Nature Poetry

Nature

A RIDE IN THE AMISH BUGGY
By
Dennis C. Orvis

As we travel down the country road of life,
And listen to the steady sound of the horseshoes beating on the road

We see the beauty of the world around us, so much better now,
Though the eyes are weaker as our friends are growing older,

Clippity Clop, Clippity Clop, Clippity Clop

The pace is slower and though the hearing has faded some,
We hear things we missed in younger years, the call of the quail and morning dove

And so much more and yet, we are richer now by far,
Not because of things we own, but of things we share with those we love.

Clippity Clop, Clippity Clop, Clippity Clop

Life is indeed short and the pace, at times, is usually very fast,
Especially for those too busy to enjoy what they do,

Without the humor so necessary for sanity and healing,
And I chuckle, remembering the horse has the better view,

Clippity Clop, Clippity Clop, Clippity Clop

And the secret, I believe, is friendship and laughter,
For without either, little in this world would be worthwhile,

As we continue our ride together, remember this secret has two parts,
Without friends there is no treasure, without laughter there can never be a smile.

Clippity Clop, Clippity Clop, Clippity Clop, Clippity Clop, Clippity Clop, Clippity Clop

2000
*****

THE DAY ALL THE FLOWERS CRIED
By
Dennis C. Orvis

It was Palm Sunday and the dawn was trying to break through the dark clouds, hiding the sunrise deep inside,

There is an eerie stillness in the air where the beauty all around us for many decades, has been the source of special pride,

But today will be different than all the others. This is the last day and they will say it was THE DAY ALL THE FLOWERS CRIED.

Memories of Easter Mornings, miles of headlights crawling towards the Gardens, and we see the first rays of morning Sun, with grandchildren by our side.

Can anyone forget the talented Discovery team as thousands absorbed the tranquil beauty with a faith they could not hide?

No and all who have seen Cypress Gardens, none will forget. So many years and now so many tears, on THE DAY ALL THE FLOWERS CRIED.

April 13, 2003
*****

Ode to the Hurricanes
By
Dennis C. Orvis

Recently three hurricanes hit our sunshine state during a period of five weeks.
Two followed a near same path, crossed by the third six miles from where I stand.
Charley had winds of seventy; Frances gusted to one hundred ten,
Jeanne traveled at seventy-five dropping fifteen extra inches of unwanted rain.

There was a fourth named Ivan that missed us in the center of the State,
And then after slamming our north shores, other States, it went out to sea,
And Circled back south through Florida, not far from us,
Just to grin at our debris.

Now we are the second State to experience four hurricanes in one season,
Texas had four in 1884, a record we tied without reason.
The storms are long gone now and the good news is the USA deaths were very few.
The destruction is in the billions, but the USA deaths were very few.
Houses, mobile homes and trailers scattered like unrecognizable rubble, now history
Like pieces of a thousand puzzles piled eye high, as far as you can see.

And the USA deaths were very few.

It’s been forty-four years since a major hurricane has hit our city fair,
We were not ready and any who thought they were, have much new wisdom to share.
“Next time we will be ready!” are the words everyone is saying,
But I’ll tell you being prepared includes an awful lot of praying.

And now we’re praying the remaining weeks of this windy season
Will be quiet as in the years’ past.
Supplies are short with long waiting lines, workers telling us,
Rebuilding will be far from fast.

Streets lined with tree trunks, limbs; pyramids of garbage bags
Filled with debris and more.
We face a clean-up job that looks endless
And a rebuilding job we’ve never seen before.
I see overflowing lakes, floating boat docks
With Deck planks bobbing along the shore.
I see rivers in streets, pumping systems are quiet
With water going where it has not gone before.

But the USA deaths were very few.

October 2004
*****

WONDERING
By
Dennis C. Orvis

The blue sky is calm, the sun is shining bright, the wind is once more our gentle friend.
It wasn’t that way not long ago when storms as hurricanes battered us again and again.
I wonder if all that destruction is vital to some great plan.
Or another way to challenge our faith or Nature humbling man.

I wonder as I watch the Ibis, Herons, and Egrets wading near the waters’ shore.
Where did they go when the wind was blowing a hundred miles or more?
Are these the birds I’ve seen before or did they ride the storms from many miles away?
The World poses many wonders, but for answers, shrugs its shoulders and does not say.

October 2004
*****

FISHING IN THE RAIN
By
Dennis C. Orvis

I don’t know how many times I’ve been fishing in the rain.
It was, of course, years ago but I remember just the same.
And how we loved our river, the Cedar was its’ name.
We fished a lot but it was special, when fishing in the rain.

The Cedar split our town with sides on east and west,
Connected by the Main Street Bridge high above Springs’ flooding crest.
For many years, our concrete umbrella was also highway Three, two lanes
That kept us so very dry when we were fishing in the rain.

Looking north, upstream, we could see the mighty dam.
Flood gates on the far left, Power Plant on the eastern end,
Controlling the waters’ flow, sending electricity to needy mains
And sending water along the seawall where we loved fishing in the rain.

There were times when things were right with catfish biting day and night,
But other memories of special times remain,
When it did not matter if fish were biting, it was never less exciting,
It was always so very special when fishing in the rain.

October 2004
*****

THE BIRD FEEDERS
By
Dennis C. Orvis

The Host family’s black cat was pressing his nose on the frosty, cold windowpane.
With birds in focus, his eye movements are determined, slow, but in vane.
His ears are laid back: his neck hairs are straight up like those on his back.
He is ready to pounce if the glass was not there, but it is and it’s all an act.

There were times in the past when he would hit the glass and then stagger away.
But he’s smarter now and the birds know they are safe, eating the morning’s buffet.
The two-level house with an upper deck on the back overlooks summer’s activity.
In the winter it serves as a massive bird feeder providing joy for all to see.

Through sliding glass doors in the living room wall, the deck is a deli to fur and feather.
Chubby gray squirrels lunch on crunched bread or bagels in snow and coldest of weather.
Joined by a flock of Tufted Titmouse and a few White-breasted Chickadees,
Woodpeckers with red heads and noisy Blue Jays stashing loot in the bark of the trees.

They stop at the bird feeder between flights to the deck, where birdseed is a special feed.
With a background of snow, an occasional Buck or Doe will empty the feeder with speed.
This is a show that continues to grow as the location through the woods is broadcast.
It is one that we share in the cold, frosty air, as long as the snowy winter will last.

December 2004
*****

THE MIRACLE AT DAWN
By
Dennis C. Orvis

It was early morning, barely dawn when I placed my coffee and cereal at my favorite place.
At the dining room table and I glance through the glass doors and see the shadows crawl a snail’s pace.

As usual, I dine alone with Nature; it’s too early for my wife, kids and grandkids to be up for the day.
That’s fine ‘cause I know when it’s quiet Nature puts on its best show and I almost feel a miracle heading my way.

It’s about fifty feet to the three-cylinder bird feeder, hanging on the inverted “C” on the metal stake.
And six feet past the feeder the woods begin, providing sufficient cover and easy picken’s to take.

Whoa! There’s movement in the bush as the head of a deer pops out and another and then another. I see Three!
Inching side by side towards the feeder, each holding their own, yet gaining no edge and a problem easy to see.

The base of the feeder is much too low and nearly every deer can reach it with a stretch of the neck.
A few more steps and the action begins. We watch the culprits, tongues extended in full effect.

Oh my, the birdseed is falling like jackpots at Vegas, some in the deers but most on the ground.
A herd of gray squirrels responded to the action and it looks like a dozen scurrying all around.

Under the hooves of three deer, feverishly eating as fast as they can before the seeds fall away,
And the feeder itself rolls between three heads with birdseed scattering with every sway.

We had a miracle here this morning, I thought to myself as I took another long sip.
No, It’s not a miracle I saw; as Nature has many, the miracle was that I saw it.

January 2005
*****

Nature's Drama

NATURE’S DRAMA
By
Dennis C. Orvis

It is early dawn; low in the eastern sky a ribbon of light blue is beginning to appear.
The faint fog is still resting over the lake as morning is growing near.

From my vantage point hidden on the land nearby,
I see a pair of small dark objects gliding low through the milk-like sky.

Coming closer, the objects are clearly Wood Ducks, wings rigid, preparing to land.
They hit the water with little splash and ripples spread like an opening fan.

Mating season has begun; the beautiful male swims small circles around his mate.
Minutes later, they are swimming towards shore at a cautious, but steady rate.

Their goal is a Wood Duck nesting box, on a pole not far from me.
One of six we built a few years ago and we’ve enjoyed increasing activity.

The Wood Duck is a wary bird. They spook very quick. I must watch with care.
As they slowly swim towards the box, the male suddenly takes to the air.

He lands on the roof of the box and looks all around, making sure everything is right.
The female swims so the box is above and bobbing her head, has the opening in sight.

She explodes off the water. Her webbed feet catch as she lands on the edge of the hole.
And she pauses; inspecting the wood chips in the box and soon disappears below.

Meanwhile, the beautiful male, is proudly perched on the roof with determined pride.
At the slightest cause he will fly away and with his whistling noise, call her to his side.

This then, is the drama of Nature that is repeated by this pair several times a day,
Until the right number of eggs have filled the nest and later hatch.

And if I am lucky to be here at the right time I might enjoy the marvelous way
Those tiny Wood Ducks will, one by one, jump from the hole as I excitedly watch.

The Mother will wait and call from the water below, while the male watches from afar.
And when the last little one is out, she will swim them away for her protection and care.

It is not likely I will see them again, at least not that I will ever know,
But it is pleasing to me to help by playing a small, but maybe important role.

It is also pleasing to me to watch this part of Nature’s Drama so near.
When I see a Wood Duck next year I might wonder if it was born right here.

February 2005
*****

The Fishing Party

THE FISHING PARTY
By
Dennis C. Orvis

I caught a flash of white from the corner of my eye,
As I glanced across the lake where the horizon meets the sky.
What I saw was hard to believe and I quickly reasoned why.
White Pelicans, a couple hundred, maybe twice that or even more.
Swimming together in a huge floating circle moving slowly toward the distant shore.
Still more in the air preparing to land, stacked like planes at Atlanta, high as they soar.
Each Pelican is so very large with a wingspan of six or eight feet,
Majestic in white with wing tips of black to highlight Nature’s repeat.

The wings seldom move as each bird rides the wind no matter the direction it may blow.
They drop down in sequence, taking their turn to land in a tradition we cannot know.
And there on the water, I see hundreds of black specks, interspersed with the birds of the oversized bill.
Called Anhinga, Cormorants or water snakes, they dive and swim with their prey, usually catching their fill.
Working in tandem they drive the fish to the surface where the Pelicans wait for a share.
Blue Herons and Great White Egrets stand in the shallow waters edge spearing frantic fish escaping there.

All together they form an enormous fishing party with a half thousand birds or more.
It can last a few hours or a couple of days, until small groups of Anhinga begin to soar.
To search for another well-stocked lake where the fishing party has not yet been.
And Nature will replenish our lake before next years Fishing Party will meet here again.

March 2005
*****

SPRING STORM IN THE NIGHT
By
Dennis C. Orvis

KABOOM!!! A nearby lightning strike woke me in the dark of night.
Followed by rolling thunder as the storm Gods display their might.
I can feel our small motor home strain as the wind pushes against the side.
The spring thunderstorm is raging and there’s no place for us to hide.

Gentle rain on the roof has always been a very tranquil sound.
But the rain tonight is loud as rocks and the echoes are profound.
Night becomes day every second or two as the electrical storm fills the sky.
It happens maybe a thousand times while we pray for a quick goodbye.

The thunder roared for nearly an hour, but now it is far, far away.
And the soft wind has blown in a wet peaceful sky in Nature’s unwritten way.
The spring storm heading east is gone to wake others as lightning and thunder repeat.
The gentle rain left behind is clogging on my roof and I am dancing in my sleep.

2005
*****

THE TIDAL RUSH
By
Dennis C. Orvis

The early morning fog engulfs the scraggly looking trees.
There is no morning sun and dawn is dingy as Nature has her way.
It’s another day unfolding with a gentle chilly breeze.
On the Georgia Coast where swampy land and rivers meet to play.

From my front row seat on these old deck boards,
There is a grand performance coming into view.
In a constant challenge to beat the clock,
Tidal waters race through the narrow slew.

The Sandpipers darting forward never seem to get wet.
Their tiny tracks quickly wash clean as a slate,
And the floating dock on the end is beginning to rise,
Controlled by huge pilings that buffer the wake.

I see the high water mark from the previous rush.
Where the mud meets wet grasses leaning with the flow,
I watch the water move closer to the highest point
And I wonder if I can catch the moment it turns to go.

I wonder what fish are in the muddy water below.
Would they be some I’ve known or some exotic to see.
The current is too swift for a fisherman’s try.
So the fish remain a secret from me.

I cannot stay longer, but the show does not end.
It will surely continue through all of time.
No camera can capture this beauty I see,
But I can treasure it forever to view in my mind.

2005
*****

Ballad of the Purple Martins

BALLAD OF THE PURPLE MARTINS
By
Dennis C. Orvis

I walked toward the shore of our small pretty, peaceful lake,
Staring at the three dozen giant gourds, suspended above the sandy beach,
The gentle, early morning wind rocks the gourds in unison,
As the Sun bursts in the eastern sky like a ripened Georgia Peach.

My searching eyes cannot find my Purple Martin friends,
The sky is void of the swift flying birds carrying dragonflies to their nest.
There is no familiar chatter today, in or around the gourds,
The Martins disappeared like they arrived, suddenly, now on a northern quest.

They return each year in February from somewhere we don’t know
And leave on July three or four, but yesterday was the eleventh July day.
I’m guessing Mother Nature told them to sit tight for a week,
Until Hurricane Dennis passed through here, on its treacherous northern way.

They are a circus to watch, but the circus is quiet now.
The hatch has feathered and grown and now it has flown,
To perform for others, somewhere perhaps, far away,
And the empty gourds will sway until they suddenly appear,
once again back home.
2005
*****

CHICKADEES AND SNOWCOVERED TREES
By
Dennis C. Orvis

It is quiet outside the sliding doors to the second level upper deck,
Where the day old snow was trampled, a mini snowman is sitting yet,
Stunning in his red earmuffs and a wine colored scarf around his neck.

The view beyond is gorgeous as a winter scene should always be.
The absence of leaves on trees and vines, windows the woods for all to see,
Snow covered brush, rock walls and fallen trees display winters’ great artistry.

My eyes are drawn to small birdhouses of red, a pair wearing a blanket of snow,
Dwarfed on huge trees, contrasting winter’s gray and the brilliant marshmallow snow.
The Sun is very bright, but the air is really cold, near freezing or maybe below.

It’s a postcard scene to enjoy as I open the sliding door, ever so slight,
Throwing out a handful of Fruit Loops for Chickadees hiding out of sight.
I quickly close the door and here they come, feathers flying in from left and right.

It’s almost a blur, grabbing a bite and then they disappear,
Some pickup certain colors, while some others bite the one that’s near.
A Blue Jay glides in, grabs two or three before the snow once again is clear.

Fruit Loops, Cheerios or bread crumbs, birds are so easy to please,
We provide the food, they provide the beauty while devouring every piece.
It’s the wonder of wintertime, Chickadees and Snowcovered Trees, and Peace.
2005
*****

NATURE’S WORLD OF SNOW
By
Dennis C. Orvis

The beauty is hard to describe as I look through the doors of glass,
Into Nature’s world of snow covered trees, brush and my younger past,
When as teenagers, growing up in Iowa, my buddies and me,
Trompin’ through snow in woods and slews, with rifles like frozen steel,
Alert for unfortunate prey, our breath hanging in cold Iowa air.
Hunting boots, double socks and long johns and a trigger finger too cold to feel.

Some days falling snow would not stop and the wary rabbits would not run.
Some days the snow was very wet, we were too, on those days the rabbits often won.
Some days we walked miles through fields of corn with stalks ever so high,
When a Pheasant exploded from hiding, we shot many holes in the sky.
How vivid those memories seem to be. How quickly I see them again.
I wonder of those who shared them with me; Bob, Dan, Gene, Harry and Jim.

It’s funny how memories take you for a ride through the years to an earlier time.
And it is great to relive them again and then file them once more in one’s mind.
Returning to now, there’s movement, a few squirrels racing rather near.
And a couple running gray rabbits vanish in a large snowy brush pile.
About a hundred feet deeper in the woods suddenly some shadows appear,
In forms taking shape of foraging Deer. For sure, I’ll be here a while.

2005
*****

The Redbud Horse

THE REDBUD HORSE
By
Dennis C. Orvis

The mountain was still bleak and winter is down to a gentle breeze,
A tint of green can be seen on the hillside of countless scraggly trees.
The Redbud trees are blooming, leading spring’s colorful parade,
And the thoughtful ones will marvel at the beauty God has made.

The snow is finally gone. The dingy days have faded far away
And the hills of West Virginia, a picture once again, bright’ning our day.
Looking through the Redbuds, is something is looking back at me?
Is it just an old white horse or perhaps a Unicorn that I see?

This picture, can it be real? Or a creation in my mind to be?
Is there a horse or Unicorn? Or is Mother Nature, only jesting me?

2006
*****

OUR MORNING WALK
By
Dennis C. Orvis

It’s quiet in this rural-like neighborhood,
Where springs’ new growth is overgrown green.
And Nature’s creatures are scurrying for food.
The ongoing performance, free to be seen.
Our morning walk, our time to enjoy and share.
To witness the common and search for the new.
And watch the squirrels we see everywhere,

We smile at their antics, the cute things they do.
The shy birds are singing from their hidden perch,
While the Crows’ boasting laughter echoes the sky.
The Chickadees are hiding from the Hawk o’er the Birch,
And the Rabbits sit frozen with fear in each eye.
It’s the spring ritual on center stage once more.
We walk the old road, with damp morning dew.
And quickly notice the changes from before,

The trees, bushes and flowers, how tall they grew.
Our morning walk is always so satisfying,
And yet a surprise awaits around the bend,
I think I see a Quail covey running.
I motion to my wife and then look again.
Wow! A big, dark bird has caught my eye.
It’s a Mother wild Turkey with her recent hatch.
We counted twelve so small, maybe four inches high,
Running wildly about the manicured thatch.

Mama then jumped onto a New England rock wall.
She called to her youngsters, now two feet below.
Like popcorn they are jumping so short, then fall.
Their Mother simply waited, no hurry to go.
One of them running along the walls’ bottom edge,
Found a natural staircase and climbed to the top.
One by one, following the leader, they all reach the ledge.
Then off the other side, the family went with a hop.

Our morning walk was extra pleasant today,
The Turkeys were a bonus Mother Nature let us view.
We hope to see them again on another day,
During our morning walk in the early morning dew.

2006
*****

The New Bird

THE NEW BIRD
By
Dennis C. Orvis

We were tramping around the grounds of the restored King George Fort
O’erlooking inlet waters of the Southeastern Georgia coast.
The restoration in progress, is clearly a piece of art
The Center, award winning, is staffed by gracious hosts.

We followed the dirt path around the outside wall,
Made of spiked-topped timbers, maybe twelve feet high,
We neared the waters’ edge where the seabirds call
Where a weathered, wooden boat dock caught our eye.

I could see the muddy water rushing from matted weeds,
Chasing the receding tide, stranding small Hermit Crabs
Scurrying for protection in the water or the reeds
From the hungry shore birds landing close for dinner grabs.

It’s like an instant replay when the tide heads out to sea.
Until the crabs are out of sight or the shorebirds’ belly’s full.
It’s Nature at work, so fascinating for all to see,
How long has this show gone on? I suppose we’ll never know.

Watching the performance, a dark shore bird caught my eye.
Resembling a Green Heron, the bird was far away.
I paused for a longer look, hoping it might decide to fly.
Suddenly, good fortune reigned; the bird’s airborne, gliding my way.

It landed on the railing of the old boat dock, not thirty feet away,
It was then I realized I have never seen a bird like this before.
With my camera always ready, a perfect pic would make my day.
We stared at each other as I moved slowly to the shore.

It seemed to me the bird was waiting for me to do my thing.
So I stopped and slowly brought the camera to my eye
Hoping for one good shot, I got three before it winged
He gave out a Kowk or two, such a high, squawking cry.

I found a book to identify this strange bird with cheeks of white
And long yellow legs off-setting the gray-white feathers it was wearin’
I also learned my find was rare; it almost always eats at night.
It was a first time for me to ever see a Yellow-Crowned Night Heron.

2006
*****

Windy Day on Pei

WINDY DAY ON PEI
By
Dennis C. Orvis

It was the summer of ninety-six
I’m doing my thing, taking pics’
Enjoying our travels on this island called PEI
The people are really nice;
The scenery will always entice

But now I’m looking at a gray and very angry sky
The wild, white-capped waves race in
Pounding the rocks and dark brown sand
The tide searches for something to ravage or drag away.

The angry storm has a name,
A hurricane, called Eduardo,
Missing Florida, last week, 3000 miles away.

And now his end is coming ‘round
The cold North Sea will shut him down,
And battered lobster traps begin their lonely decay.

2006
*****

Thy Beauty Overwhelms

THY BEAUTY OVERWHELMS
By
Dennis C. Orvis

It’s an old pump house on the edge of the pond.
The cheap red barn paint has faded some,
But the new tin roof shines through the beauty of the fall.

As the hand of Nature sweeps across the hillside,
The obedient leaves change, unable to hide.
A masterpiece in progress, perhaps the best of all.

The Birch with the hardwoods and Evergreens blend.
The foliage, every day, adds beauty without end.
It’s the pride of New Hampshire, a creation to view.

It’s a one of kind moment few ever see.
As the beauty overwhelms the fortunate like me,
The pond proudly says, “Look at me, I did it, too!”

2006
*****

Fall is Winning!

FALL IS WINNING!
By
Dennis C. Orvis

Many green leaves have ended their trip,
Changing to yellow, orange or red.
Painting their host tree for all to see,
Like a canvas will never be spread.

And though some still appear to be clinging,
Every small breeze sends a few more winging.
Their colorful days are destined to be few,
As lower night temps crystallizes the dew.

So many torn loose have fallen down,
Their pastel colors are now shades of brown.
They scatter the land, as their fate is certain,
The roads and paths form summers’ last curtain.

The picture we see as summer is yielding,
Where the leaves once reigned, the trees are thinning
And the dark limbs are prominently exposed,
The days are shrinking and fall is winning.

Fall is winning. Fall is winning. It always does.

2006
*****

Unspoiled Beauty

UNSPOILED BEAUTY
By
Dennis C. Orvis

A Bullfrog sitting on the muddy bank watches a yellow leaf float by.
The clear moving water reflects puffy clouds overhead in the light blue sky.
The shore is lined with scraggly bare trees and thick, overgrown brush.
Nature speaks through the rippling brook and calls of a bragging Thrush.

Busy Woodpeckers rap on soft pines, echoing through the trees.
Sunlight warms the cool gentle air of the friendly autumn breeze.
A moment in time, a perfect scene, man could never create.
Unspoiled beauty, so vulnerable, who will guide its waiting fate?

2006
Victoria State Park- Georgia
*****

Nature's Masterpiece

NATURE’S MASTERPIECE
By
Dennis C. Orvis

The narrow road curves quickly like startled rabbits run.
With fall foliage at its peak, breathtaking in autumn sun.
At every turn, Nature’s Masterpiece explodes into our view.
It’s mind-boggling to see, many shades of every hue.

