Sunday things: a bouquet of birds

Photo Credit Jasmine Rain Hyder

Bouquet of Birds
Annette Marie Hyder

They are fat and cozy flowers
blooming on the winter trees.
These flowers
puff out their chests
and sing —
float notes of joy into the sky.

I say, “How do they stay warm?
What makes them preen
and sing and bloom?”

He says, “They must be thinking of you.”

Many birds dotting the leaf-empty branches profusely

This image never fails to make me happy — small birds in the midst of winter decorating the bare branches
of cold trees with their plumage and their song.

They are winter flowers. Their feathers are petals and their song is
pollen carried on the breeze disseminating not plant DNA, but joy.

They are only a handful of fluff and hollow bones and yet they weather conditions most severe. Thinking of these birds reminds me of The Sermon on the Mount. If you are not familiar with it, here is an excerpt:

from the book of Matthew (I think it’s interesting that the exhortation,
“Do not be anxious” is given three times in this section):

New American Standard Bible
Matthew 6:25-33

25 Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what
you shall eat or what you shall drink, nor about your body, what you
shall put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than
clothing? 26 Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap
nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you
not of more value than they? 27 And which of you by being anxious can
add one cubit to his own span of life?
28 And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the
field, how they grow; they neither toil nor spin; 29 yet I tell you,
even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30 But
if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and
tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O
men of little faith? 31 Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What
shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’
32 For the Gentiles seek all these things; and your heavenly Father
knows that you need them all. 33 But seek first the kingdom and his
righteousness, and all shall be yours as well.
34 Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be
anxious for itself. Let the day’s own trouble be sufficient for the

And this:

New American Standard Bible
Matthew 10: 29-31

29“Are not two sparrows sold for a cent? And yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father.
30“But the very hairs of your head are all numbered.
31“So do not fear; you are more valuable than many sparrows.

Links of Interest:

Faculty expert, J. Michael Reed, professor
of biology at Tufts University answers the question, “Why don’t all birds fly south for the winter?”   Also, “How do the ones that winter over in the frigid north survive?”

Want to read an old anecdote from the Kabbalah about a bird turning into a fruit? Check out The Tears of Things.

And here’s a link to a Sermon on the Mount Discussion.

Girl in the picture

By Annette Marie Hyder

I am not that girl in the picture

You know how film can make you look 10 lbs heavier
and how an artist can paint the freckles on your soul
that you thought no one could see?
The light in photography can cup the face,
the derriere, voluptuously —
can limn, with shadows cast, strength and boldness
where none appeared to be.
I like the challenge in those eyes
the confident thrust of hip and thigh.
The hair that frames that face by turns angel
halo gold and dirty blond comes closest
to delineating me.
But I am not that girl
although she looks a lot like me.

Ghost in the machine

The Power of Prayer
Annette Marie Hyder

My friend tells me his theory
that when we pray we are talking not only to the divine
but also to ourselves
because he believes
that there is a “ghost in the machine
and that we are encrypted on a cellular level
with something of a deity.
I think he is right
in some ways.
Certainly there is enough worship of self
there are enough people like candles candescent with aching
for celestial celebrity the equivalent
it would seem
in our society
to immortality.
But that wannabe goddish glow —
that’s not what he means.
Can I direct my subconscious activity with neural consequences
like a yogi, like a master, like a symphonic conductor
wave my prayer like a baton —
indicating for my self and that which is incorporeal
within me (should it actually exist) —
the tempo/direction?
Angel, in Greek, has the meaning of messenger.
Can I send synapses
to do my bidding via angelic “messengers” of auto suggestion?
Self determination is a powerful concept.
Belief is a tenuous thing
of great strength.
Is god not only “in the details” so to speak
but ultimately in the metaphors I use as “keys
to the kingdom” of me?

White snow and bad girl boots

Slow Melt
Annette Marie Hyder

As the temperature rises
there is a slow striptease removal
of white lacy things.

Streams and inlets swell
rivulets roll dreamily
as the snow melts in a long sigh

breathes softly against the stiff wind
and all the while Winter wears
her thigh-high boots.

