Thursday 23 March 2023

Five Poems by Sharon Waller Knutson


The Chicken Dance


Rudy the red rooster

toots his trumpet

to wake us at dawn

and at noon leads

his ten hefty hens

across our green lawn,

feathers fluffing and flouncing,

beaks cackling and clucking

to the rhythmic snoring

of the feral feline

full of Fancy Feast

snoozing on the sofa

in our sun porch

while we watch

through the window

as we lunch on tuna salad

sandwiches and iced tea.


Crow’s Feet


Through the bedroom

window glass I watch

wrinkled feet with onyx

painted toenails two step

across the sill, hear cawing

and a flutter off wings

and blink at a black blur.

As I sleep, I dream Mr. Crow

is tap dancing across the floor

of my face like Fred Astaire

barefoot in black coattails

and in the morning

I look in the mirror and find

the proof – his footprints

in the corner of each eye.



Watching the Neighbours


I used to say when I grew old

I would never be like my mother

and stand at the window

with binoculars and give


a play-by-play account

of what the neighbours

are doing, but here I am

running to the kitchen


window and watching

the Palomino and Appaloosa

eating hay, tails swatting flies,

the black and white cow


patiently nursing her calf,

still wet and wobbly,

as the crows caw

and the white tail deer


dance like ballerinas

waiting for their turn

to get a swig of water

and repeating every detail


to my husband

as he sips coffee

and birdsong plays

in the background.


Family Tree


I like to think I am a Mcintosh

surviving the frost, ripe

and red, ripped from a branch

in the March wind in Montana

with a tough skin and tender

flesh like the many apples

before me. Or a prickly pine

cone dropping to the bare

ground from the tall tree,

keeping my seeds safe

from the cold and predators,

releasing them in a sizzling summer

to procreate and protect.

Or a green leaf from a strong oak

drifting like a dragonfly,

swift and agile as my ancestors.



Arizona Monsoon


The wind howls like a coyote

and waves big as in the Pacific

slosh and wash our windows.

In the lightning flash and explosion

that follows, we see the horses,

conditioned by the deafening


sound of jets and motorcycles,

huddling in the corral, rain

washing their hide and mane

as the black sky opens and dumps

gallons of water and the washes

run like mountain streams.


Suddenly it stops and all we hear

is the barking of the dogs guarding

the horses and imagine the feral cat

trembling as it eats a mouse

in our enclosed porch after jumping

over the courtyard wall

and slipping through the rip

in the screen door before the storm.


When the sun shines,

the horses are eating hay,

the dogs dry food and the cat

is scarfing down table scraps.

The desert is dry but green,

a sign that a storm passed through

and the thirsty ground got a drink.

Sharon Waller Knutson is a retired journalist and a widely published poet who lives in a wildlife habitat in Arizona. She has published ten poetry books including: What the Clairvoyant Doesn’t Say (Kelsay Books 2021,) Survivors, Saints and Sinners (Cyberwit 2022) and The Vultures are Circling (Cyberwit 2023.) Her poems have appeared most recently in  ONE ART, Black Coffee Review, Verse-Virtual and Your daily Poem.

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