Red, Yellow and rust-colored leaves wave to catch our eye.
The brilliant red Hemlock bushes lean as we pass by.
Oh, the wonder of it all, so marvelous to comprehend.
It’s New England in the fall. We wish it would never end.

2006
*****

Beautiful Squam Lake

BEAUTIFUL SQUAM LAKE
By
Dennis C. Orvis

It’s October in New Hampshire and the foliage is postcard stunning.
White Mountains’ hills and valleys are dressed their very best.
We’re riding in a pontoon boat, the motors’ noisily running.
The view is awesome from the lake, each hillside upstaging the rest.

We soon learn this lake is famous. A popular movie was filmed right here.
Our weathered, old tour guide speaks a verbal wand.
And the story comes alive, a certain cottage is drawing near.
We see the Fondas and Hepburn, as we float On Golden Pond.

I can close my eyes and hear them, Henry, Katharine and Jane, so real.
A married couple growing quite old, a daughter not coping very well.
It would be Henry’s last movie, a destiny you could almost feel.
Hepburn’s sharp accent rings, “Norman, Norman! You old fool!” Where he fell.

It was pretty special. Our two-hour trip continued along its’ way.
Around Islands with common names and three Loons bobbing in our wake.
The story with spectacular views, created a most delightful day.
It’s not likely we’ll soon forget On Golden Pond and Beautiful Squam Lake.

2006
*****

My Mountain Home

MY MOUNTAIN HOME
By
Dennis C. Orvis

The old wooden gate has not closed in so many years.
The boards, badly warped, are slowly rotting away.
But there’s a peaceful feeling here that quiets ones’ fears
And the muddy lane reflects the rain on this dreary spring day.

The cold barren trees are showing a touch of green.
While the Rosebud tree displays its’ early bloom of white.
The rusty barbed wire sags with the corner post lean,
As my mountain home is calling; I’ll enjoy this warming sight.

2006
I took this picture in 1992, Bluefield West Virginia.
*****

The Perfect Picture

THE PERFECT PICTURE
By
Dennis C. Orvis

The fall foliage of the New Hampshire Mountains is incredible to see.
Every day it appears more gorgeous than the day before.
I cannot help but wonder how such beauty can really be.
Yet, here it is, free for all with so much to adore.

As I raised my camera I saw a Canada goose,
It was sitting near the waters’ edge in quiet solitaire.
And then I saw a picture that I did not want to lose.
The injured goose, hit the water for the safety there.

Suddenly the perfect picture filled my cameras’ eye.
And the magnificent bird gave life to this wondrous scene,
The beautiful reflection danced as gentle ripples passed by,
While a lone, red tree watched from a hillside of spotted green.

2006
I took this New Hampshire photo in 1984
*****

March of the Sandhills

MARCH OF THE SANDHILLS
By
Dennis C. Orvis

The sun was dipping behind the hills
And the dark shadows were stretching wide

From the trio of skinny-legged cranes
Seeking night’s calm in steady stride.

We cannot be sure where they have been,
Nor do we know just where they are going.

In their majestic strut they move unwavered,
Marching in silence, with soft breezes blowing.

2006
*****

Could It Really Be

COULD IT REALLY BE?
By
Dennis C. Orvis

The story, as I was told, was rumored to be true.
About a woman who’s life was full, unafraid of anything new.
To her, life was an adventure to be lived and enjoyed the best.
Loved by all who knew her, adored by many of the rest.

She never feared a challenge, was first to help a friend.
And every challenge accepted, was followed to its’ end.
She believed in reincarnation. a seagull she hoped to be.
To soar the skies in freedom, graceful beauty, endlessly.

Destiny would cut short her life, her fate was not too kind.
Sickness took her much too soon. and left us all behind.
A poem she wrote during her ordeal, told as a seagull how she would feel.
“To soar in freedom, and graceful beauty endlessly,” with feelings so very real.

While graveside services were underway, a flock of seagulls flew overhead.
A lone bird perched on a tombstone nearby, and silently watched as last rites were read.

Surprised family and friends witnessed the gull, all thinking, “Could it really be?”
The answer though is a simple one, we’ll just have to wait to see.

2006
Reward of the Poet – March 2007
*****

The Force of Nature

THE FORCE OF NATURE
By
Dennis C. Orvis

The lightning danced as the twister spun wildly in the night,
Its speed enhanced as favorable conditions redoubled its might,
The broad storm in darkness raged, thunder echoed across the land,
The force of Nature with no equal, ever feared by man.

The wind-speed near two hundred scattered trees like falling leaves,
Houses exploded like toothpick castles in the racing breeze,
Causing devastation, injury, death and terrible pain,
While survivors heard a roaring, monster train.

The twister in a few minutes destroyed many lives and dreams,
While we may love Nature, we tremble, fearing her extremes.
The beauty of Nature is lost in the noisy, blackened sky,
Like lightning, though, she never tells where or when or why.

2007
Note: This picture was on the internet and later labeled as a hoax.
*****

The Fiery Sky

THE FIERY SKY
By
Dennis C. Orvis

My morning walk started early for no reason I know.
Darkness was thinning and clouds were hanging a little low.

As I stepped along the lakeside trail with choppy water dancing,
The eastern sky began to lighten, behind the trees enhancing.

And then a miracle happened! The new Sun I could not see,
Flashed its shiny rays against clouds waiting over me.

I stopped and stared in awe as the clouds burst into flames
It lasted only a few seconds, as one of Natures stunning games.

February 2007
*****

Muggs

MUGGS
By
Dennis C. Orvis

It was a cold Iowa winter morning. I could hear the icy wind
And it gave me chills as I looked through the window.
To Grandma’s enclosed porch where the Sunday paper was in
As I stepped out the door the wind whistled the falling snow.

I looked for the morning paper, by the porch door
And there beside it was a small ball of fur.
It was a young dog I had never seen before
I was sure Jerry; our newsboy put him there.

The dog was nearly frozen and quietly shaking,
I picked him up with the paper and took them inside.
There was a rug by the stove where the coffee was making.
I laid him on it with his sad eyes open wide.

I watched as the heat made him a warm blanket of air,
And soon his eyes closed as comfort brought sleep.
I could only wonder why he was out in this weather,
And why he was wandering in the snow so deep.

He was hard to describe, a small terrier for sure,
Short, dingy white hair with black spots here and there.
I wondered if a bath would whiten his fur.
And I noticed his black mask covered each ear.

He was still sleeping sound when my breakfast was done.
So I finished the paper as quiet as I could.
When my Grandmother later met and fed him some,
She said, “Yes” to keep him, I knew she would.

Muggs was the name that came to my mind,
I thought it fit him very well, surely by appearance,
He soon came when called every time.
A lucky little dog who found us by chance.

Muggs was my buddy, often by my side,
When Bob and I went fishing on an island
Muggs was first in our boat for the ride.
He was good company in our camping plan.

I especially remember Muggs at our dinner table,
I would give him a bite of dill pickle to eat.
He made funny twisting faces and chewed as able,
And then swallow it for me, but not as a treat.

Well, I don’t remember what happened to my friend.
I had many pets through the years for a while,
But Muggs was special I’m sure to the end.
And the thought of the pickle always gives me a smile.

2007
*****

ANOTHER FOOT OF SNOW
By
Dennis C. Orvis

What’s this? Spring is only days away, and I see nothing out my window.
Everything is white and it’s an ugly day. Who needs another foot of snow?
What’s this? Winter! Your time is up. It’s time for you to quietly go.
You were fun a few months back, but who needs another foot of snow?

What’s this? The snowplows can’t find the road. No school today and I have places to go.
And I am trapped inside with kids and pets. Who needs another foot of snow?
The weather report: It’s a two day-storm. My dislike is turning to hate, you know.
And when it melts it turns to water and mud. Who needs another foot of snow?

Oh Spring! Please hurry, push this mess quickly east. It’s time for Robins and budding trees you know.
Oh Winter! You miserable beast, Who needs another foot of snow?

2007
*****

ONLY A SMALL BOUQUET
By
Dennis C. Orvis

You can find them in many supermarkets,
Small bouquets, ten dollars for three,
For the past two dozen years, I’ve bought many,
For my wife, my one love, you see.

There are various kinds,
But carnations are always first.
They’re pretty for several weeks,
With a dozen blooms, a floral burst.

One bunch I would usually buy,
Amazing how it brightens a day.
So very pleasing to the eye,
But it’s more than a small bouquet.

I’ll buy an extra bunch
When having guests that day,
They comment on its beauty
Without knowing it’s more than a small bouquet.

While every bouquet is pretty,
I repeat they’re so much more.
Symbolic of years we’ve shared
So many heartbeats, we still adore.

It’s the children we have raised,
And Grandkids we love so much,
And the places we have lived
And the friends that stay in touch.

How fortunate we are
And we treasure every day,
Reliving wonderful moments
Through the beauty of a small bouquet.

2007
*****

SONGS OF THE WIND
By
Dennis C. Orvis

I’ve heard the song of many winds, so few we might enjoy,
Yet none that we can ever choose, the wind ignores our wants and pleas.
I’ve heard the song of angry winds, when hurricanes and tornados,
Sail buildings like kites, uprooting even ancient trees.

I’ve heard the song of electric winds, when lightning turns night to bright,
Paired with thunderous boomers, causing fear and weakened knees.
I’ve heard the song of autumns wind, still warm, but often with a sting,
Blowing dry grass, twigs and stuff, doing airborne tricks with falling leaves

I’ve heard the song of winters wind, howling the corners of the house,
Rattling the window panes, whistling loudly through barren trees.
I’ve heard the song of wind in spring, with a touch of cool on sunny days,
And latent pleasures bring end to the nights of frost and freeze.

I’ve heard the song of ocean wind, with its seasonal salty air,
Matching the briny waves, from glassy sheen to angry, raging seas.
I’ve heard the song of summers wind, float across the hills of green,
Helping pretty flowers sway, and cooling wings of Honey bees.

Oh how the wind is woven into our lives, intruding too much,
As it arranges and changes our plans unconcerned and with ease.
I’ve heard the songs of many winds, so very few we might enjoy,
Only one is my favorite, the gentle song of summer wind, forever please.

2007
*****

THE MOUNTAINS OF WEST VIRGINIA
By
Dennis C. Orvis

Through the mountains of West Virginia,
On concrete covered trails of old.
Where the scenery takes your breath away
Shades of green reach out like brush strokes bold

As far as the searching eye can see,
A million trees wave as we go by
And over the crest a million more
Under the gorgeous summer sky.

An Eagle pair dances high above
In a stunning airy ballet.
And Nature in all its splendor,
Performs for you this special day.
2007
*****

THE PICTURE OF KENTUCKY
By
Dennis C. Orvis

We are driving through Kentucky
And it is surely a lovely scene.
So many different kinds of trees
Display as many shades of green.

Framed inside three or four board fence
Running up and down the rolling land,
Contrasting, many are painted brilliant white
While others, like dark, muddy sand.

Now we add the crowning touch,
To make the picture of Kentucky true
Beautiful horses in every field,
Around each curve a picture new.

This wonderful picture keeps repeating
As our miles are speeding by.
So very pleasing for all to see,
Under the blue Kentucky sky.

So feast your eyes, enjoy the view,
Treasure each and every special part.
As majestic four-legged creatures
Lock their beauty into your heart.

2007
*****

Squirrels, Robins and More
By
Dennis C. Orvis

I’m sitting in our camper looking through the dark, screen door.
I see the early sunrise crawling across the grass so green.
And I hear the morning birds singing their favorite little tunes.
While I watch natures’ live action, Squirrels, Robins and More.

The squirrels always racing and chasing are never a bore.
Ignoring the Robins seeking unsuspecting juicy worms.
How they find them I will never know,
It’s a fascinating show, Squirrels, Robins and More.

I grab a handful of crackers and quietly go out the door.
Crumbling pieces on the ground and the old picnic tabletop.
I retreat to the camper and get ready for the show.
The actors quickly appear from everywhere to feed,
Squirrels, Robins and More.
2007
*****

HORSE COUNTRY U.S.A.
By
Dennis C. Orvis

We spent a week in Kentucky, where the magic word is bluegrass,
among the fields of hay.
We shared this time with our Son and Grandson,
Touring Lexington, Horse Country U.S.A.

Horse Park State Park campground has nearly three hundred spaces where we had planned to stay.
But the Bluegrass Music Festival took all the spaces
In Horse Country U.S.A.

We found another campground, better than nothing
Perhaps, But barely I would say,
The festival ended two days later and to Horse Park
We moved in Horse Country U.S.A.

Now be very careful and watch out for confusion
of what I am going to say,
The State Park is next to Horse Park, a huge facility
In Horse Country U.S.A.

I don’t know how big the Horse Park really is,
But Polo is played there every Sunday
Though Polo isn’t high on my list,
It’s quite popular in Horse Country U.S.A.

We saw a steeplechase course and
Other training tracks where the horses work and play,
And a statue of the great horse, Man-o-war
Welcomed everyone in Horse Country U.S.A.

It is very easy to see why many movies have been filmed
Here the natural way,
Hills, Valleys, Country Homes, Barns and Stables,
Beautiful all in Horse Country U.S.A.

We met a horse named Popcorn Deelites,
One of eight that starred in the Sea Biscuit story
This gorgeous creature is now retired and living well
In Horse Country U.S.A.

This one-of-a-kind loving place is called Old Friends,
Where Retired Thoroughbred Champions stay,
Several names of the fortunate few were familiar
In Horse Country U.S.A.

I grew up in the Midwest near a harness racing track
Where the sulkeys threw dust all the way,
But I must admit I am overwhelmed by
The Beauty of Horse Country, U.S.A.

2007
*****

The World of Cypress

THE WORLD OF CYPRESS
By
Dennis C. Orvis

In amongst the Cypress a different World exists,
Where natures’ many wonders hide in morning mist.
Cypress trees grow tall with many Cypress knees,
While the trunks grow bare under leafy canopies.
There the ever-present Spanish moss does blow,
Wherever the gentle wind decides to go
And we’re surprised to learn as the story goes,
It’s an air plant, not moss that grows, ever grows.

The hanging moss adds beauty to Cypress trees
So camera buffs can capture special memories.
We are told the moss will never harm the tree,
But my eyes are saying, “We’re not sure we agree.”
They once used Spanish moss to stuff the seats
Of early model cars made by Henry Ford
Until Henry learned it never stops growing,
And his auto seats grew hard as a board.

The Lily pads hide a gator near the shore
With protruding eyes searching for fish and more
As we watch Kingfish, Egrets and the Blue Heron,
The World of Cypress is a show without end.

2007
*****

The Call of the Wild Goose

The Call of the Wild Goose
By
Dennis C. Orvis

The sound I hear in the dark of night is not unknown to me.
The unmistakable wild goose call rings clear my memory.
The Canada goose is meeting here on this northern Iowa Lake.
And the honking goes unending as new arrivals keep me awake.

Staring out the bedroom window, it’s only blackness that I see.
Yet, I hear so many birds flying by, fascinating me
Our friends, our hosts, who live on this gorgeous lakefront shore
Are not excited like me, they’ve seen all this before.

I heard the geese calling and singing through the eerie night so long.
Sleep finally overcame me ‘til chatter woke me, in early dawn.
I quickly dressed, entered the kitchen and turned the coffee on.
And through a small window was a stunning sight in the morning Sun.

The lake was covered, shore to shore by the beautiful Canada goose
There were hundreds, no, tens of hundreds, all honking their gossip news
It’s an assembly before migration ever controlled by the weather
And their slender, graceful, long black necks swaying like majestic heather.

As I watch this marvelous scene, the geese began to pair
And in groups of six to twelve, they exploded into the air
This routine repeated until the last pair powered into the sky
Heading to nearby cornfields and energy for their pending fly.

The lake is quiet now, a few feathers, floating with the wind.
Until later in the evening when the geese return again.
This show repeats until the cold Canadian air moves in
And then the migration south of this great assembly will begin.

How thrilling it is to share this moment nature paints for us to see
It will be equally thrilling later when they fly south in a vee
Over the thousand miles or more many geese will take the lead
And the wild geese will call “winter’s coming, winter’s coming, Take Heed.”

2007

Note: this was written after a visit with Jack Leaman and his wife, Dee,
in Mason City Iowa.
*****

THE SIGNS OF FALL
By
Dennis C. Orvis

I see the rays of morning sun filtering through the gorgeous trees.
Leaves of fall so golden yellow and shades of red, swaying in the breeze.
The ground is slowly covered with fallen leaves, decaying brown,
And acorns by the thousands tempting, attracting squirrels abound.

Scurrying is the pace as I watch them racing to and fro.
Each with an acorn by mouth, to bury quickly on the go.
And with luck much later, might remember where a few are stored.
Though we’re told they rarely find most of their tasty, hidden hoard.

Overhead in silence, cool north winds toy with the bluish sky.
Except for times when migrating birds are nosily passing by.
Throughout neighborhoods, Scarecrows, slim and tall, are to be seen.
In yards, on trees, in flowerbeds or even old porch swings.

So many pumpkins of all sizes add their special pretty hue.
Multi-colored Indian corn spurs memories of times I once knew.
Oh how the signs of fall give such beauty to Mother Nature’s brush.
Soon to be followed by ol’ Jack Frosts’ first sign of winters’ rush.

2007
*****

THE AMAZING WINTER SHOW
By
Dennis C. Orvis

This morning early I checked the deck through the glass door.
There’s three inches of winters’ first snow on the wood floor.

The temperature is twenty-eight, the snow won’t melt today,
The report tells us for many days it will remain this way.

And the little birds will be needing and looking for some feed,
So I slid the door open and tossed out some tasty seed.

Suddenly a customer, a Tufted Titmouse did appear.
He quickly picked up seeds in the snow that were near.

So jumpy, he nervously flew away as fast as he came,
And then with a hungry friend, he came back again.

How quickly they zip in and zip out, holding the seeds two or three,
Tight in their beaks and flying so quick, never too far to their tree.

Wait a minute! I see something move in the woods further back.
It’s a couple Deer, one’s a buck with a huge trophy rack.

Wow! Look high above the Deer, a large Red-Tailed Hawk I see.
Searching the ground with piercing eyes, from its’ tall barren tree,

For any unfortunate rabbit or a bite-sized field mouse.
What an amazing winter show this is as we watch from our house.

2007
*****

SURVIVING WINTER
By
Dennis C. Orvis

It is only four days until Christmas morning,
And the ground’s under a heavy blanket of white.
With snow three days old and too cold to thaw,
And the sky says there’ll be more snow tonight.

It’s a pretty Christmas card view I am watching,
And it changes with every movement my eyes meet,
By the wildlife in search of something to eat,
So difficult now with snow crusted by sleet.

With the nourishing grasses buried by deep snow,
The Deer I see wandering, searching aimlessly,
Through the brush, nibbling and eating dead leaves,
And chewing bark from small twigs they tear free.

It’s been hard to find food after the first snow,
Especially for the Deer, by size needing much more,
Than scampering, fuzzy-tailed Squirrels, for example,
With their hidden cache somewhere near in “store.”

I see eight Deer now moving through the sparse woods,
Two are smaller; I would guess they are yearlings.
They look healthy but winter’s a serious time.
Surviving is tough and it’s three months ’til spring.

2007
*****

The Winter Playground

THE WINTER PLAYGROUND
By
Dennis C. Orvis

The sky is dark gray and the wind is still.
The fresh snow is pretty, but ever so cold.
The once busy playground is idle and lonely.
As I recall my first ride on the slide, so bold.

And the swings really scared me, pushing too high.
But the second level fort’s my special place
O’er the sandbox where I made a figure eight track
For my great cars to travel and race.

The sky is dark gray and the wind is still.
Oh, how cold and quiet it looks today.
Those many wondrous hours I enjoyed here,
Are now great memories I have filed away.

2007
*****

TRUE LOVE IN A GREEN WILLOW TREE
By
Dennis C. Orvis

Very high in the Willow tree, a pair of Lovebirds in hiding sit,
So close as lovers’ do, watching the world through countless slender, green Willow leaves.
Listen! Soft cooing can be heard, sometimes in solo, sometimes duet.
Two swaying heads, touch, caress, and surrender in the gentle spring-like breeze.

I hear their hidden calls and search the tree. At first I did not see or find.
Looking through the long, hanging, leafy branches, I listen so carefully,
And then success I see, spotting the Lovebird pair in a setting quite sublime.
A picture only Nature can paint, True Love in a Green Willow Tree.

As I stare at this symbol of love, my imagination is running wild.
Then like magic, somehow, the Lovebirds I see become you and me.
I’m so high on your love. Your touch races my heart, that sings a lovers’ tune.
Through slender, long leaves we will ever share, True Love in a Green Willow Tree.

2008
*****

THE SONGS OF THE MOCKINGBIRD
By
Dennis C. Orvis

We have a Red Ruby grapefruit tree in our front yard,
And a pretty Mockingbird has made it his home.
As the fading night slips quietly into the west,
Our Mockingbird wakes and comes into his own.

I hear him singing as I open the door
Retrieving the morning paper I whistle something new
He quickly mimics my tune and adds a few more
I am always amazed over the songs he can do

He starts each day with a happy little song
And he goes on for several hours so very fine,
Challenging his buddy in the Oak across the road,
And another one down the street, high in the Pine

How wonderful they are, very delightful to hear,
As Nature adds pleasantry to our neighborhood
Oh, how the many wonders of Nature enriches our lives,
With the songs of Mockingbirds, Life is good.

2008
*****

THE HAPPY LADYBUG
By
Dennis C. Orvis

It is early evening and dusk is floating unto the Hibiscus flowers,
The wind is calm, the stillness is wonderfully serene.

A special time to appreciate Natures’ beauty for a few hours,
Before the dark of night hides everything and becomes so supreme.

I hear the gorgeous sounds as Nature speaks to us in many different ways,
Through the Mockingbirds competing with all the songs they know.

And the squirrels, chattering, berating each other in the evening haze.
With a Blue Jays’ familiar squawk grabbing red berries on the go.

What’s that? I hear a very tiny tune drifting to my ear?
I tilt my head and quietly walk, following the lovely melody.

Peeking into the Azalea bushes, the song is ever clear.
Ah! There’s the singer! A happy LadyBug, singing just for me.

I listen intently and gaze in wonder at her precious happy face,
This moment I’m sure, is lifetime rare. I may never hear it again,

Like a statue I listened until she flew to another place,
But her music compelled me to share this moment so rare with you, good friends.

2008
*****

The Nest Builder

The Nest Builder
By
Dennis C. Orvis

Sitting at our dining room table, viewing through the sliding glass door
The shadow of our house moves steadily towards the grass,
Being pushed by the morning sun that is climbing higher than before.
Suddenly I see a Mourning Dove through the one-way glass.

She is peeking out the middle where the tall hedge keeps her dry.
As if to see if it’s safe for her to leave that branch and go.
She nervously looks both ways, appearing to be very shy,
Before fluttering out and gliding to the ground below.

She selects a small stick meaning she has a nest to prepare.
Quickly she returns to the hedge, which stands over ten feet high,
Nearly twenty-foot long and leaves so thick, not one place is bare.
How busy she is, choosing every stick, only she knows why.

How many little sticks does she need to build a perfect nest?
Rapidly she makes many trips two or three every minute.
As I watch it seems to me she hardly ever takes a rest.
Guided instinctively by Nature, she’ll know just when to sit.

She was still working steady when it was time for me to leave.
I wish I could have stayed longer and watched her throughout the day.
I wish too, I could see the new nest that only she can weave.
She worked hard and fast, while I marveled at Natures’ special way.