She wont take them off
till Spring comes.


Photo Annette Marie Hyder

I snapped this picture while looking up at our skylight. I love images that lend themselves to personal interpretation like this one does. Is the ice encroaching on the skylight or receding? Is the sunlight dimming or brightening? To me the sunshine is melting the snow and revealing the blue sky as it gets brighter — a slow strip-tease removal of white lacy things.

From one of my favorite contemporary poets

“People need to remember that a poem isn’t a blow by blow confession of life events…it can draw from many sources. Were it blow by blow, birds would be flying upside down in a purple sky where I live. Just a reminder…” —  Pris Campbell, Poet and retired Clinical Psychologist, January 20, 2011

Haiga (inspired by photo of Pris Campbell) by Mike Keville

Photo Copyright Pris Campbell

Link to Pris Campbell’s website,

Standing Tall is Key for Success

There’s a great article in Science Daily on how standing tall is key for success and ‘powerful postures’ may trump title and rank. A study has ‘consistently found
across three studies that posture mattered more than hierarchical role.’

Excerpt from the article below, and here’s a poem about…

Standing Tall
Annette Marie Hyder

Your glances walk tingles
right up the ladder of my spine.
My posture wears high heels
(hips tilted and shoulders thrust back)
even in my bare feet
when I run into the hydraulic lift
of your eyes.

Article excerpt from Science Daily :

Science Daily (Jan. 7, 2011)
Show enthusiasm, ask questions and bring copies of a resume. These are
just a handful of the most common interview tips for job seekers, but a
person’s posture may also be a deciding factor for whether they land a
coveted position — even when the person on the other side of the desk
is in a more powerful role.

According to new research from the Kellogg School of Management at
Northwestern University, posture plays an important role in determining
whether people act as though they are really in charge. The research
finds that “posture expansiveness,” or positioning oneself in a way that
opens up the body and takes up space, activates a sense of power that
produces behavioral changes in a person independent of their actual rank
or hierarchical role in an organization.

More importantly, these new findings demonstrate that posture may be
more significant to a person’s psychological manifestations of power
than their title or rank alone. Led by Kellogg School of Management
professor Adam Galinsky and Kellogg PhD candidate Li Huang, along with
Stanford Graduate School of Business professor Deborah Gruenfeld and
Stanford PhD candidate Lucia Guillory, this research is the first to
directly compare the effect on behavior of having a high-power role
versus being in a high-power posture. The paper is titled “Powerful
Postures Versus Powerful Roles: Which Is the Proximate Correlate of
Thought and Behavior?” and appears in the January 2011 issue of Psychological Science.

Although not anticipated by the researchers, they consistently found
across three studies that posture mattered more than hierarchical role
— it had a strong effect in making a person think and act in a more
powerful way. In an interview situation, for example, an interviewee’s
posture will not only convey confidence and leadership but the person
will actually think and act more powerfully. “Going into the research we
figured role would make a big difference, but shockingly the effect of
posture dominated the effect of role in each and every study,” Huang

Read the entire article here.

I know you think you do

Annette Marie Hyder

You don’t know my story.
You’ve only read a page or two
over my shoulder
when I wasn’t looking
even though I had my book
tilted away from you.

I cover passages
from your prying gaze
see that I must bring the pages
to my chest
so that only the spine shows

and I see you tracing that too
with your eyes.

talking in my sleep

Annette Marie Hyder

i call out — not
your name —
but my brother’s name
he who has been gone
these nine years

i have no recollection
of the dream in which this happened
only another’s word that this is so
but i believe it
because he’s been on my mind

with thoughts of empty skies
sunrises that keep on coming
heartlessly beautiful
without him in the world

how those sunrises
get strung like beads
on the bracelet of remembrance
shine and click together
as the hands of my thought
move in conversation

i move my hands a lot
when i talk
and i know that the hands of my mind
are moving too
counting off my sunrise beads
like a rosary
that takes me closer to teddy