The Animals

Forty feet from the front door,
a doe and two fawns
stand motionless before
a plush, seamless gown
of green. The grass tears
with a new day’s delight,
and an eager morning sun
smiles on the scene.

The speckled offspring
wait patiently as their mother
samples the surroundings
with senses sharply tuned.
Suddenly, as if on cue, a single-
file parade begins: back and forth,
back and forth. An obtruding
branch is managed smoothly
by the doe’s elegant leap,
the fawns’ casual bow.

After four passes they exit, and
my eyes strain after them
with unfamiliar longing.
At last I surrender grudgingly,
and plucking the newspaper
from an inconvenienced bush,
I proceed to the kitchen and
the regimen of practical routine.
But as I watch the steam
rise leisurely from my cup,
I steal one last moment
to muse that, if I had my way,
all the world’s saviors would
spend their first crucial days
in the company of the animals.

© 2009 Dennis Ference

At 65

(Our own reality is often starved
for our acceptance and love.)

He stares at him:
the man in the mirror–
the face indelibly marked
by time’s unrelenting crusade:
crown sparsely feathered;
beard coarse and grizzled;
brows sprouting feelers,
defiant and brash.

Their eyes lock for a moment
in the silence that grieves;
but still he resists concession,
still he withholds
the compassionate nod.

© 2009 Dennis Ference

Nature’s Way

(The art of living in the Now is, perhaps,
best discovered, not on our gadgets or in our
lecture halls, but in the simple contemplation
of Nature’s Way.)

Squirrel on a Wire

Dozens of poles
streak the landscape
like fingers poking the sky,
rigid, arrogant poking,
festooned with wires
that carry the hum
of human magic there
to here, here to there,
into a silent, faceless

Softly, now,
blood-red sunset
framing her form,
a lone squirrel deftly
journeys the wires
without flair or show,
suddenly pausing,
at rest, while time holds
its breath and a fragile world
frets over who will kindle
      the dawn.

© 2006 Dennis Ference

The Oak Outside My Window

The Oak Outside My Window

Your naked limbs tremble,
roused by winter’s chilled breath,
blanched by its frigid embrace;
your bent, spindly fingers reach
trustingly outward, blind
to nature’s careless ways.
On your trunk, scars map
the pruning that breaks and
shapes you to another’s design;
and on top, an empty nest,
the crowning reminder you serve
others who ignore your desire
and scorn your consent.

Strange, how long we’ve been
neighbors and never really talked.

© 2005 Dennis Ference
(First published in Poetry from Page to Stage: A Milwaukee Public Library Poetry Chapbook)