Later when I returned, there was no sign of activity.
I wondered if the nest is done. I can only wait and see.
How many pretty doves will this dedicated Mother raise?
I hope chance will let me witness some of her teaching ways.

2008
*****

The Swallows
By
Dennis C. Orvis

Truth is stranger than fiction is perhaps a proverb from days of old.
Yet every once in a while an item true fits that olden saying.
A good friend told me of an attic problem when the weather was really cold.
Escaping air from the furnace vent created frost on everything.

Two neighbors offered to investigate for blockage in the metal stack.
But when by using a mirror from the basement no blockage could be seen.
They both did agree it had to be blocked and said they would be back.
My friend though, entered the attic and dismantled the vent at the seam.

The surprise he found could never be seen by mirrors so far below.
What he saw was the unbelievable work of two small birds of flight.
The nine-inch vent was indeed blocked by an engineering miracle.
A well-built nest nearly ten inches deep was touching all sides so tight.

Studying the vent pipe he could not see how the little birds got in.
The mystery deepens more to imagine the sticks and trips they flew.
He could not see anything possible that helped the birds begin.
And yet there it surely was, the evidence undeniably true.

He was relieved to find the blockage but he could not believe his eyes.
What he saw quickly cast a shadow of sadness across his heart.
He was sure the silent furnace gas must have taken them from the skies.
A pair of Swallows, lifeless, side by side, together in their work of art.

2008
*****

My Paradise

My Paradise
By
Dennis C. Orvis

Across the plateau between these gentle hills of Maine,
Such Beauty cries out to me.
The colorful Lupine with many lavender shades
Move like a floral sea.

The gorgeous flowers dance as the light winds blow
And the aroma gives my senses natural highs.
How the wonders of Nature mystifies me
And the blue sky shrouds my paradise

2008
*****

Miracles in Green and Yellow

Miracles in Green and Yellow
By
Dennis C. Orvis

I don’t know about you but Miracles boggle my mind.
Big ones, small ones and happy ones, Miracles of any kind.
At this moment, though, I’m looking at a very special tree
With deep green leaves, a symmetrical canopy.

It’s a Red Ruby grapefruit tree with fruit that’s orange sweet
That in itself is a miracle, an annual repeat.
Somehow, recently, this wonderful tree caught our attention
And the progress of spring growth is worthy of mention

Februarys’ warm weather exploded early blossoms of white
While still loaded with large yellow, ripe fruit waiting to delight
The old fruit had to be picked or the new blossoms would fall
And six boxes we picked, donated “free to all.”

Crisis averted and pea-size green things begin to show.
With Florida’s very warm sunshine like wild grapes they did grow
And they grew quickly to marble-size in a week or ten days
Then many dropped off during some strong windy sways

This natural thinning is really important you see
As too many weighty grown grapefruit breaks limbs off the tree
It has been a month since the sweet blossoms attracted the bees
Now we see golfball-size green things swing in the breeze

For the next six months small green things will continue to grow
Until our fine tree will be loaded with a bright yellow glow
We have watched this miracle develop slowly and great
And soon every bite will be cause to celebrate.

2008
*****

Sittipong

SITTIPONG
By
Dennis C. Orvis

A beautiful Harbor Seal was sitting on the old red buoy,
It does seem to me as I float near he’s waving me “Ship Ahoy!”
And the old red buoy rocks side to side and clangs a metal clang.

With my trusty binocs’ focus brings him nearer so better I can see,
And now I realize that seal is friendly and is winking right at me.
And the old red buoy rocks side to side and clangs a metal clang.

The Harbor Seal waved, raised his head and smiled with a whiskered grin.
What a sight he is, silly for sure and flippin’ me a fin.
And the old red buoy rocks side to side and clangs a metal clang.

He motions me to come closer so I steer my boat his way.
Now his grin gets much wider adding a friendly grunt I’d say.
And the old red buoy rocks side to side and clangs a metal clang.

“What is your name?” I shouted, as the tide is dragging me.
Then he said, “AURK, AURK, SITTIPONG!” clear as clear could be.
And the old red buoy rocks side to side and clangs a metal clang.

“AURK, AURK!” I hear his welcome call as I smile and wave back at him.
From my days’ catch I throw him a fish and hope to see him again.
And the old red buoy rocks side to side and clangs a metal clang.

I still tell of Sittipong and that special day when he caught my fish.
I think of him when I pass that old red buoy but I can only wish.
And the old red buoy rocks side to side and clangs a metal clang.

Except for an occasional Seagull the old red buoy is rider free.
Sittipong, the Harbor Seal returned no more and remains a memory.
And the old red buoy rocks side to side and clangs a metal clang.

Clang (slow) Clang (slow) Clang (slow) Clang (slow) Clang.

2008

Note: Sittipong was the name of one of our cruise ship waiters.
He was from Thailand. While we were watching the seals
floating on the drifting ice packs this poem came to me.
*****

LOOKING FOR A WHALE
By
Dennis C. Orvis

I’m standing on the starboard side, leaning on the rail,
Looking as hard as I can look, looking for a whale.
So far all this effort has gone to no avail.
Any kind of whale will do, even just a tail.
Our ship has reached the northern tip of this beautiful Glacier Bay
After listening an hour to the Glaciers’ groans and creaks today,
The ship turned one hundred-eighty degree; we’re heading the other way.
Now the noonday sun is on our side, it’s time to peal a coat away.

Two Brown Bears were spotted earlier, from here a half-mile or more
By the time I got my binocks adjusted they had left the shore
“About the size of Hamsters,” hollered a touring bore.
With his cheap binocks he’s said dumb things like this before.
We’re surrounded by Alaskan mountains crowned by peaks of brilliant snow.
And now the sun magnifies their beauty wherever your eyes will go.
My quest though, remains the same and for me it’s quite special you know.
I really hope to see a whale, just one, before I have to go.

2008
*****

ANOTHER MORNING WALK
By
Dennis C. Orvis

How calm it is this morning,
Wind is resting, the air is very fresh.
A few small clouds are floating by
The early Sun gives a soft caress

The many birds are showing off,
By singing their special pretty song.
Adding happy music to my steps
As I steadily walk along.

The green leafy trees are in full dress
Wearing their best summers’ attire
And making slow moving shadows
As the morning Sun climbs higher.

Nature is putting on a show,
Animals are taking turns to excite.
I see a Buck Deer, medium rack,
About forty yards to my right

Carefully running through nearby woods
With a smaller Doe right behind.
With graceful beauty in motion
They vanish, leaving no visible sign.

I follow the path where others have gone
Along the old jagged rock wall.
Where a pair of speedy Chipmunks
Are running in and out of the spaces so small

How cute they are in their striped fur suits
Chasing and playing hide and seek
So when I stopped to watch, I wished
I had brought something for them to eat

I remember the Chipmunks at Grand Canyon
Giving the tourists a thrill
They would eat from your hand, back and forth
And never seemed to get their fill

Wow! Look at those bushes behind the wall
Something scattering I see,
A Mother Turkey with young ones
About three-quarter grown, running free

She gave an alarm and they disappeared
Deep in the overgrown brush
It’s so quiet now after she led the way,
With a hasty Mother’s rush.

As I walk further along the path I wonder
What else I might see.
I soon found my answer as a
Brownish-gray rabbit was looking right at me.

He was a statue frozen in time
With no movement, not even one
And I wondered how close I could get
Before he would frighten and run

Then I thought better, I’ll just let him be
It may be his breakfast spot
I kept walking, not turning his way,
Although I enjoyed him a lot.

Soon I was near my starting place
Where the super-sized crows were squawking
It’s another great Morning Walk,
And I surely enjoyed the walking.

2008
*****

Westy

Westy
By
Dennis C. Orvis

Hello! My name is Westy and I’m having a great day.
Swinging hard on the dandelions and loving how they sway.
And I’m sending all those little seeds flying through the air,
How pretty, like tiny parachutes floating everywhere.

Won’t you come and play with me? We’ll surely have lots of fun.
And we’ll find something else to do when all these seeds are done.
Maybe we can chase some crickets and make ’em jump real high,
Or just lay back, searching clouds for animals in the sky.

2008
*****

SOME MYSTERIES OF NATURE
By
Dennis C. Orvis

The sound of the wild and raucous waves, like thunder that doesn’t end.
Taking their turn to batter the beach and capture the helpless sand.
What causes the waves and where do they start? Why are they large or small?
Does Nature warn ocean creatures before the hurricanes’ squall?

I watch the Pelicans glide over the murky water in search of a favorite dish.
I wonder how they see anything at all, let alone a slippery, swimming fish.
Flying in formation, a line of two or more, suddenly one will drop
Exploding the water’s surface with open beak catching a meal or not.

I enjoy watching the shore birds, some with short legs, others so tall.
Stabbing their beaks in receding water, where I see nothing at all.
How quickly they run, back and forth, as the waves come and go
And the sand crabs dart in and out their holes, wary of any foe

I see a few surfers in the distance, riding the scary waves
It would have been fun many years ago in my younger days
But today my pleasure is limited to anything without leaps
Like watching waves and birds and finding pretty shells, sunning on the beach.

2008
*****

Time Out!

TIME OUT!
By
Dennis C. Orvis

It isn’t easy being a bear in a zoo
Posing for funny dressed tourists all day like you
With cameras’ clicking, video cams running
While I try to look fierce, a little bit cunning

I don’t have a chair or recliner to rest in,
Or a TV to watch a wild grizzly western
Boring at best is what my day is about
So quiet please, don’t even sneeze, it’s time for my Time Out!

2008

Note: I took this picture in 1997 at the St. Louis Zoo
*****

Hello, Please
By
Dennis C. Orvis

You can almost hear a lonely whisper,
Eyes crying out for a friend or a friendly face
The shade ends torn away in desperation
And the sadness pleads rescue from this space
I feel you footprints on my heart.

The kitten in the window cannot escape
The outside is one place it cannot be
I had to move on, though hard to walk away
Oh how I wish I could set you free
I have your footprints in my heart.

2008
*****

The Symphony of the Marsh
By
Dennis C. Orvis

How majestic the Redwing Blackbird on the cattail swings,
How proud he seems as his favorite song he sings,
Swaying gently to and fro, as the marsh winds blow
While shrill calls answer and echo where the lily pads grow.

Great White Egrets and Blue Herons quietly stalk the shore
Searching for small fish, frogs and lizards in the fore
Action in the rushes, eyes focused, the job at hand,
The symphony of the marsh continues, floating across the land.

2008
*****

Pumpkin is His Name

PUMPKIN IS HIS NAME
By
Dennis C . Orvis

Did you hear that? A soft knocking on the bedroom door.
It’s the family cat. On the door he’s learned to tap and make a
knocking sound.
It’s early morning. He thinks it’s time for fish and more.
He’ll badger anyone and everyone ’til his breakfast is found.

He is yellow-orange in color and Pumpkin is his name.
Nine years ago as a ball of fur, he purred into our hearts.
And ever since we’ve all been in training, players in his game.
Now at his beck and call, we all react, knowing well our parts.

Today he’s full grown, extra large and majestic to the eye.
Feline true, he sleeps all day long, carousing the whole night
through,
Creeping around in the darkness, stalking shadows on the sly.
‘Til hunger says to tap the door, as morning begins anew.

Through the years, he’s learned to travel, waiting quiet by the car.
He enters his comfy carrier without a fuss or cry.
Riding as the traffic moves, ignoring noises from afar.
Sleep soon comes oblivious to the many trees racing by.

Far from ordinary, Pumpkin is a very special friend.
Worthy successor to Charmin, nineteen years our family pet.
Today Pumpkin is top rated, accepting petting now and then.
We all agree, in our hearts, he is tops, one you can’t forget.

2008
*****

WHEN THE NORTH WIND BLOWS
By
Dennis C. Orvis

When the north wind blows through the old Oak trees,
Our coats will shield us from the chilling breeze.

While the Blue Jays huddle in the mistletoe
Memories will warm us wherever we go.

So many good feelings to chuckle our heart
They always make me smile when we’re apart.

Oh, how I love those special memories
When the north wind blows through the old Oak trees.

2008
*****

The Cardinal

THE CARDINAL
By
Dennis C. Orvis

There! Hear that? A hidden whistle,
A birdcall, so sharp and shrill.
Unmistakable, a Cardinal,
I’m sure, it’s his normal drill.

There he is! A male, bright red,
Quick to hide in the leafy trees.
Look, there’s the female,
Trading whistles in the chilly breeze.

Like most birds, Nature made the male
So beautiful to the eye
While the female’s brownish color,
Blends with her surroundings nearby

Protecting the nest and young ones,
From predators they should fear.
Nature excels protecting each member
In case harm is near.

State Bird, Seven times! The Cardinal
With its majestic crown.
Choice of many artists, painting
Beautiful scenes with snow abound

Oh how he catches our eye, on canvas,
Print or in the wild
Radiant red in view, classic scenes,
And us, ever beguiled.

2009
*****

THE BEAUTY OF EARLY MORNING
By
Dennis C. Orvis

The peace of early morning takes time to describe
When the darkness gives way to pale, dim light outside

The flowers, bushes and trees slowly come into view,
The grass shines a deep green sheen wearing the morning dew,

Our Mockingbird begins to sing the lovely songs he knows
Early morning’s beauty enhanced by the wild pink rose

A dark rabbit moves slowly from under bushy flowers
And completes a picture I could easily watch for hours.

Although each lovely moment passes quietly into the day
Certain peaceful visions in my memories will ever stay.

2009
*****

GOOD NEWS
By
Dennis C. Orvis

Did you see that gorgeous sunrise?
Did you see the golden sky start the day?
Do you see the beautiful Amaryllis
making a brilliant bouquet?

Do you notice the tinge of green
in the trees you can see?
Can you hear the early morning birds
sing their melody?

That is good news you can see and good news you can hear.
Spring is coming, spring is coming, Good News!
Spring is here!

2009
*****

BAMBI, THE PONY
By
Dennis C. Orvis

We had a pony once, for less than a year,
His name, I recall, was Bambi.

We had three children under twelve,
And the idea seemed good at the time.

But City people and ponies don’t mix.
Moved him twice, gave him away for free.

As a Christmas present, ending our ordeal.
I must have been out of my mind.

2009
*****

WINGED MUSIC
By
Dennis C. Orvis

OK, I know this might sound a little bit quirky
At an old picnic table, an outdoor camping site
I’m listening to the birds, I just heard a turkey
Four campers remain, others left after one night

You know Nature is always performing
Though not on center stage most of the time
The players are singing or adorning
Calling mates from the high telephone line

Some calls appear to be answered, I think
While some are sent apparently in vain
And then others have a territory link
All in all, it is an ongoing game.

It is an early morning symphony
Natures’ winged music so pretty in surround
Many happy birds, only a few I see
Ah, my table, no better spot could be found.

2009
*****

LIGHTNING BUGS AND MOONLIGHT
By
Dennis C. Orvis

It’s early evening, dark with a tinge of light in the distant horizon
I started walking with the usual loneliness one can get in the night
When a field of tall grass and sleeping daises came alive, lightning
bugs! dozens!
Contrasting the bright moon, so large, unmoving, quietly dressed
in silky white.

How glorious I thought as hundreds of little lights flicker in the
dark night
I wondered at Natures purpose, about that blinking light she gave
this bug with wings
When I was small we caught and put them in glass jars with
punctured lids very tight
And sometimes we put the blinking lights on our fingers making
blinking rings

Oh, how long ago that was, before TV, computers and
video games
When neighborhood kids played Kick the Can or Capture the Flag,
in the early night
When outdoor fun was number one; I’m surprised I remember most
of their names
Oh how I treasure those times when we were small with lightning
bugs and moonlight.

2009
*****

METAMORPHOSIS OF A GLOOMY DAY
By
Dennis C. Orvis

As I gaze into the woods
On this rather gloomy day,
Quiet rain is falling gently now,
An earlier downpour did not stay.
The sky is getting light,
Though the Sun is nowhere to be seen.
And the tall, slender trees,
Are surrounded by various shades of green.

It’s summertime in New England,
Though cool at sixty-five
The trees and bushes are full bloom,
Now after winters sleep, Nature‘s alive.
Except for some wet leaves moving,
When the raindrops fall
Everything’s so very still,
Like an old painting, hanging on the wall.

I don’t know where the creatures are,
The rabbits, the squirrels and the deer.
There are none that I can see,
Yet I really feel they might be near.
The air is so empty of any flying birds,
Hiding from the rain.
The gentle rain will be stopping soon
And they’ll be out again.

We’ll tempt them with tasty treats
Cheerios we’ve scattered close by
Look at this. What eyesight they must have.
A Blue Jay’s the first to fly.
Wow! He quickly grabbed an “O”
And then into the trees he flew
He’ll return soon, I’m sure.
You see, one “O” will never do.

Look! There’s a bushy tail
Jumping across the grass toward me
We call him Rocky,
I wonder how many Rockys there might be.
Nervously they hurriedly
Eat the Cheerios, too
Running and eating or sitting upright
Chewing, they put away quite a few

Or stash them in their flexible cheeks
Then chasing back to their tree
To share or eat, we do not know,
Their private world we cannot see
The rain has stopped
And Nature’s show begins to grow
The Red-headed Woodpecker raps his tree

While Cheerios disappear in a Crow
Sunshine just hit the pile of wood
I cut and stacked for our fireplace
And now I see the Chipmunks appear
Once again to play and race.
As the real world in its turmoil
Creates problems for mankind
I’ll not join the fray instead
I’ll choose any peaceful woods I find.

2009
*****

THE PERSISTENT REDHEAD
By
Dennis C. Orvis

I was in our garage with the double door open wide
Standing by my workbench working on a project I don’t recall
Listening to music from the CD player by my side
When a new sound I heard from outdoors came in, bouncing off the wall

It was jack-hammer rapid though not as loud I can say
I went outside to see what really could be making such a sound
It was a bird, a Downy Woodpecker pecking away
Trying to make a hole in our fiber glass light pole, ‘round and ‘round

So busy he paid no attention to my standing near
On a small section circling the pole he kept pecking away
Ignoring me completely he continued his effort without fear
I knew right away he had chosen the wrong pole this sunny day.

I was able to make the Red Headed bird fly away
But then he quickly returned again on his goal to make a hole
I chased him away again I imagine he wondered why
And then He returned once more resolved to penetrate the pole

His return and then my chase went on for five days or more
Each time I heard his rapping sound I came out to chase him away
Finally one day I missed him I imagine his beak was sore
He must have found a good tree and started a hole without delay

I recall that little bird determined as one could be
Of course He left his many marks that I need to repaint again
I suppose he would still be pecking there, except for me
Although I was trying to help he’ll never let me be his friend.

2009
*****

The Textured Sky

The Textured Sky
By
Dennis C. Orvis

It was still quite early as I started my morning walk
About an hour after sunrise and the sky is a Robin’s egg blue
But the view I saw was a picture I’ve never seen before
It was full of airplane trails, a totally different view

I was amazed, to say the least, I never heard a plane
With the trails about the same size, it must have been a formation
Perhaps from the practice bombing range south of here
But then, I know it has never happened before, it was a sensation.

I am sure it had to be government planes early this morning
We rarely see commercial planes maybe to Orlando, never flying so low
This picture created of a textured sky, was a one-time camera shot
I got it, but the story behind the picture I will never know.

2009
*****

Sky Dreams

Sky Dreams
By
Dennis C. Orvis

I watched the sky today and the clouds waltzing in the blue
And thoughts dancing in my mind always come back to you
Oh how the lofty swirls develop with such amazing flair
Everywhere the white ballet drifts through the wind blown air.

Can these be our dreams we are trying to hold so dear?
Embellished with feathery beauty, fingertip near.
Or are these dreams like smoke, fading and drifting away?
Believe with me and know, our faith will make it all ok.

2009
*****

Bottom's Up

Bottom’s Up
By
Dennis C. Orvis

At first glance you may not recognize the subject of this pic
Nor will it tell you how long I spent to get a shot of it

A clue will help. Look real close; try to find two males and a hen
Three mallard ducks, bottom feeding, bobbing down and up again.

I had in mind this certain shot, how long I couldn’t wonder
First one dipped, then another and sometimes two would tip under

I waited for nearly an hour. I was just about to quit
Suddenly, all three bobbed under. Bottoms up! This is it!

2010
*****

The New Bird Feeder
By
Dennis C. Orvis

It is a clear plastic tube about three inches wide and eighteen inches high,
Two pounds of new birdseed softly swaying in the gentle wind
Will they find it? We thought as we watched the new feeder and time go by
When a bird flew into the bush, stopped and then it flew again,

It was a small bird we saw, wren size, landing on a perch by a feeding side
It was the first, so courageous for sure picking at the seed
Quickly the brownish bird was joined by three others, every perch occupied
Seeds spilled below attracted a dozen more, welcomed to the feed

I tried hard to identify the fluffy birds but I found no special marks
Just like small sparrows, they have gray breasts and a few darker streaks
My bird book pictures showed a dozen plus, but none I thought looked close
They would eat a while then fly away, I’m sure with loaded beaks.

A morning dove flew to a branch on a nearby bush and watched the feeding show
He’ll probably return when small birds vacate the ground below
Then a crafty blue jay trying to land on the bird feeder perch made no progress
It is designed for small birds, so he went hungry without success

Our new feeder is well received, with several dozen birds, a flying circus
One feeder is surely not enough. We need to add some more
We’ll add a feeder like the one we have plus a bigger one for blue jay ruckus.
This was a very exciting day, one that the birds and us, have been waiting for.

2010
*****

The Mystic of the River

The Mystic of the River
By
Dennis C. Orvis

The River does what rivers do, responding on occasion to nature’s whim.
Ever flowing, ever moving, ever-calling young boys and old fishermen

Quietly stealing dirt and sand, changing contours of the shoreline
Calling me and my peers who love it, to give it even more time.

So peaceful today, promising as usual the elusive big fish.
Yet knowing the great trophy catch will remain an unanswered wish.

While the pleasure of swimming on a hot summer day will ever be mine.
The old swimming hole fun is swinging and dropping from a high hanging vine.

Changing with the seasons from springtime floods to frozen ice
The river I have known and enjoyed will forever entice.

As it has for centuries all whose eyes it has warmed and filled.
Never to be forgotten by the many hearts it has always thrilled.

2010
*****

The Lighthouse Promise

The Lighthouse Promise
By
Dennis C. Orvis

A distant light on a rocky shore
Cuts through the darkness of the sea at night
Sending a message…danger…danger
Stay clear of me, stay your course, sail right.

Be alert to the task at hand
The danger here is real, as fatal wrecks attest
The submerged rocks will rip your hull
If you fail your skills with effort below your best.

So take head, Captain, my warning’s real
My light sweeping through the night is your friend
Let my light grow small as you move away
I’ll stay here on watch for all to pass safely once again.

2010

Note: I took this picture in 1998 on the Oregon coast.
*****

The Adirondack Chair

The Adirondack Chair
By
Dennis C. Orvis

When the beautiful foliage season peaks
In the fall New England air

And the breathless views for many miles
Are photo shots for all who care

Overwhelming by any measure
Understated by artists’ flare

Words, though wisely placed and written
Fall short of the pictures there

Still, we can enjoy it all
Watching from our Adirondack chair.

2010
*****

The Snow Keeps Falling

The Snow Keeps Falling
By
Dennis C. Orvis

The dark green pine needles are holding tight to the mother tree
As the blustering cold wind blows relentless to set them free

And the heavy, damp snow keeps falling, falling, falling so quietly.

No birds flying today, visibility is down to none
The ground is buried and deepening, not even rabbits can run

And the heavy, damp snow keeps falling, falling, falling, so quietly.

