewhere they can sense

The same blue and green
        That we do, more immense
Than it might seem
        When just people share the view.

June 11th, 2023


The birds always sit on our fence, staring out to sea. I asked Cathy one day, I wonder what they’re thinking?

“They’re wondering if worms can swim.”

Birds are subtle communicators. There are squabbles in the trees when we don’t share our food. But if we do, there’s a clatter hidden behind the leaves, and the next day there are twenty birds on the lawn, eyeing us slyly, their beaks open with expectation.

They watch us as we watch them, each wondering about the other. When you notice the exchange that’s constantly going on, you begin to speak their language and understand their witty comments as they discuss our foolishness.

If we don’t do anything to disrupt it, we can begin to share in the enormous ecosystem in the dunes, where birds as well as people have raucous, entitled, and vulnerable voices.