Will it ever end? We ask, looking and begging to the sky
While the biting wind blows harder, we can only wonder why.

And the heavy, damp snow keeps falling, falling, falling so quietly.

Winter, so often miserable with its troublesome snow.
We will suffer ’til spring when new flowers begin to grow.

And the heavy, damp snow keeps falling, falling, falling so quietly.

2010
*****

The Surrender

The Surrender
By
Dennis C. Orvis

Wow! For three days it has been snowing
It’s a blizzard like we’ve never seen before
Already declared a record
The report is bad, there will be even more

I’m looking through the window
I see nothing but dull white
The strong wind has drifted the snow
Higher than the window, with snow filtered light

The neighborhood is so quiet
We’ve had no traffic on our street for days
Not even the needed snowplow
The city is buried under a whiteout glaze

We’re lucky to have lights and heat
Though it’s no school, no work, no mail, no fun
We’ve hung the white flag on the porch
We surrender to you, winter, you have won!

February 2010

Note: Picture from Fred Stumme, a friend who lives
In Maryland
*****

A Canadian Sunset

A Canadian Sunset
By
Dennis C. Orvis

Nature can paint a sunset that is awesome to the eye
Gorgeous, simply stunning might describe this one very well
Or spectacular a photographer might quickly say
Over the reeds a golden stripe creates a magic spell

Wonderful, quiet, peaceful, so many great descriptive words
Yet they seem inadequate as the eye soaks in the view
From a distant forest this Canadian sunset called to us
With our camera this beautiful moment is ours, ever new.

February 2010

Note: I took this picture in Canada 2007
*****

End of a Perfect Day

End of a Perfect Day
By
Dennis C. Orvis

The Westward wind gently fills the sails
Softly, as one might blow on a candle flame without ending its glow
A feeling of peace comes over me
The sounds are few, sail edge flutters and the hull cutting dark water flow

A picture rare, yet it’s ours and real
The setting Sun partially hidden behind small lazy clouds, paints a stripe of gold our way
Great quiet surrounds my every thought
And with you at my side, no fears to hide, it’s the perfect end of a perfect day.

March 2010
*****

Spring is Here Spring is Here

Spring is Here! Spring is Here!
By
Dennis C. Orvis

As the eastern sky begins to open its eye
Spectacular colors are growing
Ever brilliant, the orange, pink and lavender
Splashing clouds while the cock is crowing

The Sun, only a slice of orange peeks above the rim
As the Earth eagerly waits for the new day
The slice becomes a dome of dazzling orange
An enormous ball rapidly rises, exploding my way

A lonely cloud reflects the breath-taking colors
Before the mornings’ new Sun colors start turning,
The orange ball evolves into a bright yellow sphere
And welcome rays reach for a great day yearning

Spring is here! The trees have green buds showing
The amaryllis’ flaming red flowers are standing tall
Proudly announcing Spring is here! Spring is here!
Spring is Here! Spring is here! How we love the Robins’ call.

2010
*****

A Friendly Walk in the Garden
By
Dennis C. Orvis

I was walking though the garden
And a cute Ladybug landed on my shoulder
She sent a very quick glance toward me
And then she seemed to get a little bolder

She smiled; then I heard her say,
“Have you ever seen such beautiful spring flowers?
Those pink and purple azaleas are quite stunning,
I could look at them for many hours”

I was surprised when I heard her speak
But her soft, sweet voice put me at ease.
I whispered to her when I spoke to reply
Don’t know why but I expected it would please.

“Perhaps not, it’s difficult to say
Spring is such a lovely time of the year
The early amaryllis were exceptional,
Wide, deep red, gorgeous beyond compare.”

“Yes, I know,” she said, “very red like me.
And the blue bells are about to bloom,
Like the four o’clocks growing so fast
Because the butterflies will be arriving soon.”

And then she said she had to go
She added, “I’ve certainly enjoyed our talk
“Will I see you again?” I called as she flew
“Perhaps, meanwhile everyday you deserve a garden walk.”

2010
*****

The Talented Singer

The Talented Singer
By
Dennis C. Orvis

This is not the first time I’ve written about a Mockingbird
And probably won’t be my last as long as my hearing is strong

His songs are quite a few, some of the sweetest I have heard
From the top of the black lamppost or favorite tree he sings day long

He mimics other birds, from the smallest to the big black crows
How pleasant to the ear, as his sweet repertoire grows and grows

We’re thrilled he loves it here, spending quiet in our citrus tree
But when he sings it’s special, delightful, peaceful, for you and me.

2010
*****

Fuzzy Miracles

Fuzzy Miracles
By
Dennis C. Orvis

Spring has arrived with the speed of light
Sandhill cranes with their red top hat, nesting pairs with hatching eggs
Sandhill chicks popping up over night
Usually two rust-colored fuzz balls with long skinny legs

The parents teach what and how to eat
Growth is essential and their legs seem to be longer every day
Although nature can be beautiful
The laws of nature survival of the fittest comes into play

It is thrilling to see as new chicks appear
But many will disappear as night animals hunt for food
Survivors will soon be near full-grown
Some will stay, some join migrating flocks, nature makes our life good.

2010
*****

The Beauty of Freedom

The Beauty of Freedom
By
Dennis C. Orvis

This morning early as the sun was waking
I saw an eagle flying low over the cypress trees

The sun’s rays increased the brightness I could see
Of his majestic white head and tail feathers in the breeze

How beautiful I thought of his graceful flight
The proud symbol of our country and the freedom we enjoy

Peaceful, yet so observant of his domain
Magnificent with a keen eye for any intruder’s ploy

Just another big bird some might quickly say
How do you explain my feeling of pride as I watch it fly?

No, it’s much more than just another big bird
It stands for everything we’ve fought for and will defend ’til we die.

2010
*****

Birds, Birds and Big Birds
By
Dennis C. Orvis

We have two bird feeders on the backside of our house
Where our Florida room with walls of glass, tinted for privacy and cool
When we open the tall Venetian blinds
Many small birds, woodpeckers, redwings, doves and blue jays, the
jester fool

*Showtime, so many times, how we love the active view
Of course the big oak trees where the squirrels flourish and test their skill
to empty our feeders
It’s fun to watch them climb the metal rods often in vain
They swing and fall scattering the mourning doves eating on the ground
like playing follow the leaders

It’s a busy place though cardinal visits are rare
The big black crows arrive in groups, become noisy and frustrated
on perches much too small
The small birds come and go in quick flying flocks
Blue jays swoop in, fill their beak, exit in seconds and vanish in a nearby
bush, so tall

But yesterday we had a different show
I opened the blinds and to my surprise two big birds, sandhill cranes were
having a feast you see
They’re mostly eating seeds between the rocks below
But every once in a while their long beak finds the hanging feeder holes where treats are waiting free

“Oh no!” My wife said to me, “they will eat it all.”
She left the room, grabbed a broom, running to the back of our house. I
could see her wave to chase ’em.
But the bigger one stood his ground, challenging the broom
He faced her, leaped a few feet in the air, flapping his wings and then
he did it again.

Well! What happened next was a huge shock to me.
I saw my wife mimic the sandhills’ moves, a dance ensued between woman
and the big red-topped bird
I don’t think the bird expected her challenge
He quickly turned, called his partner and they fast-stepped away making
sounds like we’ve never heard.

Well, we’ve had our laughs over this activity
The sandhills will be back for sure, once they find easy food, they won’t
forget where it is waiting

I’m not sure I’ll see my wife do the crane dance again
But each time we open the blinds, it’s like opening the curtain on a new
play worth celebrating.

2010
*****

Nature's Artistic Beauty

Nature’s Artistic Beauty
By
Dennis C. Orvis

Such pictures nature paints, sometimes slowly with small changes
That becomes a masterpiece of overwhelming beauty
Sometimes it’s a landscape, hillside or mountain ranges
Sometimes only a flower or a bush posing for me

Living pictures to catch our eye or our cameras’ lens
If we’re lucky to be at the right and wonderful place
Where your mind can return often, time and time again
And the fabulous colors appear with calming grace

This week the azaleas exploded with lavender
To sooth ones eyes adding lovely fragrance to the air
Although man tries to match the touch of nature we see
It will never compare to Natures’ Artistic Beauty.

2010
*****

Old Blue
By
Dennis C. Orvis

Early mornings the old fisherman would load his boat
to challenge the fish in the bay
An adult Great Blue Heron kept his distance on the shore
watching his routine

They quietly eyed each other as the bait and poles were
carefully stowed away
The motors’ tank was filled and the boat moved
as the running motor began to sing.

The gray morning faded away as hours passed
and the fisherman fished his favorite places
He caught a few and when lunchtime
neared to the dock he steered his boat

There on the cleaning table he put his catch,
a half-dozen fishy unsmiling faces
And threw the cleanings to the Heron, who
swallowed them like a hungry goat

As the days and time passed by, the
old fisherman and the Heron grew nearer
Not friends, but associates by respect
brought together by the host, the poor fish

Eventually the Great Blue Heron became
known as Old Blue, lost its’ fear
Seeing the fisherman’s’ boat return Old Blue
moves to the dock with his dinner wish

Late summer, twilight of the fishing season
this odd couple became buddies
The once wary Great Heron, Old Blue had lost
all his fear that nature would allow

When he sees the old fisherman’s’ boat
heading in he flies to it in the breeze
Landing gently on the moving boat where
he rides gracefully on the forward bow.

2010

Note: Dedicated to our old friend, Charlie and his Old Blue.
*****

The Eagle's Nest - Live

The Eagle’s Nest – Live
By
Dennis C. Orvis

As I sit in our nest so high in this familiar tree
Keeping our eaglet warm as instinct demands I should
I watch the sky for your return, the way it’s meant to be
I’m beginning to feel hunger so I peck on a twig of wood

There is only a gentle breeze as I listen for your cry
My calls have gone unanswered as many long, silent hours pass
Our hungry chick is resting now with bites of fish old and dry
We both need fresh food. How long can your absence last?

This vigil is becoming a lonely, worried ordeal
You are very late and I can only watch the empty sky
You are long overdue and now my hunger pains are real
I cannot leave the nest or our young chick will surely die.
I wait
Nature says
I wait
Heavy eyes
I wait
I hunger
I wait
Time stops
I wait
Wings whirl
I wait
The nest shakes
I wait
You’re back
Silence
My turn
Finally
I’m gone!

2010
*****

Max and Maxine - Fluttering

Max and Maxine - Fluttering II

Max and Maxine – Fluttering
By
Dennis C. Orvis

Singing, “I only have eyes for you” Max the emperor moth
flashed his dazzling colors at Maxine
In an aerial display of superior aerobatic flying

With rapid loops and exciting swoops, a performance
to satisfy a female’s wishful dream
So close to her, their wingtips touched
he glanced back to see if she was buying

He saw her blush
He saw her sweet smile
He landed in a rush
Together for a while

A duet was heard from a red rose covered with dew
Beautiful and sincere, “I only have eyes for you!”

2010
*****

The Dazzling Display
By
Dennis C. Orvis

It started about eight pm with a mist so slight
Then soon thereafter raindrops began falling
Followed by a summer storm with loud booming lightning

The rain became heavy as evening darkness replaced light
As the storm moved in, all the night birds stopped singing
We saw the storm approaching ever so frightening.

And then we witnessed a most dazzling display
As thousands of bright lightning bolts raced to the ground
It was like a great symphony of atoms, wildly exploding

Terribly unbelievable as night turned to day
Too many short flashes in obvious surround,
Wow! We exclaimed with our breath we’re holding.

Over twenty-six thousand lightning strikes recorded
Bright flashes in the heavy rain reflecting every score
A dazzling display we’ve not seen in the past.

Racing eastward with much damage reported
Stormy nearly eight hours, it left us about four
Now that dazzling display is gone, it moved out to sea at last.

2010
*****

Frigate, Me Not

Frigate, Me Not
By
Dennis C. Orvis

It was breakfast time on our wonderful cruise ship
We were enjoying our meal at a table by the outside railing

The morning sun in the light blue sky adds beauty to our trip
On the deep blue ocean, today, a calm one for sailing

It is easy for thoughts to wander, peace is everywhere
Good food, good friends, memories forming today

Quietly enjoying food, staring into the air
A dark speck appears, quite distant, heading my way

It’s a bird getting closer in a jagged flight
It’s coming into view, apparently a large bird, color black

Somewhat aerobatic gliding slow left, then weaving right
Totally without effort, riding wind with little flap

The black speck is no more, a beautiful black bird I see
Unmistakable, a Frigate bird, the first on my life’s list

Such graceful beauty, performing perhaps just for me
Known through prose and poetry, but today answer to a wish.

2010
*****

The Pesky Squirrel

The Pesky Squirrel
By
Dennis C. Orvis

Ok, I know this isn’t a great crisis,
But it is a situation of substantial aggravation.
It involves a squirrel, he is far from ordinary,
One that causes contemplation of assassination
He lives near the Pro shop at our golf course
I do not know which tree
But he’s a thief, he’s learned golfers
Carry goodies to eat, you see

You don’t dare leave your golf cart
Or golf bag unattended with food
He will suddenly appear, sniff your bag
Looking for something good
Searching for peanuts or crackers
He’ll quickly chew a hole if zipped
When you return your goodies will be gone
And your golf bag is ripped.

He hides somewhere close by,
Close enough to always see
Don’t turn your back or he’ll grab your
Snack and carry it up a tree
I must say we have heard some tales,
Some of them are stretched pretty far
Like one about him removing the lid
Of someone’s peanut jar.

Another report stated a metal candy
Box was taken
I do find it hard to believe,
Perhaps they might be mistaken
However, that pesky squirrel,

Is clever, hiding where you can’t see
So don’t give him a chance, hide your
Peanuts, crackers and goodies always under lock and key

2010

(Dedicated to my friend George, who just barely
escaped with his life……..)
*****

The Lizard and the Frog

The Lizard and the Frog
By
Dennis C. Orvis

We have this beautiful rock in our garden, called a Bloodstone
From Canada’s Richards’ Landing Island, we hauled it home
We’re told, it’s found only on that island, a mystery hard to comprehend
A resident insisted we bring it home; he was also a dear friend.

This beautiful rock has a place of prominence in our garden, you see
On the rock a green cement frog sits, forty plus years in the family
Our son made it for us when he was only about twelve years old
So the Bloodstone and the frog are treasures like memories of gold

While strolling in our garden, there’s a lizard on the frog I see
I notice his tail is broken off and maybe he’s watching me
I rushed to get my camera; the picture came out very nice
Then looking closely, I saw something else in that pair of eyes

The lizard and the frog staring eye to eye
And quite frankly, I can only wonder why
I wonder was it fear perhaps with his broken tail so still?
Should I tell him a cement frog cannot bite and never will?

June 2010
*****

Dinner on the Waterfront
By
Dennis C. Orvis

Like a picture the Great White Egret stands on the waters’ edge

Motionless with its’ neck stretched to its’ very limit

With eyes focused under a lily pad, suddenly

His pointed beak spears the water and withdraws with
a minnow in it

2010
*****

It’s Fascinating!
By
Dennis C. Orvis

It’s fascinating! How does he know?

I’m watching an ibis fast stepping across the grass.

He stops. Rams his long beak into the ground.

Removes it with his lunch, a fat grub worm, held fast.

2010
*****

The Quail
By
Dennis C. Orvis

Northeast Iowa where I was born was not known for quail.
So any game bird hunting we did was for the ring-necked pheasant

However the reverse was true when we moved to southern Iowa
I must add my experiences with quail were more funny than pleasant

My neighbor had a hunting dog named Lady, he was trying to train.
She would race to the truck when the shotguns came into sight

Through the brush and meadows her nose was searching for hidden birds
But when a rabbit appeared, she lost her cool, over the hill, well into the night

The first time I hunted when a trained dog went on point
His owner told me to walk in steady until the bird flys

So I did and when I got close the quail flushed so very fast
And flew right between my legs much to my surprise.

The third encounter was over very fast, although I remember still
I had to go through a barbed-wire fence, so I did it with great care

I put my leg through the fence, watching the barbs on the wire
My foot touched down in a covey of quail and three dozen quail burst into the air

I wouldn’t pretend to tell you I was good at hunting quail
What you have read here were my more comical tries

Quail fly up – down – and sideways, out of sight, never straight
Watching those fast flying birds is enough to cross your eyes.

2010
*****

A Beauty Contest
By
Dennis C. Orvis

Said the sunrise to the sunset, I’m prettier.
Plus all the good that I do
You know I wake up all the birds that sing
I dry the flowers covered with dew.

I warm the people, I warm the air
I grow the little seeds, you know it is true
I wake the world, you can’t compare
You see, dear sunset, I’m more important than you.

The sunset replied, true you are hot
But prettier than me is what you are not
Just look at me in last moments of light
Soft, brilliant colors painted before night

When lovers share those quiet moments of time
Loving the views that are in fact all mine
Stunning beauty in the evening sky
You will never bring lovers together as I

Yes dear sunrise, you are important for heat and light
But have you forgotten love trumps all in the night
While I admit, sunrise, you have a role to play
Only a sunset like me, can end a beautiful day.

2010
*****

The Cactus

The Cactus
By
Dennis C. Orvis

Quietly it stands by the road and watches the cars go by
A cactus, eight feet tall sometimes catches your eye
I don’t know what kind it is or how old the cactus might be
But I know when it blooms, it is something to see.

At first wine colored blossoms appear between the spikes randomly
And grow to the size of a large purple plum like round flowers so different to see
Amazingly, each blossom opens exposing a white flower, large and bright
The dull green cactus comes to life, a beautiful pattern of wine and white

The tall cactus stands like royalty in full colorful dress
Showing off for everyone to see in its Sunday best,
And yet this tall cactus has another surprise abound
The flowers close in the evening and then drop to the ground.

We’re constantly amazed that nature’s wonders never cease
Can it be those beautiful white flowers have but one day to attract the bee?
I could be wrong; I see it only when passing by
But it is a superior cactus, somebody’s pride and so pleasant to the eye.

2010
*****

The Garden in the Fall
By
Dennis C. Orvis

I walked through the garden with the gardener at my side
The season was about over and his voice was filled with pride
The chain-link fence on the perimeter, a protective wall
Covered with tomato vines, deep green, growing ever tall

From cherry tomatoes to the Big Boys, we all love to eat
Fresh sliced on the sandwiches, a delicious summer treat
On the ground bell pepper plants are loaded with red, yellow and green
Sweet potato vines cover half the garden, healthy, as I’ve seen

A three-foot strip of collard greens is under a protective cloth
It lets the needed rain go through while keeping pesky bugs well off
The pole beans he tells me were the best crop he ever had
And the blackberries just kept coming “outstanding” is what he said

The curve-necked squash was mouth-watering; the cucumbers were just right
The okra and the sweet corn grew tall in the summers’ tender light
Tasty cabbage was hard to beat and the sweet grapes melted in your mouth
While the muscadines were not far behind, the candy of the south

The garden was exceptional this year, though rainfall was low
Watering with the hose made the difference helping the garden grow
His satisfaction smiled with weathered facial lines, his eyes told it all
Oh how I envied the gardener as we walked his garden in the fall

2010
*****

The Willow Tree
By
Dennis C. Orvis

I looked across the small bayou to an island a couple hundred yards away.
There in the middle, was a solitary tree.
The island with a border of rocks was small; rain falling from the outer leaves would miss
The rocks and hit the water it appears to me.

It is a willow tree in full dress symmetrical without a flaw, nature’s best
A weeping willow, poets love to pass our way.

Not true this time. I would say it’s a happy tree, a private island and terrific view
A favorite for birds at the end of the day.

I can see white egrets flying from all directions toward the safe willow tree
To roost for the night and the tree is filling fast

Now at sunset, I can still see this magnificent tree, dotted with birds of white
A picture and a memory I’m sure will last.

2010
*****

The Sunrise Saga

The Sunrise Saga
By
Dennis C. Orvis

As the sun tries to start its day
A lone hunter, an osprey scans the sea
The distant clouds are trimmed in brilliant gold
While a red sun strains to break free

The osprey suddenly folds his wings
Dives sharply into the foamy spray
And with great effort becomes airborne once more
With talons empty, missing his prey

Regaining his composure he will fly away
The red sun turning yellow, keeps rising higher
This saga is repeated every new day
Player’s change, slow pelicans or terns, the fast flyer.

2010
*****

A Cold Little Bee
By
Dennis C. Orvis

It’s a really cold day, too cold for me

I see a Honey Bee too cold to fly

“Where are you going”” I asked, as she walked by

“I am going home if I can climb that tree!”

2010
*****

The Butterfly Tree
By
Dennis C. Orvis

Have you ever seen a butterfly tree?

Where beautiful creatures are flying free

Many blues and yellows and reds and white

Everywhere I look, a beautiful sight

Oh the joy I feel, watching them dance

Around the leaves, the fruit and the flowers

Resting sometimes on a small open branch

A living picture I could watch for hours.

2011
*****

Stubborn Winter
By
Dennis C. Orvis

Spring is only weeks away no matter what we see outside
Two feet of snow, more on the way.
No wonder birds instinctively hide

Robins are resting in the south waiting for winter to go
Stubborn winter’s defiant with tornados,
Floods and its’ punishing snow

Oh winter, we pray for your quick demise, damage for some is devastating
You leave a trail of broken dreams
And hearts sadly aching

Winter, seldom wonderful, often harsh, and always too long. Bearer of colds and flu
Winter, be off with you; we must regroup
And prepare to plant anew

2011
*****

The Osprey
By
Dennis C. Orvis

The beauty of a sun-lit spring morning sky
Was interrupted by an Ospreys’ cry
I looked up to see the bird in flight
Like an eagle, except for its breast of white

Was his cry to call his mate, today?
Or to tell all others to stay away?
He’s searching the water where ripples show
An unsuspecting fish is swimming below

He looked down and suddenly made a dive
He hit the water and grabbed the fish alive
Quickly airborne with skill so great
With his sharp talons, there was no escape

It will be dinner soon for chicks or mate
The unlucky fish just met his fate

Nature continues to amaze us all
As the Osprey gives his victorious call

2011
*****

Spring, Oh Spring, Where Art Thou?
By
Dennis C. Orvis

What’s happening? The first day of spring was weeks ago,
But the weatherman is showing serious snow

Where are the robins? Are they somewhere waiting still?
Are the early tulips waking to a snowy chill?

Whatever has caused Mother Nature to show her agonizing strain?
For northern winter residents subjected to her fury pain

Where’s the sunshine we’ve expected from the truant season?
If winter is simply holding on, what could be its brutal reason?

How we’re waiting with thoughts and feelings of desperation
Hoping and wishing for you, spring and your needed inspiration.

Spring, oh spring, where art thou, hiding from the merciless wind
I believe you have lost the way for warmer days to begin.

2011
*****

The Hummingbirds Returned Yesterday
By
Dennis C. Orvis

I am looking at a backyard to be envied
As I stand here with my guide
He is my friend, a terrific old neighbor
And he is beaming with pride

It was over forty years ago when
We followed our dream and we moved away
And now standing here with him
While time compresses, it seems like yesterday

His pleasant country home bordered
On a green grassy knoll just right
With a red metal building out back
A workshop, with storage, an active man’s delight

Looking at a dozen bird feeders
On the deck and several areas nearby
I could see his satisfaction
The goal of hard work in his eye

“And the raccoons are a constant problem
Especially hanging feeders on the deck
They always strike in the night
And by morning the place is a wreck!”

I wondered over missed memories
Missed because we moved away
I heard his pride again when he said,
“The hummingbirds returned yesterday.”

I’m well aware we can’t go back
And relive some years a different way
And yet standing here next to my friend
I’m thankful for this very special day.

2011
*****

Springtime
By
Dennis C. Orvis

Dear springtime, I love the magic that you bring
Like the buds in the trees and the bloom on the flowers

You help me forget winter’s cold winds and long nights
With your beauty and fragrance I can enjoy for endless hours

2011
*****

The Blue Jay in the Mistletoe
By
Dennis C. Orvis

We had a few inches of fresh snowfall last night
So I thought I would clear the walk before the mailman comes our way

I looked out the window before I picked up the snow shovel
Tugged my hat and slipped on my gloves testing the cold of the day

I opened the door slowly pushing the snow away behind it
I stepped out carefully; I learned long ago you could slip on snow

With four or five scoops I cleaned the snow from around the door
I turned and started cleaning toward the street a few minutes or so

I made a couple scoops and something hit me on the head
An Acorn! I saw it drop on to the snow on the walk ahead of me

I stopped and looked upward, saw nothing in the big oak overhead
I shrugged and returned to shoveling when another acorn fell free

It seemed more than a coincidence so I stopped for a serious look
I scanned the tree and saw a mistletoe growth covered with snow

I moved for a better angle to look and then I saw
There was movement; it was a Blue Jay hopping in the mistletoe

What’s more, I saw him drop another acorn over the side at me.
And then he flew down to our birdfeeder covered with new snow

He returned to the tree while I cleaned the feeder, refilling the seed
I finished the walk, smiling, how clever of that Blue Jay in the mistletoe

2011
*****

Hurricanes and Tornadoes
By
Dennis C. Orvis

The tropical storm in the Pacific will be here in a few days
And we’re watching reports intensively; to see the direction it will go
Comparing Hurricanes to Tornados there’s a few things you should know
Your safety’s in question as conditions grow

A tornado cannot be predicted accurately,
But enhancing conditions can warn
Dark clouds, rain, sometimes hail could mean
A destructive funnel at any time could form

A tornado may last only a minute or two
But the damage can be devastating
Safety for you and loved ones is the only thing you should do
Until the storm passes be safe in your waiting

On the other hand, hurricanes give long warnings
Hundreds of miles or more away from the USA
For days we watch, check the weather every morning
Chart the speed, direction and danger our way

And if through time the storm is aimed at us
There are precautions we can do
Storing outdoor furniture, anything that can fly
Check provisions food, water and batteries too.

And then we wait to see which way the storm will go
The experts will show nearly ten possibilities
And we wait and wait and wait some more ’til it finds its way
We wish nobody hurricane trouble; just go somewhere else, please

When it comes to serious storms weather gives us no choice
Other than where we might choose to live
Sometimes or maybe always, luck will play a major role
Preparation or not, Prayers a lot, nature does not forgive.

2011
*****

Smokey
By
Dennis C. Orvis

Smokey is our family cat, but in reality we belong to him
He was such a cute, cuddly kitten when we brought him home

He was such a pretty gray ball of fir with a white spot under his chin
He’s kind of wild, pet only when hungry or leave him alone

He is crouching under the berry bush watching for some lunch
Perhaps a field mouse or small lizard, whichever gets too near

Actually he just plays with them, no batteries to recharge
Smokey is fast whatever the prey; there is no time for fear.

He just plays with his live toy then lets it go free
He wouldn’t eat anything that’s not from the store

He struts like he captured a dangerous monster
And now he sleeps in the corner, dreaming of his prey
Or me perhaps, once more.

2011
*****

The Lizard
By
Dennis C. Orvis

The tropical bushes push against the screen,
Looking for a place to grow

I see a little lizard racing from shadow to shadow
A streak in the light of the morning sunrays

Incredible how fast they can move
And vanish into the green

I wonder what role they play, their purpose,
Ever how long, is it years, months or measured only in days?

2011
*****

The Singer
By
Dennis C. Orvis

A mockingbird was singing on the telephone wire
When four noisy blue jays landed much too close

Squawking as they do, while the mockingbird left the scene
The jays kept on jabbering each one trying hard to boast

When the screeching cry of another blue jay came from a nearby tree
The four got quiet, one flew to it and then the others flew along

Then the lone mockingbird returned from its hiding place
And once again began his high wire act with a delightful, peaceful song

2011
*****

Hello, Jupiter

Hello, Jupiter
By
Dennis C. Orvis

I watched the ten o’clock news November 9th on TV
One of the items was about Jupiter and its location
Tonight it’s as close to the moon as it has been in many years
To the astrologers it ranks with some celebration

Jupiter won’t be this close until two thousand and twenty-two
I said to my wife, “Let’s go see this rare moment in the sky
We stepped outside; the clear night sky was filled with many stars
A beautiful full moon and a brilliant Jupiter to the eye

And all the other stars shined softly yielding the stage
I aimed my digital camera hoping for a great surprise
And I got it! I got the picture I really wanted
It’s not professional but the memory is pleasing to my eyes

2011

Note: I know this is not a great picture, but I shot this with my
Digital camera. It was a lot to ask, but it made its best shot.
The Moon and Jupiter were a long, long way away.
*****

Three Stages of a Lemon

The Three Stages of a Lemon
By
Dennis C. Orvis

I doubt this will be educational, but maybe interesting perhaps
In December I was walking past our lemon tree.
This time of year, the fruit should be ripening near peak.
But here I see, the blossoms, a young green lemon
And one nearly ripe, all three stages, looking at me.
Mother Nature makes no excuses for what she does!

2011

P.S. The young green lemon is difficult to see. Trust me. It’s there!
*****

The Nesting Box

The Nesting Box
By
Dennis C. Orvis

As the morning sun fights through the stormy sky
The nesting box for Wood ducks waits for the mating pair
The silence of the lake will be broken by his wings
The male will be the first to land and call the female from the air

He will land on the box to see if everything is OK
While the female swims to the front side to prepare for nesting
She bobs, then leaps to the hole and enters to lay
And it is quiet. She sits with well-deserved resting

Meanwhile the beautiful male sits on the roof of the nesting box
Watching for danger signs to protect his nesting mate
If danger becomes present he whistles as he flies away
The female pops out the hole and joins him with a fast escape

But without danger he quietly maintains his vigil
While she lays another egg, then she exits the box with little fuss
They disappear for feeding, letting the sun warm her valuable eggs
They will return to repeat this again in the dim light of dusk

2012
*****

The Quartet

The Quartet
By
Dennis C. Orvis

I was walking along this elongated pond
And I hear singing not far away
I slowed my step like an Indian hunter
The harmony was rich, the tones mellow, I’d say

The music was new and strange to me
And yet the beauty flowed through the air
It was pulling me like a magnet
Bringing wondrous sound to my ear

I crouched along the tall bushes
Moving ever closer to the sound
A few more steps and I will see
The source surely will soon be found

Quietly, I part the leaves before me
And I look intently through the space
I’m in awe to see these four birds singing
I’m sure with amazement on my face

Ok, I’m just teasing you,
We know birds don’t sing and yet,
It really would be something to hear
Especially from this Anhinga quartet.

2012
*****

Vigilant

Vigilant
By
Dennis C. Orvis

The evening sun is down and its rays of golden-orange wait to follow
Below small rain-filled clouds which may or may not send moister
Before they disappear

A Great White Egret watches patiently as the day is ending

From its favorite viewing post on the old wooden pier

I wonder what the bird is thinking
I wonder if it thinks at all.
Does it see the beauty that I see and love?
Or is it a scene he’ll ne’er recall?

2012
*****

The Red Ibis

The Red Ibis
By
Dennis C. Orvis

This high walkway and platform takes us close to the upper tree
And I’m so surprised by the beauty we cannot see from below

Red Ibis, huge birds in pairs, many nesting
As nature provides another wondrous show.

2012
*****

West Virginia

West Virginia – A Moment to Ponder
By
Dennis C. Orvis

Oh say can you see…the beauty across the fabulous mountain tops
Where fluffy white low clouds hide between the hills

Oh say can you see…the beauty across the hills of many greens
While Nature smiles as we enjoy her many thrills.

2012
*****

Like Van Gogh

Like Van Gogh
By
Dennis C. Orvis

As a gorgeous white swan swims towards its mate
The water moves and wakens its’ gentle waves

Creating a beautiful Van Gogh type picture on the pond
With wavy blues and greens and browns, worthy of our raves.

2012

Note: taken at Bok Tower, Lake Wales Florida
*****

Sweet Emma

Sweet Emma
By
Dennis C. Orvis

Today is extra special,
Our granddaughter is coming to visit
During spring break
And Emma is her name.

And with a surprise from nature,
We have a different Amaryllis, first time blooming
We’ll call it Sweet Emma’s Flame

2012
*****

Cypress Trees

Cypress Trees
By
Dennis C. Orvis

Like frosting on a tasty cake
The Cypress trees dress up our lake

With shades of green to please our eyes
Framed by the blue of summer skies

Shaped by nature’s artistic hand
In ways unmatched by any man

Slowly swaying in the gentle air
To music our ears will never hear

Dressed with feather-like greening tall
Trees without leaves to change and fall

Stately poised reflecting beauty in mornings’ light
Cypress trees embellished by ospreys in noisy flight

2012
*****

The Battle Goes On

The Battle Goes On
By
Dennis C. Orvis

I’ve got this on-going battle with a neighborhood squirrel
You may have heard me talk about him raiding my bird feeder
For a free lunch all day long while I try to keep him out
But he’s good and as a pirate, he’s a leader

I discovered he can jump six times his length straight out
He can jump three feet straight up, leaping into the air
I stacked plastic bottles on the pole; I thought I had him beat
For nearly two weeks he failed every try, but yesterday
He made it, as if the bottles were not there

Then I put flat plastic sheets between the bottles
To stop his accelerated climb, but it only made him madder
My added features proved to be only a minor challenge
He hit the tall bottle hard and climbed it like a ladder

I’ve never seen more than three squirrels at the same time
And I’m guessing only one has the skill to challenge my design
I can’t tell one from another, but at the moment the little guy is winning
I thought I stopped him but he beat me one more time.

I saw him do it! I didn’t think he could but he did
Now I’m wondering what I can do to thwart his glee
How can I prevent his grabbing the feeder base and pulling up?
Back to my drawing board once more; neither will give up you see

Ok, you little bugger, I’ll never let you win!
I will always try and try and then I’ll try once again!

2012
*****

The Pine Tree Crosses

The Pine Tree Crosses
By
Dennis C. Orvis

Easter is coming! Easter is coming! Nature told me so
I saw the blooms on a pine tree and the blooms as crosses are forming
Certain pine trees tell us, Easter is only weeks away
Those trees will soon be loaded with small crosses for Easter Morning!

It makes me wonder why some pine trees have such a glorious role
They stand tall and green as their blooms continue to grow
A symbol of religion for centuries; how they proudly stand
Hundreds of tiny crosses, pointing skyward as if they know

Did nature choose the pine tree for this important task?
Or did a higher authority decide where the little crosses will show?
The answer, of course, is one we will never really find
But I saw the pine tree today.
Easter is coming; the little crosses tell me so.

2012
*****

Migrating Birds
By
Dennis C. Orvis

Yesterday, a pleasant evening on the last day of March

We were looking in the sky above the neighbor’s leafless tree

We saw birds, hundreds, swallow shaped, in an aerial display

Of such stunning beauty it was thrilling for us to see

And then a flock of many dozens, swerved downward

Landing high in the bare tree where the wind sings

Followed by others, more small flocks soon filling the tree

With binoculars we discovered they were Cedar Waxwings

Like dark ornaments, multiplying on the branches

Selected by an unknown source, a place to rest tonight

Wearied by long travel from somewhere further south

They will all be gone in the morning, to complete their northern flight.

2012
*****

The Meeting Place

The Meeting Place
By
Dennis C. Orvis

On the soggy bank of the blue sparkling pond
The Cypress trees display their special features

Pyramid shaped with feather-like greenery
A treasured spot for many different creatures

With its silver bark so small it looks rather bare
Surrounded by hundreds of Cypress knees

Where some algae water stands, the Ibis feed
While a perched Anhinga rests and oversees.

2012
*****

The Feathered Caruso
By
Dennis C. Orvis

I was down by the river, walking by a tree, a cottonwood
I heard a mockingbird singing and I’ll tell you he was really good

So I thought I would have some fun,
I wet my lips and whistled one

And then he quickly answered me,
Adding a few extra notes, you see

Then I gave him a cardinal frame,
He answered fast, enjoying my game

I did my best impression, a mourning dove,
His reply was a symphony from above

He won! There was nothing I have ever heard
To equal the talents of this mockingbird

He is the best, superb, far better than simply good,
He’s a feathered Caruso, high in the cottonwood.

2012
*****

The Rainbow
By
Dennis C. Orvis

It’s true, I would guess, since I really could not know
That everyone everywhere has seen a pretty rainbow

Although we know the colors are all the same
There are differences that might escape the uncommitted eye

Sophisticated, but it’s not a game
From where do they come and where do they go and do we really know why?

But tell me. Have you ever seen a rainbow and felt a tingle in your heart?
Have you ever had a feeling you could reach up and grab a handful of blue?

Or red or green or yellow, a special thrill, but how would you know where to start?
Worry not! The rainbow is a wonderland in the sky, a trip reserved just for you.

So if you see a rainbow and get a tingle in your heart you’ll know for sure what to do
Take the hand of one you love and together enjoy the wonderland waiting just for you.

2012
*****

The Pelicans
By
Dennis C. Orvis

I watched a flock of pelicans with their wide wings slowly flapping
Fifteen or twenty feet above the salty water, searching for a meal of slippery fish
The last pelican in line, peeled low, I watched to see what was happening
He hit the water with a spraying splash; to catch his dinner is his wish.

He popped to the top and sat there bobbing on the ocean blue
The prey he missed was swimming free and he was as hungry as could be
Meanwhile the other pelicans curled back to see if the fish had friends
What they saw was a school of shiny fish and one by one they plunged into the sea

It was impossible to see in the splashing if any meals were caught
The pelicans were moving all about; in a flurry of activity
Then one by one they lifted off, heading north along the sandy shore
Pelicans I need to tell you never smile, but there was one though, that flew by
And winked at me!

2012
*****

Hello, There

Hello, There
By
Dennis C. Orvis

Oh, there you are, hiding in the pine
Calling for a mate with your one-note song

So sharp, so shrill, solely for your kind
Calling and calling. Have you waited long?

How pretty you are dressed in brilliant red
How well you whistle from your perch so high

What lovely words has your whistle said?
Or was it just a lonely cardinal’s cry?

Does it say where are you or tell you are?
Is it a lover’s call or a stranger’s desire?

Is she waiting near or from afar?
True love will win, setting your heart on fire.

2012
*****

The end of the day

The end of the day
By
Dennis C. Orvis

At the end of the day when the sun disappears behind the darkened trees
And the beauty I see brings a peace only my heart can hear

The birds are quietly nesting and the katydids begin to sing
And the nature of the night comes alive with dusk so near

The wondrous painting in the sky with various shades of pink and blue
Would challenge any artist, who dares to capture it complete

Destined to fall short as spectacular cnnot be repeated in oil
Or watercolors with talent unable to compete

This fabulous sunset will not last, but I can fill my eyes
And store it in my heart and soul, forever to recall

No matter how hard we wish or dream or try to create
Nature will always be better. It will always be the best of all.

2012
*****

The Game
By
Dennis C. Orvis

Sunrises are like fingerprints,
No two are the same

Of Course, I have not seen them all,
Wouldn’t that be a treat?

It’s like flowers or butterflies
Each gorgeous in their own way

The same, but different
What a remarkable plan

Are they all here to delight us or
Are we part of the game?

2012
*****

High in the Magnolia Tree
By
Dennis C. Orvis

High in the top of our magnolia tree I heard the singing of a Mockingbird
I could not believe the sound and what’s more he was imitating the squeak of our old back door
Whew! What a noise; sends shivers up my spine, I grabbed the WD-40, sprayed the hinges several times
Ah! Now the squeak is gone, no more to be heard but now I wonder how I can spray the noisy Mockingbird.

2012
*****

The Solo

The Solo

I saw a bird the other day which to me was very rare
It was unmistakable, recalling last year I saw a pair
Such beauty, slicing the air, my eyes strained to witness the flight
And to see the ariel antics of this swallow tailed kite

It seemed he was dancing with himself, perhaps to attract a mate
Or showing off for no reason at all, what a show, so great
I own no camera to record this wonderful bird in flight
But I am greatly blessed to have seen the aerobatic skill of this swallow tailed kite.

2012
*****

The Young Hawk

The Young Hawk
By
Dennis C. Orvis

An agitated mockingbird was making a lot of noise
Inquisitive me, I had to see just what was going on
It was happening in a pine tree not far from me
And as I walked near it was obviously not a game of fun

Then I saw the object of all this commotion
A young cooper’s hawk was sitting on a lower branch
The mockingbird didn’t want it there and was trying to drive it away
It seemed to me it was taking an awful chance

Then I saw the feathering of the young hawk, some were rather fuzzy
It told me the hawk was much too young to repel the attack
It seemed to be befuddled, not knowing what to do with the anger aimed his way
As the mockingbird would squawk and dive at the hawks head and back

I didn’t see any nest the mockingbird might be defending
Then another mockingbird joined the battle; the young hawk closed its eyes
I couldn’t stay to see how this contest would eventually end
But if the young hawk didn’t fly to another tree, I would be quite surprised.

July 2012
*****

The Blue Jay
By
Dennis C. Orvis

Whoa! A beautiful Blue Jay landed on the birdbath
Jumped into the water, wings extended, splashing everywhere
What a time it was having, paying no attention at all to me
It looked around and sent its squawk into the air.

I watched the jay strut in the watery bowl
Reflecting blues and gray can be seen
Knowing male and female Jays look the same
I wonder pretty bird, are you Gerald or Geraldine?

2012
*****

The Song of the Katydids
By
Dennis C. Orvis

The sound we hear of nature today is a one-note song
As the invisible Katydids fill the air with their penetrating tune
I’m told they are very small, perhaps a couple inches long
At first I loved the sound, but it is much too much, I hope it will end soon.

2012
*****

Florida - A Great Ride

Florida- A Great Ride!
By
Dennis C. Orvis

Florida, what would thy beauty be?
Palm trees, so many varieties

Or your sandy beaches by the mysterious sea
Or endless cloud formations of your warm bluish skies

Florida, where the cypress borders the lakes and streams
And the groves where trees with orange and yellow colors

Cover the small hills in perfect rows, yielding nature’s dreams
Soaking summer’s rain under the joy of rainbow wonders

Scrubby oaks and tall trees of pine
And surfing, sailing, swimming, often where the gators hide

Where hurricanes and boomer storms often combine
Reminding us, Nature’s in charge, we’re here only for the ride.

2013
*****

The End of the Day II

The End of the Day
By
Dennis C. Orvis

As nature paints a masterpiece in her own special way
With the reflecting sunset turning the fluffy white clouds into
Amazing shades of red

Surrounded by the delicate bluish sky
While hosting a handful of Sand Hill Cranes,
Winging to their secret evening bed

As their occasional squawking calls break the silent beauty
The colorful sky quickly changes as the sun sinks out of sight

How blessed we are to witness nature’s canvas first hand
And it becomes a memory when the end of the day
Disappears into the night.

2013
*****

The Evening Palm

The Evening Palm
By
Dennis C. Orvis

The lone palm tree darkens as the sun ends its day
With a fabulous splash of golden red color against the last clouds in view

Does the evening palm feel lonely as it appears to be?
Does it have these feelings I share, watching the wonderful sunset without you?

2013
*****

The Osprey
By
Dennis C. Orvis

As the osprey circles above the small lake
And sends out its repeating cry

I wish I could capture the beauty
I see within the peaceful sky

With its white breast leading it’s controlled
Flapping wings

Its head tilted for view of all
Swimming things

Plus an occasional sharp
Predators’ cry

I do not know the reason,
I can only wonder why

2013
*****

Peace

Peace
By
Dennis C. Orvis

As the sun inches towards its nighttime rest it leaves behind pictures
For us to treasure
Like this perfect reflection of cypress trees budding with spring’s
New growth special for our pleasure
It gives us a quiet thrill as the green mirrors twice on the blue
For joy beyond simple measure
Reminding us in its silent way there are places and moments
Where peace endures forever.

2013
*****

Clouds

Clouds
By
Dennis C. Orvis

Like fingerprints in the sky
No two cloud formations will ever look the same way
Floating with the whims of wind
Like fluffy cotton dancing on a sunny summer day

Against different shades of blue
This picture never fails to please, giving pleasure to the eye
While gray or dark or purple clouds
Warns of bad weather, causing trouble before passing by

And then the milky white clouds
Return to grace the peaceful, picturesque sky
As nature does its intended thing
While those who care can only watch and wonder why

2013
*****

The White Amaryllis

The White Amaryllis*
By
Dennis C. Orvis

Oh my gosh, will you look at that!
It’s like an angel among the flowers

A white Amaryllis with a special glow
Such beauty I could watch for many hours

Is it extra large or does it seem to be?
It’s white as fresh fallen snow.

It makes me smile, it makes my day
A sign of good cheer and love wherever I may go.

2013

(*Also called Amarillo)
*****

The Promise of Spring

The Promise of Spring
By
Dennis C. Orvis

Oh what a wonderful time of the year!
The newness of so much is ever near
Just look all around, in the trees and on the ground
And even the water where new ducklings are found

New life is everywhere; I see many shades of green
Flower stems are breaking through the soil
And buds appearing on all kinds of trees can be seen
To nature’s plan they grow so loyal

Oh, how I love these glorious days
When fresh air is abundant with good cheer
It is that wonderful time of the year
When nature’s promise of spring is here!

2013
*****

Snowed In
By
Dennis C. Orvis

The forecast is six to ten inches of new snow
On top of the old stuff that’s piled wherever you go

We just cleaned the roads, driveways and sidewalks, too
From the last storm, I swear I don’t know what we can do

The North wind expected at sixty mph or more
Freezing and gusting I’m sure to seventy-four

The wind is picking up and the snow is falling now
The storm starts as the day ends,
Streetlights reflect the need for the plow

All through the night the storm raged on
With noisy wind and quiet snow
The wind died as the morning arrived with
Clouds dingy and gray

It left snowdrifts behind six to ten feet high,
No cars can be seen
We’re in the house, snowed in, hopefully
For only one day.

2013
*****

Who?
By
Dennis C. Orvis

Who put the hum in the Hummingbird?
Who taught the wild Geese where to fly?
Who showed the Mockingbird how to sing?
Who made the Peacock so pleasing to the eye?

Who made the Swan a picture of grace?
Who gave the Loon its mournful cry?
Who gave the Quail its Bob White call?
Who teaches young birds how to fly?

Are these the secrets the night Owl seeks?
The questions are as endless as the sky!
Who put the hum in the Hummingbird?
It is the One who taught the wild Geese where to fly!

2013
*****

Kids, Kids, Kids

Kids, Kids, Kids
By
Dennis C. Orvis

Kids, they are all the same!
Some are big,
Some are small
Some are short
Some are tall

Some have long legs
Some have long beaks
Some have little quacks
Some have little cheeps

Some are naughty
Some are good
But sooner or later
They’re all in some mud!
Kids, they are all the same!

2013
*****

The Wispy Mystery

The Wispy Mystery
By
Dennis C. Orvis

Hello! Who are you? A rainbow yet to grow, or did high winds set you free?
Could you be part of the Northern Lights drifting near the southern sea?

Forgive me if I stare at your beauty in the air; forgive me if I’m in doubt
I’ve never seen your likes before; you have the colors I adore
But wait, please don’t leave me, you‘re fading out

Don’t you know I’ll miss you so, Wait! Wait! Please don’t go
Oh no! You’re becoming so very thin
Are you real or a memory? What is it now that I see?
I will ever search the sky ‘til I see you again.

2013
*****

Buzzing in Pink

Buzzing in Pink
By
Dennis C. Orvis

Our Crepe Myrtle bush is in beautiful bloom,
A flowering gorgeous link

Whoops! Something flew by, catching my eye,
It was moving quicker than a wink.

It’s a Bumble Bee, doing its job,
Collecting nectar fast as a blink

From stem to stem and flower to flower,
The beauty of nature Buzzing in Pink

2013
*****

The Western Storm

The Western Storm
By
Dennis C. Orvis

By the lonesome old road, this photo of New Mexico shows
A bad storm is coming, there’s no place to run, no place to go

Where the nearest neighbor might be sixty miles away
I can only hope the storm will pass without danger, just rambunctious at play

Its close now, my only horse is in its stall and the crossbar secures the weathered door
The noisy clouds are laughing loud and the wind is stealing sand from the dessert floor

It’s nearly here; I can hear it whistling down the chimney, the window and the door
I feel the sand blowing inside the walls.
Neither me nor this house can stand much more.

2013
*****

The Black Bellied Whistling Duck

The Black Bellied Whistling Duck
By
Dennis C. Orvis

This is a true story, not earthshaking, but kind of nice
It involves a duck I had never seen before
I read an article in our regional newspaper
Of a pair of rare ducks photographed in a nearby town

The next day I was playing golf on our local golf course
My foursome was riding golf carts from fourth green to fifth tee
We drove by some standing water maybe ten feet from the cart path
There we saw the same or similar pair of those rare ducks floating free

Fortunately I had my camera; we turned around and went back
Amazingly, they did not fly and my pictures were superior
Now, fast forward to the following year I’m not golfing, just taking photos of nature
Then, by a pond, I could hardly believe my eyes as I got near

I saw a family of seven Black bellied whistling ducks
Two adults and five nearly full grown young ones
I’m guessing last year’s pair returned to our course again
A few weeks later I saw four more, I guess they also brought their friends.

2015
*****

Limpkins

Limpkins
By
Dennis C. Orvis

I watched a pair of busy limpkins on the shore of this small golf course pond
As they searched hard for their favorite food, namely apple snails

They stretch from the Okefenokee Georgia swamp to the
Southern tip of Florida
Wearing vertical brown and white stripes looking much like
Oversized rails

They are rarely seen in large groups
Usually loners or sometimes in pairs
When walking they appear to limp;
Which is the basis for their name

Actually as a family, it is with the cranes
They are more closely aligned
Limpkins are a good sized bird with a long beak
That removes the snail from its shell like a game

Males and females look the same
With a call that is loud and strange
Its call is unmistakable. You will know it
Whenever you hear it, if you are in the Limpkins range.

2013
*****

The View from the Deck
By
Dennis C. Orvis

My first thought is of peace,
As I look before sunrise through the sliding glass door
To the old wooden deck
And the view of the lake I see from this second floor

It’s the beauty of nature
Waiting to be seen and the many sounds I can feel
It is a huge inviting lake
With its ragged shore of inlets and bays with sounds so real

Bordered by a mixture of trees
Outnumbered by the tall, bushy pines and high hills
The morning sun hides from view
While a gentle breeze warns of possible rainy chills

I heard the Canada goose call
Before they splashed down in the water so very near to me
I watched the leader sensing my presence
And reacting, he moved them where I could not see

The fall beauty abounds
Including the boat marina and empty boat slips I see
The lake is calm, the sunrise is done
Distant birds are calling; this deck view is a treasure just for me

2013
*****

The Wild Geese

The Wild Geese
By
Dennis C. Orvis

The sky is getting lighter and trying to change
Over the tall evergreen trees, lining the shores with a quiet link

The trees will hide the early sunrise, but cannot hide
Its high radiant rays reaching the western clouds with colors of peach and pink

And then I hear the unmistakable call of the Canada goose
High over the trees, lake ward bound, breaking formation, geese on the loose

A dozen or more, honking galore, skidding on the water to a stop
What a beautiful scene, the lake of cool water and wild geese floating on top

2013
*****

Shades of Pink
By
Dennis C. Orvis

Sunsets are like sunrises, no two are the same
And they can change as you blink an eye

Here, we are surrounded by forest covered hills
The early sun cannot be seen in the sky

We watch the horizon’s sky-filled clouds catch sunrays
From the hidden sun we cannot see

And view the shades of pink so stunning
As the end of the day begins to flee

The great picture we see is a heavenly view
And the peace it brings is a gift for two

It is a lifetime memory from nature’s pleasure
It is one we can share and forever treasure.

2013
*****

The Lonely Loon
By
Dennis C. Orvis

I heard the cry of the lonely loon after the storm passed by
It had landed on the lake with stormy winds and rain at their worst

The loon hit the water and rolled through the waves to an awkward stop
Recovering he searched what he could see and discovered he was first

Now it is quiet around this huge lake except for the loon all alone
His eerie unmistakable cry echoes across the water of blue

The loon call, always seems to be very sad even in normal times
Now, under the post-storm gray sky, the sadness is especially true

An hour or more has passed when I suddenly heard a distant loon answer
From the bay on the other side of a small island as darkness is moving in

Then his calls came louder and faster as the distant answer keep getting nearer
Until a second loon came flying from above the trees, landing close to him

Like magic the calls from each loon changed from sadness
As they moved, side by side, swimming toward the marsh-lined shore

The pair once separated by the violent storm is reunited again
Their love story continues with the Loon call in the night once more.

2013
*****

The Quiet Lake
By
Dennis C. Orvis

It‘s so quiet on the lake
I can hear two fish talking

It’s so quiet on the lake
I can hear two rabbits walking

It’s so quiet above the lake
I see two eagles; a silent movie

Is it really quiet on the lake?
Oh no, It’s just a dream and the sleeper is me.

2013
*****

The Crows
By
Dennis C. Orvis

Caw-caw-caw
The Crows are yakking everywhere
And their noise is bouncing across the silent rippling lake
Caw-caw-caw
Do they listen to each other?
Are they yelling or preaching
Or listening to their mate?
Caw-caw-caw
I wonder.

2013
*****

The Beautiful Clouds
By
Dennis C. Orvis

How lovely you are today as you float across the bluish skies
You are so fluffy white with changing patterns sending beauty to my eyes

I’m jealous of your journey, no schedule, no deadlines, and no chores to be done
Just moving aimlessly, playing with the wind and birds in your lofty fun

A symbol of peace but able to bring rain when dark clouds are looming large
And somehow you bring violent storms reminding nature is in charge

Still the good days outnumber the bad and your great beauty prevails by far
And often you clear the sky when the day ends so we can wish upon the first star.

2013
*****

The Eagle

The Eagle
By
Dennis C. Orvis

I was golfing the other day with my regular group
And we were half-way through our round

When I first spotted this beautiful adult eagle
It was near the fence for the out of bounds

It was on the grass with something in its fierce claws
Clearly aggravated when we came by

Flapping its wings, it left its prey screeching
As it flew to this nearby tree, giving us the eye

From this high perch it starred at us as intruders
To its space with a slight head turn and piercing eyes

Anxiously it waited for us to be on our way
And then it returned to its tasty prize.

2013
*****

The Roseate Spoonbills

The Roseate Spoonbills
By
Dennis C. Orvis

Dressed in shades of pink, the tall Roseate Spoonbill birds
quietly search for an evening meal

They drag their funny shaped beaks through the soft mud
for any small morsels it might reveal

We can only wonder how this action works
To fill the hunger they feel

And yet we know it does because
The law of nature is very real.

2013
*****

The Flying Spoonbill

The Flying Spoonbill
By
Dennis C. Orvis

Quietly as you float through the dim, cool air
With your wide pink wings

Silently moving with such effortless motion
While the bullfrog sings

As you fly by your funny shaped bill
Looks as thin as a drinking straw

Contrary to its reality,
Designed by nature without a flaw

2013
*****

I Stand in Awe
By
Dennis C. Orvis

As I gaze upon the living canvas called the evening sky
And the colors caused by the setting sun

The picture it creates is a thing of beauty
That changes every second to another one

I stand in awe

And just like snowflakes, no two are alike.
How can one be more beautiful than the one before?

Can any words give justice to the beauty I see?
Surely not and while my eyes fill with its splendor

I stand in awe.

2013
*****

The Black Vulture

The Black Vulture
By
Dennis C. Orvis

I was surprised when I saw this bird on the edge of the woods
Because it was one I really did not know

I felt lucky to get its picture; for some reason it didn’t run
Perhaps it was posing, putting on a show

It had a vulture’s ugly head which should have been a clue
Later when I checked my bird book for vultures, I found two

One was the familiar turkey vulture, pretty thick in our area
And the new bird I found is a black vulture, thick in our area, too

The black vulture is smaller with blue legs and short feathers in their tails
And like the turkey vulture, it finds its prey by smell, while overhead it sails.

2013
*****

Water Sports

Water Sports
By
Dennis C. Orvis

We were enjoying the day at the Montgomery Zoo
When we came across an interesting sight
We saw a young elephant frolicking in the water
Kicking and splashing with all its might

It was like watching a young child at play
His mother was standing nearby with a motherly rule
Once when he fell over in the deep end
She moved quickly to the edge of the pool

Then seeing the youngster was ok
She moved back to her spot in the shade
She watched him submerge with only his trunk showing
And the many water sports he played

Later she made an elephant’s call
And reluctantly the youngster left the water behind
He moved directly to his waiting mother
To tell her he had a wonderful time.

2013
*****

The Lonely Vigil

The Lonely Vigil
By
Dennis C. Orvis

Although we often see small groups of wood storks
When they are floating in high circles, ‘round and ‘round

We usually find them alone or in pairs
Along small waterways, creeks and ponds on the ground

The one we have pictured here on his lonely vigil
Is based on feeding habits and abundance of prey

Not on his appearance which a mother would love
And of course, a look-alike lady would deem him ok.

2013
*****

The Hoodies

The Hoodies
By
Dennis C. Orvis

It was a small migrating flock I found resting
On one of our golf course ponds
On a day when I had my camera close at hand

I was surprised to see they were hooded mergansers
I counted a flock of fourteen but I didn’t see them land

They are not rare, but I seldom see more than two at a time
The male hoodies are beautiful little ducks but females lack the white

As you can see in the picture, the dark female has an escort of four
Showing off their bright hoods, white breast and white stripe

Slowly and carefully I drove up in my golf cart
And I was surprised again when they did not fly

I’m guessing they were tired from their migrating trip
Whatever the reason, they were extremely pleasant to my eye

2013
*****

The Golden Sky

The Golden Sky
By
Dennis C. Orvis

Just look at this masterpiece, so brilliant in the skies
As beauty overflows our welcome and eager eyes

It’s so exciting as Nature shares with us its wonder
But we can never explain the spell we are under

Some try to explain the how; a few might try the why
Most will be satisfied just to admire the beautiful sky

This masterpiece might last for seconds or a minute at best
It’s better to see and enjoy, it is folly to venture a guess.

2013
*****

The Lookout

The Lookout
By
Dennis C. Orvis

As the sun sets in the western sky
The lookout sits in the highest tree

The lookout, an osprey not searching for food, you see
It is boasting for all to see, claiming his territory

2013
*****

The Hawk on High

Hawk on High
By
Dennis C. Orvis

It was early evening when I spotted this hawk on high
It was trying to sit on a branch, much too small

It struggled to keep it’s hold, refusing to fly
To any nearby tree because they are not as tall

Hawks and other birds of prey always seek the highest peaks
For the important panorama view they will provide

Its powerful eyesight needs to locate the food it seeks
Like field mice and moles tht carelessly stray from where they hide.

2013
*****

Nature Prevails

Nature Prevails
By
Dennis C. Orvis

The dark sky of dawn shows several horizontal bands of dim light
Above and below the long, dark bank of clouds telling me sunrise is on its way

And the ocean roars as it does for twenty-four boasting of its might
Driven by the northeast wind the white-capped waves hit the sandy beach with frantic spray

Harrump, Harrump, Harrump, the waves call out as they hit the shore
And every third wave is bigger and louder than the two before

Changing by the minute the sky grows lighter and the clouds are turning bluish white
Quickly spreading across the horizon as the sunrise fights to claim its morning’s right

Now the morning light has arrived but there is no morning sun breaking through
The horizon is filled with light blue clouds and angry waves wait for any who sail

Wait! Here it comes! I see a sliver of gold, quickly growing anew
Sunrise! How gorgeous the view. The great wonder of nature will always prevail

2013
*****

The Morning Challenge

The Morning Challenge
By
Dennis C. Orvis

The morning sun fights to break through the stubborn cloud covered sky
As last night’s storm continues its hold on the raging sea

With waves peaking near seven feet topped with white caps, racing to the shore
Churning the sandy bottom, the dirty water hiding fish and more

A line of pelicans, nearly thirty are flying in between the waves
Searching for food, a fish near the surface though nearly impossible to see

The pelicans, hunger driven are dangerously close to the rough water below
They are where a gust of wind or a spray from a wave could be a serious blow

Their long jagged formation quietly flies as far as my eyes can see
In all kinds of weather, their morning challenge will forever be.

2013
*****

The Black Vision in the Mist

The Black Vision in the Mist
By
Dennis C. Orvis

The black riderless mare is dancing in the evening’s mist
Oblivious to the quiet as she moves like a dreamy vision

I can hear my heart beat as the beautiful horse glides on the sand
And in my mind I’m riding this magnificent animal with precision

It’s an incredible ride
Soft as a tender kiss

And then it ends all too soon
As the black vision fades in the mist.

2013

Note: I took this picture at the last performance of the Arabian Nights
Dinner theater in Kissimmee, Florida. It was one of our favorites.
*****

The Blue Heron and Green Water

The Blue Heron and Green Water
By
Dennis C. Orvis

The large blue heron stands on the edge of the backwater, algae green
Motionless, waiting for any small, unsuspecting fish

Or a frog or lizard; herons are not choosy when it’s time to eat
Ignoring me in the shadows, any prey is its wish

Its long neck is withdrawn, ready to spring when a prey is near
It’s probably at a spot this heron has often used before

The bird was so intent it didn’t spook when I came as close as this
I took this picture, it’s time to leave and I don’t need any more.

2014
*****

Pelicans in Peril

Pelicans in Peril
By
Dennis C. Orvis

I’m watching a pair of pelicans challenging the raging sea
Hunger driven to find a fish or two while fighting the storm

Together they make perfect turns, dipping so dangerously close
Yet, keen eye sight and skill is no guarantee, missing today is norm

No matter how determined they might be, odds are high they will fail
I fear each time they swoop between the deep, angry, white capped waves

I wonder if they will catch a fish or will the wild water grab their wings
Wow! There they are, rising safely once more, defying watery graves

The storm is predicted to crash our shores for several more days at least
How long can this battle go on, how long can these birds persist

The chance to end their hunger soon is really very small
I see now they have given up as they disappear south in the mist.

2014
*****

The Double Trio

The Double Trio
By
Dennis C. Orvis

My camera and I have a disagreement. It doesn’t like to go in close
as I would like it to be

So sometimes my pictures are better in my mind than on the
photo paper you might see

For example in this photo Nature gives us three different
creatures to thrill us

A Blue Herron on the left, a four-foot gator on the right
and in the back, the Glossy Ibis.

The Ibises I’m sorry to say are not clear,
but I assure you there are three

And if my zoom worked real well
This small picture is what you would see.

Though it is not totally rare,
seeing one is birding fun

The chance compared to the white Ibis
is well over 100 to one.

2014
*****

The Rare Pair

The Rare Pair
By
Dennis C. Orvis

I came in from my golf game to find my wife excited as can be
“I saw a beautiful bird at our feeder I’ve never seen before,” she said
“I found a picture in our bird book; it is called a Painted Bunting.
Look at the colors I wrote on the pad, bright blue, green, yellow and red.”

She said the bird ate a while and then it flew away.
I was so happy for my wife and then
Sad since I have never seen a Painted Bunting before
I could only hope it would return to feed once again.

I could sit by the window and watch the birds eat all day
Just waiting, hoping that rare pretty bird would come back
The anticipation of what might happen was very strong
About two hours later it appeared. I called, “Honey, Look at that!”

And there he was with his mate, so beautiful as if painted by a young child
The most beautiful bird in North America, four colors with a head of blue
Voted by Birders number two in a poll they hope someday to see
The male Painted Bunting, my first ever, simply mesmerizing it’s true.

2014
*****

Hawk on High II
By
Dennis C. Orvis

The day is ending.
The sun has dropped behind the trees
A hawk is watching
And swaying with the gentle breeze

It’s a Coopers hawk
In his favorite Cypress tree
Seeking a late meal
Any field mouse he might see

I admit I’m jealous
As I’m watching what you do
Not your meal, for sure
Just your Hawk on High treetop view.

2014
*****

The First Hatch

The First Hatch
By
Dennis C. Orvis

While there are many signs of spring
One that really warms your heart

Is a pair of young Sand Hill Cranes
Strutting with their parents, looking sharp

Only a few days old
They’re fuzzy and rusty brown like their mother

Already six or eight inches high
Small bugs can’t escape one or the other

It seems their legs grow an inch every day
It’s amazing to me how fast they grow

The protective parents are doing their job well
Four together wherever they go

It’s hard to believe they will be as tall
As their parents when six or eight weeks go by

And the marvels of nature keeps changing
Bringing wonderful pleasure to our eye.

2014
*****

Is it a Pirate

Is it a Pirate?
By
Dennis C. Orvis

Yohoho, Mate! If you look closely you’ll see
This Blue Jay has one leg missing

I first noticed this Jay flapping one wing
When it was hopping

Of Course, I would not know why
He is one leg short

It must be very difficult
When on a wire or tree he’s stopping

I notice too, the other Jays
Always play the bully role

As the law of nature means
The healthy will prevail

He will have to change his ways
Or defend at all times

He’ll never be a pirate with a wooden leg
So I can only wish him well.

2014
*****

The Trio

The Trio
By
Dennis C. Orvis

This section of a wooden fence extending into the water
Is located on a fairway of a golf course I usually play

It’s a favorite sitting place for many kinds of birds
But the Anhingas like it best and I see three sitting there today.

If you are not familiar with Anhingas, three things you should know
The first, they actually fly under water to catch small fish, their prey

Secondly, their feathers have no oil; they will drown
if they don’t leave the water to dry
Thirdly, the young birds are black and the older birds turn gray.

Anhingas are loners or in small groups of three or four
But once a year they become flocks of hundreds
And move from lake to lake

In a feeding frenzy, they’re often joined by pelicans and herons
With each bird group feeding, it gives small fish little chance to escape.

2014
*****

Did you see the beauty?
(A walk on the golf course)
By
Dennis C. Orvis

There is beauty all around us, if we take time to see
This terrific day, how fortunate, how blessed you and me
I must admit we simply can’t see it all
We can’t see the beauty of the red cardinal’s call

I missed the excitement of the turtles today
I missed the eagle on fifteen eating its prey
But the pond on sixteen was very alive
With an osprey repeating it’s fascinating dive

And a pair of spoonbills on the bank were sunning
In their pink outfits a picture so stunning
I saw some pine tree crosses first time today
To remind us that Easter is soon on its way

Oh how we love the flowers and the birds and the bees
And we love the spring beauty of the cypress trees
And young fuzzy sand hills are starting to appear
What a glorious time, spring is here, spring is here.

2014
*****

Is Trouble Lurking

Is Trouble Lurking?
By
Dennis C. Orvis

Although it is true pictures often tell a story
Sometimes the story is hidden from our view

For example: Check this blue heron in the cement culvert
Does it think it is hiding too?

My first thought is the biggest danger’s hidden
Deep in the culvert that’s so very dark and quiet

Where a gator could be hiding and waiting
With visions of a blue heron in its dinner diet

It is obvious the blue heron feels it is safe
I can see no outward signs of fear

Perhaps as the heron slowly backs a little deeper
My story could be true; it really needs to move from here.

2014
*****

Hello, Handsome

Hello, Handsome
By
Dennis C. Orvis

You were so stunning for us to discover
You were the first Painted Buntings we’ve ever seen

You arrived at our bird feeder February twenty-second
With your mate, a pretty shade of green

Every day the two of you returned
Many times enriching the beauty of our day

How fascinating to watch you two
We could only wonder how long you two would stay

It was April fifteenth we saw you for the last time
Although we didn’t know it then

For seven weeks you graced our busy bird feeder
And now we hope next year you will return again

2014
*****

The Beauty of Cypress Trees

The Beauty of Cypress Trees
By
Dennis C. Orvis

Sometimes the beauty of nature
Is hiding right before our eyes

Like these Cypress knees I’ve seen a thousand times before

Suddenly, as I was walking by
The setting sun made them special

They called to me with a quiet whisper, “look once more”

And then I saw how proud they stand
Under trees dressed in greens of spring

Nature in its own special way
Adds such beauty to everything.

For the joy of those that stop, appreciate and adore

2014
*****

It’s Wonderful
By
Dennis C. Orvis

Do you hear the little goldfinch, singing in that gorgeous pine?
Do you wonder how a little bird can make such a beautiful sound?

“Wik-wik-wik” a woodpecker cries from a place I cannot find.
It’s a backyard melody with feathered music all around.

Just listen to that red cardinal singing from the west
And another from the other side trying to sing the best.

A robin chirps while the mourning doves coo
Creating natures great symphony just for me and you

How could we ever forget the mocking bird in his favorite tree?
As he copies every song he hears and adds his special measure

Whether one-note or many they blend to a wonderful melody
Filling the air with peace to share and for us to forever treasure.

2014
*****

The Birdbath

The Birdbath

By
Dennis C. Orvis

When I remember to fill our birdbath to the top
I’m rewarded with activity that doesn’t seem to stop

We see many different kinds of birds that bath or play
It’s wonderful to watch them throughout the summer day

The red cardinal and mate take turns often I would say
A couple blue jays splash a lot during the shortest stay

And the doves eating birdseed on the ground are so shy
They dip in the birdbath water quickly, and then they fly

The fun begins when the bigger birds are out of sight
The little birds play in the water during the warm daylight

Sparrows and chickadees and a gray tufted titmouse, too
Plus a pair of painted buntings bring such joy to me and you.

2014
*****

The Red Flower

The Red flower
By
Dennis C. Orvis

This beautiful flower of brilliant red
Touched with shiny drops of morning dew

Softly waves in the gentle warm breeze
Reminding me of my love for you

Although most flowers have their touch of beauty
It’s amazing how red flowers seem set apart

And now as I stare at this crimson wonder
Thoughts of you overwhelm my excited heart

2014
*****

The Yellow Flower

The Yellow Flower
By
Dennis C. Orvis

Gorgeous, simply gorgeous
with your petals of golden yellow
Filling my eyes
with the beauty of floral sunshine

With your sweet fragrance tempting
and tormenting the honey bees
You are so stunning,
a treasured moment so divine.

2014
*****

New Sand Hill Cranes

New Sand Hill Cranes
By
Dennis C. Orvis

Hello, mother Sand Hill, My how your young ones are growing up fast
Only a couple weeks ago they were small yellow chicks chasing bugs in the grass

And now, see how they have grown, with long legs and large bodies, it’s hard to believe
But with short fuzz on their necks and heads, it’s a mother’s love they still need

2014
*****

Winter’s First Snow
By
Dennis C. Orvis

Winter days are short and we were getting ready to eat
I could feel a smile as I looked though the big window
I was surprised to see snowflakes through the streetlights haze
In the dark blue sky like small diamonds, a sparkling halo

“It’s snow!” I called into the kitchen, “Hurry, come look!”
“How beautiful!” I heard her say, now standing beside me.
“I hope it keeps snowing, let’s eat quickly and go for a walk!”
Later how we loved walking winter’s first snow, so thrilling to see.

2012
*****

The Blue Jay
By
Dennis C. Orvis

Whoa! A beautiful Blue Jay landed on the birdbath
Jumped into the water, wings extended, splashing everywhere
What a time it was having, paying no attention at all to me
It looked around and sent its squawk into the air.

I watched the jay strut in the watery bowl
Reflecting blues and gray can be seen
Knowing male and female Jays look the same
I wonder pretty bird, are you Gerald or Geraldine?

July 2012
*****

The Ring-necked Pheasant

The Ring-necked Pheasant
By
Dennis C. Orvis

Although the bald eagle is our national bird,
There is another bird that should rate rather high

Any who have seen the male ring-necked pheasant
In the wild, without question would add more reasons why

It’s sheer beauty when this bird quickly launches into the air
To startle any hunter tromping through the brush

The thrill is undeniable; so much, some shots are never fired
The hunter stands in awe with only a memorable rush

2014

Note: drawing by our son Dennis
*****

The Trophy Buck

The Trophy Buck
By
Dennis C. Orvis

The word majestic quickly comes to mind
As I study the picture of this
Magnificent creature I see here

Labeled the Hanson Buck,
A new world record
While someone has a great trophy
The rest of us lost a beautiful deer.

2014

Note: drawing by our son Dennis
*****

The Grouse

The Grouse
By
Dennis C. Orvis

Yes, I heard you. I heard you flapping your wings
Making noises like thumping on a hollow log
Yes, I saw you, too. I saw you with your feathered
Chest puffed out, looking extremely proud

I know you hide in the forest like a hermit,
And sometimes dance in the clearing of a grassy patch
To attract a mate with your fancy show-off tricks,
And hopefully capture one for a perfect match.

2014

Note: drawing by our son Dennis
*****

The Bald Eagle

The Bald Eagle
By
Dennis C. Orvis

How majestic you are in your stunning black and white
With eyes so strong and unrelenting in search of prey

And powerful wings to reach new heights combined
With haunting dives and sharp talons, quarry seldom get away

As one to be respected in the sky
It is the presence of strength you display

And peace to the world as no other,
The symbol and performance of the U.S.A.

2014

Note: drawing by our son Dennis
*****

The Wood Duck

The Wood Duck
By
Dennis C. Orvis

The wood duck drake is one of the prettiest birds
in North America

But as for being faithful he’s much
Closer to the lists bottom

He remains with the female only
until the new ducklings are born

Then he moves on for parts unknown;
his new family is forgotten

2014

Note: drawing by our son Dennis
*****

The Hummingbird
By
Dennis C. Orvis

Hold still! Hold still, you beautiful little thing.
I want to take your picture and it’s difficult to do

You mystify me with the way you fly
UP, down, sideways and backwards, too

And when you migrate, I am amazed
How can you fly across the Gulf of Mexico?

Your wings are so small and they move so fast
How do you have the energy, I would like to know

I love to watch you flying around our flowers
Or drinking at our red-juicer hanging there

You are so exciting to watch as you come and go
Oh how I wish I cold just pet you, hanging in the air

2014
*****

A Falling Rain

A Falling Rain
By
Dennis C. Orvis

Like a sky high waterfall I see the rain falling from a dark blue-gray cloud
What a joy it is to watch from my distant viewing place

Rain, necessary for all growing things that anxiously wait
The many kinds of trees, bushes and plants, flowers with a smiling face

I watch too, as the day is quietly leaving with its normal withdraw
And I hurry to get home wondering if the rain is watching me

I’m trying to beat the rain; I know we’re surely in a race
No matter how I move it’s getting closer, falling free

Is that thunder I hear or are the clouds laughing at me?
Now I can see the rain falling across the open green fields

Oh, oh, the falling rain is getting very, very near
Too late, the falling rain is here, dancing on my windshield

2014
*****

The Rainbow Tingle
By
Dennis C. Orvis

Have you ever seen a rainbow and felt a tingle in your heart?
Have you ever wished you could reach a handful of blue?

Or red or green or yellow; what a special thrill
Wouldn’t that be a wild and thrilling thing to do?

So if you see a rainbow and feel a tingle in your heart
You’ll know exactly what to do

Call someone you love so they can share
Your rainbow tingle with you

2014
*****

Green and Blue

Green and Blue
By
Dennis C. Orvis

A Great Blue Heron stands in the shallow pond
Probably confused by what it has seen

It’s favorite hunting spot for breakfast
Unfortunately is now covered with green

Conditions have been perfect for the green algae to grow
But it looks like the heron doesn’t know where to go.

2014
*****

The Mud Walker

The Mud Walker
By
Dennis C. Orvis

Nature is wise, it doesn’t make many mistakes
The wood stork for example will rest my case

It moves through mud and silt in shallow water
Long scratching feet, nature’s gift, with a black head and face.

2014
*****

Sunrise in the Mist

Sunrise in the Mist
By
Dennis C. Orvis

Like snowflakes, no two sunrises are the same
I’m waiting as I look at the misty fog

I’m wondering if the sun will make it through
My eyes search haze across the waiting bog

The fog grows lighter and suddenly I see a white ball
And another is reflecting on the water below

How long before the misty fog fades into the air?
Soon, we hope, the day is waiting for the sun’s clear-day show.

2014
*****

A Whale of a Tale

A Whale of a Tale
By
Dennis C. Orvis

We spent several hours on a small boat for a whale watch cruise
Located off the New England coast, we enjoyed it a lot

It was an exciting day; we saw a half dozen or more
But my camera had a problem. This is the only picture I got

2014
*****

Before the Storm

Before the Storm
By
Dennis C. Orvis

The yellow band of the evening setting sun is being squeezed
By the low threatening purple black clouds; looking real bad

Better judgment tells me we’ve been on this lake too long
This pretty picture will soon be gone and if we’re not,
We’ll wish we had

2014
*****

The Flight of the Pelican
By
Dennis C. Orvis

How intriguing you are as you glide across the water’s surface.
Seemingly without effort, using only the power of the wind

Sliding into the swales, dodging the waves of varying heights
Disappearing for seconds, absent of fear, and then appearing again.

I have seen you flying often in lines of two to twenty-four
But it is not unusual to see you cruising on a trip alone

And when you stop to catch an unsuspecting fish, do you turn back
Or do you continue your destination to the roost you call your own

If I could ask you one question; how far and how long can you soar?
I can only wonder this about you, meanwhile, soar on, soar on

How important you are to the landscape of the sea
Perfectly designed, as only you can be,
Soar on, pelican, soar on!

2014
*****

Gray days
By
Dennis C. Orvis

There is something about gray days
That seems to put sadness in the air

And if you add a little rain
Or maybe a lot

It starts to affect everyone
And everywhere you go

There’s a cure, that’s for sure,
Give all you meet the biggest smile you’ve got.

2014
*****

The Beautiful Hawk

The Beautiful Hawk
By
Dennis C. Orvis

I am watching a hawk in a field about a hundred feet away
I am standing behind a tree pretty much out of its sight

When it flew in my direction landing in a tree over me
I slowly eased around the tree trunk until this picture was just right

I’m not sure what kind of hawk it is
Red Shouldered or Cooper’s perhaps by the markings I see

But I can tell you one thing for sure
It has its piercing, dark eyes staring right down at me.

2014
*****

Fishing in the Storm

Fishing in the Storm
By
Dennis C. Orvis

Driven by hunger and nature’s call
Through the rain-filled storm the pelicans glide

Looking for a school of fish, hungry too
Quickly spotted before they can hide

The pelicans dive into the water
And with their big beaks, hopefully, they fly away
With a fish inside.

2014
*****

Winter’s here, winter’s here
By
Dennis C. Orvis

While the squirrels chatter in their nest exposed
As barren limbs look down on a thick blanket of leaves
It is near freezing and the wind of old man winter carries
Snow flurries with the chill biting breeze

I tug at my jacket holding the lapels tight at my throat
So very cold and wishing I had worn my big winter coat
Fall was too short and Thanksgiving is past
Winter has arrived with an arctic blast

I thought I was ready, but I’m wrong as can be
Snow flurries changed to a blizzard, I cannot see
As I trudge through the snow, shivering to the bone
Winter’s here, winter’s here, I sure wish I was home.

2014
*****

The Cold Cardinal
By
Dennis C. Orvis

What’s this? Old man winter with
His disheartening surprise
Dumping a late snow on us to
Shock our morning eyes

How dare he chill the early
Flower sprouts
And cover food in bird
Feeders about

Birds of spring are cold
And shivering
What an ugly trick,
This snowy thing

We have no place to hide
No place to go
Just waiting for the sun
To remove the snow.

2014
*****

Spanish moss

Spanish moss
By
Dennis C. Orvis

The setting sun tries to send its final rays
Through the Spanish moss hanging thick and long from the powerful oak trees
Where they line the banks of a slow-moving brook
This quiet scene comes alive with buzzing from an active nest of busy bees

As the day ends the bees are making their final trip
Cattle in a nearby field are moving toward the barn in single file
Now as the sun drops below the cloudy horizon
The painted sky quickly turns gray and dusk is announced by calls in the wild

2014
*****

Big Ideas

Big Ideas

By
Dennis C. Orvis

The border is the usual, weeds and shrubs
Around the small brook where the water moves slowly unless it rains

When the rainwater raises the pond and speeds it on its way
Today, a blue heron and a small gator are playing staring games.

I don’t know what they are thinking or if they think at all
I’m guessing it is only instinct controlled by the need to eat

I have to chuckle as the bird and gator eye each other,
The heron is too big and the gator is too small; for lunch they’ll never meet.

2014
*****

Winter – an incredible sight
By
Dennis C. Orvis

I heard the north wind whistling the trees
I pulled the covers up real tight
I dreamed it was a very cold night

Then I heard the alarm clock
I so wished to ignore
But no avail, I was soon out the door

Wow! Look at that! What a view!
Everything is white! How can it be?
Is it snow or frozen rain I see?

How beautiful, everything in sight
A wonderland, everything is white
Even the evergreens far up the hill

Nature dressed in her finest bright
What a fabulous, incredible sight
Like a beautiful postcard, a winter thrill.

2014
*****

A Spot of Red
By
Dennis C. Orvis

In the thicket where the branches of small trees all
Run together like a puzzle so difficult to start,

And winter has placed its touch with a very heavy hand
A solitary male cardinal sits with its feathers drawn tight
Surrounded by berries of a different color of red

It makes me wonder if he thinks of his migrating mate
or does he suffer without knowing he has a lonely heart

It seems to me the males do not migrate,
Nature tells them to stay where they are throughout the year

Nature has provided numerous foods, usually not hard to find
And often birdfeeders are a treat as people enjoy their company

Though Cardinals are not inclined to share

But there is a difficult price to pay as winter can be bitter cold,
plus there is the snow and wind to fight and fear

But for you and I it is a different story
We see the beauty that nature does provide

We see the brilliant snow contrasted by many shades of brown
And in the center of it all, a feathered spot of red is trying to hide

2015
*****

The Little Blue Heron

The Little Blue Heron
By
Dennis C. Orvis

I am so amazed as I look at you
And I realize you are the first Little Blue Heron
I have ever seen

I see your stunning feathers of your special blue
And I am in awe as if I’m in a dream

Now I see you are quickly walking away
Please don’t go, I want to talk with you

Then the pretty bird leaped into the air
And disappeared, now like the bird, I am also blue.

2015
*****

Birds, My short list
By
Dennis C. Orvis

Sometime, if we are lucky and alert to nature that is near
We might see something extraordinary for the first time

I find this particularly special when I think of birds
Maybe they’re the Lord’s favorite because he made so many kind

The colors from plain to magnificent all play a part
Combined with shapes and bodies to fit their specific role

Each designed for a purpose delegated to their breed
For plans we can only partially understand and know

Recently while golfing I saw three Kingfishers on a high wire
I’ve never seen before
The birds were green and unfortunately my camera was home
They quickly flew away

Later I checked my bird book; in Florida they are extremely rare
I have no proof but they’re now on my short list and they made my day

Others on my short list include the Black-necked Stilt, a beautiful bird
And the Black-bellied Whistling Duck, it too is very rare

Also included is the Glossy Ibis with its dark wine-colored feathers
And the gorgeous Painted Bunting, so fortunate I saw a pair

Like I said this is my short list and I’m excited to add the Green Kingfishers, too
But I must confess I added the Pilated Woodpecker, though I’ve see quite a few

Because they are so large and overwhelming to my eye
They amaze me, I think they would do the same for you

So the next time you are pin the great outdoors,
I urge you to look about
You might just see that one-time miracle
Worthy of your short list and a satisfying shout.

2015
*****

So green and so rare
By
Dennis C. Orvis

Oh my, can it be true?
To see a bird I’ve never seen before.

There on the high wire
Not one, but three,
Green Kingfishers,
Looking down at me

Oh no, I am without my camera
And I’ve never needed it more

But it is broken I know
And I haven’t taken the time
To replace it, now I must pay
While the bird sighting of a lifetime is getting away

Arriving home I checked the bird book
And in it I was amazed to see
There were no sightings in Florida
Of this beautiful bird, one could be for me

But, I have no proof
I’m sorry to say
Except in my mind
I’ll remember this exceptional day.

It would be too much
To wish their return
To a place they have only one time been
My sighting like their stopping here
Was accidental, but I would hope to see them again.

2015
*****

Welcome Back

Welcome Back!
By
Dennis C. Orvis

Well, hello, Painted Bunting, you pretty thing
I’ve been hoping to see you again

We first met a year ago and
I’ve wondered if you would return, you know

You’ve found our birdfeeder once more
It’s filled with wild seed, I hope to your taste

I’ve scattered some on the ground and around
The Jays, Doves and squirrels won’t let it waste

I wonder as I watch,
I wonder where you have been
I wonder how you found your way,
I wonder if it’s easy for you
I wonder if your mate will follow
I wonder if she too, is on her way

You cause me many wonders
Though you are so very small
But I’m sure your beautiful colors
Are the biggest wonder of them all.

2015
*****

The Young Owls

The Young Owls
By
Dennis C. Orvis

High in the pine tree the mother owl made a soft nest
Hidden by small branches and long needles of green

Somewhat protected from the weather, wind, sun and rain
She built it very well, it could hardly be seen

The nest was unknown high over traffic of golfers and cars
She laid several eggs and mothered them by nature’s plan

Dedicated to her duty, so true and faithful to her call
She sat oblivious to the noisy world of man

Two eggs hatched as programmed, fuzzy little things joined the world
The new mother met the task, her work doubled to please big, hungry eyes

How rapidly they grew; the nest soon became extremely small
Shown by Mike Merryman’s camera with this great picture, meriting first prize

2015
*****

The Last Orange

The Last Orange
By
Dennis C. Orvis

Except for a couple days winter was warm in Florida this season
Even some birds were fooled thinking it was time for northern migration

The amaryllis, those beautiful flowers are blooming early
And the orange trees are loaded with sweet smelling pretty blossoms

The signs of spring are everywhere.

But wait! What’s this I see?
It’s a spot of orange looking back at me

It’s a survivor, from last year’s crop
It’s the last orange, hidden when we picked the tree

Oh it was good! Now spring is really here.

2015
*****

The Nest of Sand Hill Cranes

The Nest of Sand Hill Cranes
By
Dennis C. Orvis

I gassed my car and as I drove away from the station
I came to a holding pond, surrounded by a chain-link fence
Intentional I’m sure to keep out young people who might tempt fate
By playing near the water, or even swimming on a dare

I’m sure the fence also keeps dogs and other animals from disturbing
This outstanding attraction for water birds as a natural habitat
I quickly saw a few ducks, several kinds scattered across the pond
Each avoiding the others as they search for food or material to prepare

Look at that, over there in the reeds, is that a floating nest?
I see the male and female Sand Hill cranes answering the call of spring
She is sitting on the nest, keeping her eggs protected and warm
While he adds weeds and mud to the nest with special care

I wonder was the nest on dry land and safe before the heavy rains?
There could be problems when the young chicks hatch
You see, they immediately have to find food on their own.
Sometimes it seems to me that nature isn’t always fair.

2015
*****

The Young Fuzzy Owl

The Young Fuzzy Owl
By
Dennis C. Orvis

I first saw this young owl about a week ago
I haven’t seen it move, but I’ve seen it in different parts of the tree

It has not changed much except those fuzzy feathers
appear patchier with some color
I don’t know what kind of owl it is, but it looks pretty large to me

Owls are active at night and both parents feed the young
So we are unable to see activities that would be interesting and important to us

Still, there is excitement for us to watch the young bird grow
It’s ironic, perhaps, they sit still and silent
While it is you and I making all the fuss.

2015
*****

Hello Spring

Hello Spring!
By
Dennis C. Orvis

Well, look at you
A few days ago you were peeking
From behind a split in your blossom’s wrapping

And look at you now
Four magnificent crimson amaryllis
Exploding with beauty, shouting “Hello Spring!”

2015
*****

A Photographer's Surprise

A Photographer’s Surprise
By
Dennis C. Orvis

I saw a black anhinga bird sitting on a wood duck’s nesting box
Its wings were spread open wide, so it could go fishing once more

You see Anhinga’s feathers have no oil; it’s possible the bird could drown
So nature tells it when to stop, to avoid the tragedy I mentioned before

I took this picture, a lovely pose and when I put it into my computer
I got a wonderful surprise because I saw three wood ducks sitting on the ground

What makes this interesting to me, is something you could never make a guess
At least for the past half-dozen years I’ve never seen any wood ducks anywhere around.

2015
*****

Oh How They Grow

Oh how they grow!
By
Dennis C. Orvis

Its springtime and we can see sand hill crane chicks everywhere
Each set of parents generally has two

They are so small and helpless when they are born
There are so many predators when the chicks are new

For reasons we will never know, this is a family of only three
The youngster pictured here is maybe three or four weeks old

How quickly they grow, seeming to be bigger every day
This one is like a chick on stilts, a sight to behold

The chicks stay for nearly a year, the parents mate for life
They feed on seeds, berries and insects in the swamps and weeds

These cranes are known for their loud noisy calls, sometimes in duet
And wild dancing with high leaps; we don’t know which one leads.

2015
*****

Modern Dinosaurs

Modern dinosaurs
By
Dennis C. Orvis

Like miniature dinosaurs these armadillos waddle across the grass
Looking for bugs or maybe worms of some kind

I can see them now scratching in the dirt
For any live food they might accidentally find

It is rare to see them as a pair
Even more rare to see them in the daylight

Usually we think of them as loners
We don’t see them often since they travel at night

How interesting they look
With their ears standing tall

And if they are threatened
They roll up into an armored ball.

2015
*****

Blooming Wonderful

Blooming Wonderful
By
Dennis C. Orvis

There are many signs of spring
That will surely catch your eyes

The amaryllis is among the earliest
A blooming wonderful surprise

The flowers are simply gorgeous
As they blossom very fast

Huge flowers in beautiful colors
Look quickly, it’s sad, they don’t last.

2015
*****

It's a Flicker

It’s a flicker
By
Dennis C. Orvis

I thought it was a woodpecker when it flew to the tree
I snapped this nice picture and put it in my computer

Then, looking at the enlarged photo I see the bird is a flicker
Checking the bird book I discovered the flicker is a woodpecker

Now that’s two surprises at the same time
I guess that’s how we learn sometimes accidentally

Did I say it has such a wonderful call?
And did I mention it is beautiful incidentally?

2015
*****

The yellow tree

The yellow tree
By
Dennis C. Orvis

Like a yellow explosion, within days it covers the tree
The tabebuia tree explodes in its best spring dress

Our attention is drawn to its beauty and a few days later
The tree seems bare and the yellow blossoms lay on the grass

It is another of nature’s mysteries
What kind of trickery does she send our way?

Why does she do these things and leave us wondering?
Do you wonder as I do? Is she laughing this spring day?

2015
*****

The vultures and the fish

The vultures and the fish
By
Dennis C. Orvis

When I first arrived I saw a vulture pulling a fish away from the pond
Within minutes other vultures began to come from the sky

My photo shows five new vultures watching the one with the fish
There were others outside my picture arriving and standing by

Nature is such an intriguing stage with more questions than answers
A few came quickly to mind, how did the newcomers get the news?

Was it smell or eyesight or something we will never know?
Then I noticed a pecking order was in place and they followed certain rules

I found it fascinating to watch,
I wish I could have stayed a little longer

Even the vultures have an order
The finder eats first; the others wait to cure hunger.

2015
*****

Wow look at 'em grow

Wow! Look at ‘em grow!
By
Dennis C. Orvis

The blue heron nest high in the pine tree
Is a busy place on the must see list
Located opposite the fifteenth tee
Many of us label it as “not to be missed”

The nest is old, two years ago two young
Were raised, but last year there were none
Too far for the naked eye, binoculars are needed
To follow the actions of the young

And how they are growing
With two adults feeding the pair
It won’t be very long before they will be full grown
And will leave the nest quite bare

We are sure there are two young ones
Though difficult to see
But if you look closely at the photo
The baby has two necks, and we know that cannot be.

2015
*****

New Occupants

New Occupants
By
Dennis C. Orvis

High in the pine tree an old blue heron nest awaits
After a pair of blue herons only stayed a couple days

But for reasons we will never know they moved someplace else
And now new potential occupants are exploring first phase

Two beautiful Great White Egrets looking regal against the green
Oblivious to the many golfers driving by

We hope they decide to stay and raise a nest of young birds
And give us the joy of watching them grow with pleasure to the eye.

2015
*****

A Father's Wisdom

A Father’s Wisdom
By
Dennis C. Orvis

I wondered what words the youngster was getting
When I snapped this interesting photo

The little one never moved;
I don’t think it even blinked an eye

It looked rather serious
So I’m sure the message was one of great meaning

Perhaps the little one’s consolation
Was that its mother was standing nearby.

2015
*****

Hidden Beauty

Hidden Beauty
By
Dennis C. Orvis

The wood stork we know
Is not a pretty bird

With its long beak attached
To its head of ruddy black

And dirty looking feet
At the end of its long skinny legs

Suddenly it opens its wings
And Wow! Such beauty, look at that!

2015
*****

They Know

They know
By
Dennis C. Orvis

Easter is early this year and I wondered
If the pine tree crosses would know

So I grabbed my camera and went
To a pine tree that has had crosses in the past

I found the answer immediately
As I looked toward the sky

There they are, pine tree crosses waiting;
Easter’s supporting cast.

2015
*****

Prince or Princess?
By
Dennis C. Orvis

Silently and slowly gliding across the water
Of one of our golf course ponds

A young gator is watching our every move
As if we cannot see it is there

The general rule is five times the head
So I would guess it is about five foot long

One of nature’s perfect designs
It probably hasn’t changed in a million years

It is against the law to feed them
Which would be a pretty stupid thing

A prince or princess, we don’t know
May someday rule this pond as the queen or king.

2015
*****

The Pilated Woodpecker

The Pilated Woodpecker
By
Dennis C. Orvis

The largest woodpecker in North America,
Quickly spooks when people are around
But its call is so unique
Like a chicken cackling is its sound
It is amazing if you happen to see it come into view
You will probably think your eyes are playing tricks on you.

2015
*****

The Frigate Bird

The Frigate Bird
By
Dennis C. Orvis

I’ve only seen one, we were on a cruise
My photo was not as good as this
But it is such a magnificent bird
I hope it is on your personal short list

They are rather rare where we live,
Though we are not far from either coast
How great it would be to see another
Such sighting I would surely boast.

2015
*****

The Green Kingfisher

The Green Kingfisher
By
Dennis C. Orvis

I was surprised to see you and two others
Sitting on the high pole’s wire

I’ve never seen your kind before
And I was told your sighting was very rare

I did not have my camera, I’m sorry to say

But I sincerely hope we will meet again
On a wonderful summer day.

2015
*****

Well Hello, Mrs Woody

Well hello, Mrs. Woody
By
Dennis C. Orvis

I am looking at the remains of an old pine tree
That lost too many battles with powerful storms over the years
Only two thirds of the tree, about twenty feet high, is there;
Only the gray, barkless trunk, barren of any limbs still stands,
Hurricane Charlie removed the top
Giving woodpeckers a perfect nesting tree

The dead pine wood is easily removed by those talented birds
As they dig out a hole in which to prepare a nest
I can see it is a popular tree by the number of existing holes
Hey look! Someone is home! Hello, Mrs. Woody!

2015
*****

The silent eyes

The silent eyes
By
Dennis C. Orvis

Ah ha! There you are! Slowly gliding across the pond
With water rippled by a steady gentle wind
With a sound that cannot be heard.

You were hidden by the shadows of the cypress trees
Lining the shore until an opening caused a channel of light

Where you suddenly came into the open and could hide no more.

Now I can see your silent eyes, slowly coming nearer
And I know your legs are pushing effortlessly
Moving your ancient body closer and closer.

Ah, but it is all in vain. Your surprise is not to be.
And your lunch will not be me.

I’ll do my fishing in another pond
But I will remember where you live
Because I know your silent eyes never sleep.

2015
*****

Where's Spring

Where’s Spring?
By
Dennis C. Orvis

Hey! What’s going on here?
We’re the first Robins of spring!

What’s all this white stuff?
Look at us! We’re freezing! We can’t sing.

If it wasn’t for this sheltered spot
Our pretty red breast would be blue.

We’re on time, where’s spring?
We don’t know which way to go, what we can do.

Can you move the feeder?
Over to where we are, it’s too cold to fly.

We surely cannot walk,
And that stuff is deep, it’s higher than old Bob’s eye

It’s a shock to our system
All that snow and the temperature is below norm

As you watch us Robins
You can be sure we’re bob bob bobbin’ just to keep warm.

2015

Note: Picture by daughter LeAnn Tobin

Poem by me, her Dad
*****

The Osprey, the Eagle and the Fish
By
Dennis C. Orvis

My golfing friend and I drove to the left side of the fairway
To find and play a wayward shot

We were pleased to find it was short of the bordering canal
Because our golf game wasn’t very hot

An osprey came from behind us flying over our left shoulders
It was in parallel to the moving water

And it was carrying a fish in its claws, a perch, maybe a pound
Then an eagle appeared, not planning to barter

It hit the osprey in the air from above, knocking it to the water
The surprised osprey lost the fish as it fought the larger foe

The two birds hit the water struggling together
With a spectacular splash, a violent nature show

The osprey fought to get airborne
The furious eagle hit it one more time

Then the eagle decided to leave,
With the brave osprey chasing it close behind

Both birds briefly disappeared their separate ways
Later the eagle returned looked for the dropped fish

Without success it left the area again, still hungry
Like the osprey, instead of a meal, they could only share a wish.

2015
*****

Dogs, Frogs and Polliwogs
By
Dennis C. Orvis

I put my thumb and forefinger on my lips and blew
A shrill whistle in the air

Around the corner came Myrt and Bert, my rowdy Labrador pair

Myrt is a golden and Bert is shiny black,
They’re racing hard and fast

They know we’re going somewhere,
They heard my whistle, a loud, single blast

I raced them toward my pickup,
They passed me by and jumped into the back

Winded, I got into the cab, where my
Two-piece pole is in the rack

We soon arrived at Cedar Creek,
That drifts into catfish pond

Before I tell the dogs to jump out of the truck,
They are already gone.

I grabbed my pole and a jar of smelly old catfish bait
And headed toward the nearest shore

To my favorite fishing spot
In the shade of that old sycamore

I baited my hook and with pond water
I tried to wash off the smell

I cast my line to the pond’s middle
To a deep hole I know rather well

Then I leaned back against the tree
And watched my crazy dogs

As they run the shore
And try to catch frightened, jumping frogs

They are running amuck without any luck
While the frogs swim away with ease

Myrt and Bert both hit the water,
Standing foolishly up to their knees

In hundreds of black polliwogs
Looking for a place to hide

While Myrt and Bert look at each other
Startled, with their eyes open very wide

Suddenly my fishing line is pulling away
I gave the pole a powerful jerk

And a two pound catfish came flying out of the water
And landed beside me in the dirt.

“Hey you two, look over here!
See what I hooked on my line.”

This beautiful catfish loved my bait
And now my dinner will be just fine.

I cleaned my fish while the three of us
Listened to the music of the frogs

All I can say, is what a wonderful day
Fishing with my dogs, the frogs and polliwogs

2015
*****

I got 'cha Rocky

I got ‘cha, Rocky!
By
Dennis C, Orvis

Ever since I put a bird feeder outside our sliding glass doors
There’s a squirrel who thinks I fill it with birdseed just for him

I call him Rocky; it seems natural from those cartoons long ago
It’s been a war chasing him away time and time again

It’s a climbing feeder. He just climbs the pole and feeder to get his fill
I’ve tried many things to stop him, but he is really very bright

I thought I beat him when I greased the pole, with every try he slid back down
He looked so confused, but repeated tries rubbed it off, winning the fight

One day I got an idea to outsmart the little bugger
I cut the bottom from a clear two-liter plastic bottle to shield my feeder

The first time he tried to climb down the cord he slid right to the ground
He did that three times, and then he stopped at the top puzzled, I’m sure

Since then, every once in a while he will quickly climb the pole
He’ll stop at the top and look at my feeder and then climb back down

He’ll search on the ground for any seeds the many birds have dropped
I’ve got ‘cha, Rocky! Now I have the smile and you have the frown!

2015
*****

The Color Purple

The Color Purple
By
Dennis C. Orvis

Its name, Purple Gallinule, a pretty little bird
Such a beautiful purplish blue
A member of the rail family with its yellow, chicken type feet

It can run across the lily pads with speed and aerobatic ease
Usually with its unique call from its red and yellow-tipped beak

I remember one time when I stepped onto a wooden boat dock
I heard a noise and looked back to see six baby gallinules following me

They were so cute, like miniatures in a small parade
Then their mother called, they disappeared into the weeds
Quick as one, two, three

2015
*****

Nesting in Florida

Nesting in Florida
By
Dennis C. Orvis

Like the bluebird and the wren, wood duck pairs use man-made boxes for nesting
The box is deep like a hollow tree, usually with wire mesh inside under the hole
Although they need special designs
So the ducklings, to get out, can climb

This determined effort by man has save the wood duck from a declining population
Creating joy for birders and many others by their mating habits and whistling calls
Today the wood duck is doing well
When young ducks leap out, its stories to tell

When the last duckling jumps out of the hole, mother and the young ducks swim far
And the beautiful male goes his separate way, leaving the family behind
Nature’s instinct tells her when and why
We don’t know if any say goodbye.

2015
*****

Young Blue Herons

Young Blue Herons
By
Dennis C. Orvis

A pair of young blue herons in the nest high in the tree of pine
Looking for mom or dad to bring them some food

Growing fast, but long necks and feathers is all we can see
Soon they will fly, leaving an empty nest and nature will say “That’s good!”

2015
*****

Excuse Me

“Excuse me!”
By
Dennis C. Orvis

Hey you! I know you want to take my picture
But can you give me a little space?

I’m trying to get something to eat
Is it polite to poke your camera in my face?

It’s the same wherever I go
People are excited when they see my pretty colors

I know they are very special
But, I sure would like some privacy like the others.

2015
*****

Looking Good

Looking Good
By
Dennis C. Orvis

It is interesting to watch this mother sand hill crane
As she teaches her young pair what and how to eat
It seems they grow several inches every day
We can see the drumsticks are long, but where’s the meat?

2015
*****

Still Hungry

Still Hungry
By
Dennis C. Orvis

Young sand hill cranes grow very fast
Learning to eat with mother’s help,
As you can quickly see
Nothing will get away

It takes a lot of bugs and grubs
As it moves all about for insects and worms
To satisfy this chick
Its small but easy prey.

2015
*****

The Glossy Ibis

The Glossy Ibis
By
Dennis C. Orvis

We see many white ibis here in Central Florida
Interesting with their long beaks of pretty red

Pictured above are cousins, a pair of Glossy Ibis
Similar, except their feathers are wine-colored instead

2015
*****

The Woodpecker

The Woodpecker
By
Dennis C. Orvis

How pretty they are as they fly dipping routes from tree to tree
Crying out with their unusual call wik-wik-wik

Favoring the soft pine trees looking for bugs in the bark
Or digging nest holes in the dead pines, so easy to chip

So when you hear the rap-a-tap-tap
You’ll know a busy woodpecker is near

If you are lucky you might see its red head
I’m sure it will bring you good cheer.

2015
*****

The nesting box is busy

The nesting box is busy
By
Dennis C. Orvis

I saw an anhinga spreading his wings to dry
As it must from time to time or it will drown
You see, it has no oil in its feathers
Perhaps it is nature’s way to slow it down

It is sitting on a man-made wood duck nest
On the bank of a small golf course pond
When I put this picture into my computer
I was surprised to see a pair of wood ducks on the ground

Obviously they were upset by the bird on their nesting box
As they waited uneasy to answer nature’s call
The female I am sure has an egg to lay inside
And the male expects to sit on the box to warn intruders all

2015
*****

Oh Pelican, Oh Pelican
By
Dennis C. Orvis

Oh Pelican, oh Pelican, how I enjoy you today
As you sail in flight so low above the mighty ocean wave

With such ease I cannot believe, gliding through the misty air
Oh Pelican, oh Pelican, flying with you a fantasy I crave.

2015
*****

A Family Visit

A Family Visit
By
Dennis C. Orvis

Every once in a while if a person is lucky to be in the right place at the right time,
Nature will give you a special show

Like the day I saw a family of black-bellied whistling ducks, the parents and five nearly
grown young
I saw my first pair only a year ago

I’m wondering if that pair returned this year to show me their family
I guess I’ll never know, but I can believe it is true

Or perhaps I was in the right place at the right time and nature surprised me with a
special show
That’s something only nature can really do.

2015
*****

Bathtime

Bathtime
By
Dennis C. Orvis

Our birdbath, outside our sliding glass door
Is the source of many moments of joy

Moments that erased any thoughts of the chore
To keep the water changed and the level high

Moments shared by a pair of cardinals, mockingbirds, blue jays
And many smaller birds

Oh my, just look at this female cardinal
Oblivious to the world, splashing the sky

2015
*****

The Elephant Trail

The Elephant Trail
By
Dennis C. Orvis

As the setting African sun pulls the reddish-orange-golden sky causing it to slowly fade into night
I see a small family of elephants following the path its ancestors have traveled for decades or perhaps centuries
Moving once again, as the blistering heat of the day is yielding to the nighttime blue and the darkness it brings
The dominant female, matriarch and wisest of the herd teaches the young the secrets of family ways

Silently they follow, listening and learning, every movement has a meaning, every meaning a lesson to be learned
Moving as one, swaying as if connected, with their enormous weight, shifting like music from side to side
While their massive, tree-like legs lift each foot and swing it forward as the elephant’s gait requires
And then sets it down with the slightest of sound, scuffing the extremely dry soil where small creatures try to hide
(continued)
Without sound, the distant shadows tell me the elephant family is passing by in my vision’s range
It’s a moment that has been repeated for centuries and will be again and again through time, while only the sunsets and the players slowly change.

2015
*****

The Surveyor

The surveyor
By
Dennis C. Orvis

From his favorite perch high in the long-needle pine tree
The Osprey surveys his domain
Partially hidden by Spanish moss his piercing eyes
Miss no movement in the water of the large pond nearby

He is looking for a fish that might swim too near the surface
Making ripples; a tell-tale frame
The Osprey will rapidly dive; catch it with his sharp talons
And fly to the nest where his hungry young ones cry

2015
*****

Bath time

Bath time
By
Dennis C. Orvis

This female cardinal is having a great time
I mean she is oblivious to me
She is splashing water in all directions
What a joy she is to see

I think our feathered friends
Simply love to put on a show
All we really need to do
Is provide a few basics and watch ‘em go.

2015
*****

The Yellow Butterfly

The Yellow Butterfly
By
Dennis C. Orvis

Hello! There you are so pretty and so quiet
As you move from flower to flower
They are such a pretty blue
It makes me wonder
If any thoughts might come to you
Or do you just make your trip hour by hour

Tasting the sweetness of selected flowers
And transfer the pollen along your way
I don’t know if you are shy or too busy to care
But your beauty among the wonderful flowers
Certainly makes my day.

2015
*****

The Flaming Sky

The Flaming sky
By
Dennis C. Orvis

As the sunrise fights to break free of the heavy morning clouds
The sky turns red and orange and yellow like a well-built fire in our fireplace
Exploding as the dry wood can no longer hide from the heat
The sunrays search for any opening, unrelenting at its timeless pace

Oh, how its beauty reflects across the open sea, casting its colored shadows
Toward the sandy beach where shore birds race to catch critters the waves leave behind
When the tide leaves shrimp, snails and crabs lay helpless on the wet sand, some try to dig in
The feast is furious; only numbers might save any of their kind

We know the sky will calm as the clouds leave and the sun continues to rise
And we will wonder to where the red and orange and yellow flames disappear
All of this and more reminds us again, of the awesome wonders of nature
How blessed to be witness to this or any great natural spectacular.

2015
*****

The Red-Tailed Hawk

The Red-tailed hawk
By
Dennis C. Orvis

My wife and I were watching the popular Wheel of Fortune television show
The answer to the puzzle was A Red-tailed Hawk, a bird whose prey is often frail
After it was revealed, Pat Sajak, the M.C. was given a note
It said; “Oddly enough, the red-tailed hawk is not a hawk and does not have a red tail”

Of course, this show was taped so there was no way to correct this false statement
It is indeed a hawk and its tail most certainly is red
One look at its curved beak and piercing eyes confirms and should remove all doubt
Obviously, designed to be a hunter, looking at his no nonsense head

It was a rare picture to find this one sitting on the ground
Without prey or young ones near is a rare picture indeed
Since he is usually found high in trees or on telephone poles
Perched where his powerful eyesight can serve his hunger need

Other birds treat him with the greatest respect and if lucky they will hide
This hawk hunts small animals, too, like squirrels and rabbits
The red-tailed hawk is a thing of beauty in the wild
Their existence, like many others, is for man to change bad habits.

2015
*****

Dear Pelicans

Dear Pelicans
By
Dennis C. Orvis

I wonder, dear pelicans, why you are so fascinating to me
The beach is so empty until you come into view
I watch you fly so gracefully, whether high or low
Floating with the breezy winds in the blue

I have to smile when I see you hit the water
From a short dive to scoop up your swimming dinner
How awkward you are with your lower beak filled
And you try to lift off with or without a tasty swimmer

I can feel my shoulders rising as I try to help
You leave the water and after several tries finally in the air
Once again in control with your aerial beauty
I watch you until you disappear in the distance and I wonder where.

2015
*****

The Black-Bellied Whistling Duck

The Black-Bellied Whistling Duck
By
Dennis C. Orvis

Nature, if we let it, has many treasures to share
And if we are lucky to be nearby
The experience will be special; most rewarding
And it can provide great pleasure to the eye

Sunday the Lakeland newspaper reported two extremely rare ducks were seen,
On a Lakeland lake, several good photos were included in the news
The ducks by name, are Black-bellied whistling Ducks and they are gorgeous
The male and female look the same and they have tendencies common to the goose

I read the article with interest because I have never seen one
The next day I was playing golf at my home course, Cypresswood in Winter Haven
We are over thirty miles from Lakeland and I was amazed
To see the same kind of rare ducks on a small golf course pond, gently swimmin’

As the four of us drove our golf carts by to the next tee
The ducks never looked as we passed by, so we drove back for a better view
I must say the four of us were all impressed with their beauty
Bright red-orange beaks, big white eyes, body of brown and black wings, too

To see a rare bird for the first time is a memory one might often recall
It is a one-time gift from nature, such times though few, might be the best of all.

2013
*****

Everything is Beautiful

Everything is beautiful
By
Dennis C. Orvis

I’m looking at a brown butterfly with some spots of various sizes
And my first thought is, it’s not too attractive to my eye
Of course I didn’t tell this to the butterfly, that wouldn’t be nice
Then another one, a look alike, came flittering by

It landed close, motionless and then they left together
They flew with touching wings, stopping at a few flowers along the way
I felt badly for prejudging, something I should not have done
And I learned to the right pair of eyes everything is beautiful and very much ok

2015
*****

New Hampshire in the fall
By
Dennis C. Orvis

It’s been nearly a decade since I’ve seen the foliage of New Hampshire
Although I remember it as beautiful, somehow gorgeous is a better fit.
And the view on this side of White Mountains is spectacular
Every curve in this country road gives us a postcard winner, nature’s perfect fit

How magical the view, how great when old memories are awakened once more
The yellow, red and orange colors scattered across the hills and valleys shout to me
No matter how hard I try I cannot see it all and I am afraid I might miss the best
Thank you New Hampshire and nature, too, for painting these wonderful fall portraits that I love and see.

2015
*****

This terrific day
By
Dennis C. Orvis

The white spire of the little country church reaches skyward
Among the colors of nature’s spectacular display
New England’s gift to the changing seasons before winter arrives
The annual mass parade on the famous Kancamagus Highway

The beauty of small towns like valuable jewels hidden in the hills
And the feeling of jealousy tip-toes into our thoughts
Of the unseen people surrounded by this peaceful scene
Who see and every day enjoy such masterpieces that nature has brought

The red maples, the golden yellow ash and emerald needles of the pine
Splashed against the mountains as nature’s palette will have its way
No photo, no painting, will capture the greatness I can see
But I can fill my eyes and ever remember this terrific day!

2015
*****

The first colored leaf of fall
By
Dennis C. Orvis

When the first leaf changed color it felt a little strange
Though it turned red, it wasn’t noticed on the hillside
At first she felt pretty, and then she felt different all alone
Silently she waved in the breeze trying to enjoy the ride.

As the cool morning continued, with off and on chills
A few more leaves around her started changing too
Suddenly she realized she was no longer different or strange
And soon she was proudly waving with all the others,
In a majestic fall foliage review.

2015
*****

The last colored leaf of fall

The last colored leaf of fall
By
Dennis C. Orvis

The tree is bare, like all trees around it, the tree is bare
But wait! Look there! About half way up on the right side
I see a leaf, only one, hanging on with tinges of red and yellow
It’s hanging on! It’s hanging on in the chilling wind trying to survive

As the work of Jack Frost is being undone by the morning sun
Fall is quietly slipping away, the pretty fallen leaves already turned to brown
Dampened by melting frost, they are wet and soggy, their beauty too is gone
Suddenly, the wind breaks the last leaf loose, helplessly falling downward to the ground

Later, the sky darkens with the setting sun, the air is turning cold
The animals still scurrying, returning to their holes and nests
Falling snow begins to fill the night air as the forest is slowly turning white
The last leaf has fallen, winter is here! It’s time for barren trees to rest.

2015
****

The Moose sighting
By
Dennis C. Orvis

We were driving north on Interstate 93 in New Hampshire in the fall
The traffic was slightly heavy because the fall foliage was nearing prime in the morning light
How beautiful the hillsides looked with shades of red, yellow and gold
Suddenly bright red brake lights flashed ahead, many cars stopping on the right

For a few hundred yards we did the same
As we saw the reason, a young blackish moose was twenty feet up the hill
People and cameras, were everywhere, a traffic backup quickly formed
Even the southbound lanes, windows down, cameras filled, traffic almost still

The traffic was chaotic, after a dozen cooperative pictures we’re traveling north again
We drove north to the Old Man on the Mountain signs, knowing he fell off years ago
I once thought the state would replace him with a fiberglass profile
I think it was considered but the estimated cost gave the project a no

We turned around on interstate 93 south and soon caught up with a two-mile backup
Still moose inspired by moose-lookers in the northbound lane
But I have to tell you the traffic mess was not the usual road rage activity
Everyone seemed happy, taking pictures, talking, thanks to the moose,
they appeared sane.

2015
*****

The Kancamagus Highway
By
Dennis C. Orvis

It’s been a while but we just drove that famous highway again.
The Kancamagus Highway in New Hampshire, fall foliage at its best
This was only my second trip, the first about a decade ago
Both views were spectacular, I cannot compare, I confess

So many miles unspoiled by any invasion of people squatters
Framed by the White Mountains, a living masterpiece with flare
People by the thousands, unending traffic in both directions
Thrilled to see nature’s finest, creating memories to forever share

2015
*****

The Brilliant Red Tree
By
Dennis C. Orvis

The miracle of fall is slow to arrive
As the leaves on the trees start changing colors live

Looking across the valleys and the great hills
Pictures of yellows, copper and orange adds beautiful thrills

The pines and evergreens add many shades of green
So each day changing colors embellishes nature’s scheme

Then in the center of this colorful sea
A single, brilliant red tree is looking back at me.

2015
*****

The Bath Covered Bridge

The Bath Covered Bridge
By
Dennis C. Orvis

The longest covered bridge in New Hampshire is located in the city of Bath
It is one of fifty-four New Hampshire covered bridges

Built in 1832 for less than three thousand dollars
It reached a length of 392 feet of flooring timber and ridges

You could be fined one dollar if you drove your team above a walk
In those years a dollar was a lot of money and the New Bridge
brought much pleasure

Recently, the bridge was renovated for about three million dollars
A testament to the people of Bath and the great bridge they treasure.

2015
*****

The Sun Dogs

The Sun Dogs
By
Dennis C. Orvis

Every once in a while, when the sky and the clouds and other things
Are just right
You might see a bright spot in the sky, somewhat colored, a distance
Left of the sun

Your first thought might be it is part of a rainbow, but actually it is a Sun Dog.
Formed by sun rays through ice crystals; check right because there are
Always two, never just one.

2015
*****

The Old Man on the Mountain
By
Dennis Orvis

I’ve seen this interesting mountainside a few times
It is the pride of all New Hampshire as you might guess
Located near Franconia, it was first noticed in print in 1905
Called the Great Stone Face around 1911, a centerpiece
To the fall foliage fest

It was formed by the powerful glaciers so many years ago
Causing fine granite ledges to jut out with a face-like view
Concern for its longevity was real, repair attempts were made
Then, on May 3rd, 2003 the old man on the mountain
fell off in the night about two

A project was studied to replace the old man with a fiberglass face
It received little support, with cost a big part of the issue
Of course, the old man still marks the state highway, his picture on the sign
And some of us, perhaps, still visions him there overlooking the
Fabulous fall foliage view.

2015
*****

 

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