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Early Birds
Richard Greene


Quarter to six, an early May morning,
the sun not risen yet
but light enough
that this bit of the world is visible
aside from where the remains of night
pool under bushes and trees.
No traffic on our street so far
nor other noticeable human stirrings.
Crows cawing down the block.
Mourning doves crooning amorously.
A woodpeckerís ratta tat tat
in the woods across the way.
A finch hops out from under a shrub
and takes off with two companions.
They fly in close formation
down the empty street,
already about their business
while most of us humans
are still asleep.

© by Richard Greene.
Used with the authorís permission.

Richard Greene began writing poetry in the 8th grade, inspired by the opening lines of Longfellow's “Evangeline”—“This is the forest primeval. The murmuring pines and the hemlocks / Bearded in moss and in garments green, indistinct in the twilight"—which he was required to read in class. In college, after a classmate deemed Richard’s rhyming poem “trite,” he stopped writing until, a couple of years later, a class with Henry Rago, subsequently editor of Poetry magazine, inspired him to resume his efforts. But poetry fell by the wayside for almost forty years as a busy career in international development consumed his life. As retirement approached, however, Richard’s dedication to poetry returned; he has since published three chapbooks: The Broken Guitar: Poems of War; Becoming Old: Poems of Aging; Painting with Words: Landscapes in Verse; and one full -length collection, To Talk of Many Things: Selected Poems. Richard, who lives in Nyack, New York, shares a "poem of the week" with anyone interested; get on his mailing list by requesting it at



Post New Comment:
What a delight! Just loved it.
Posted 05/02/2016 02:37 PM
Lori Levy:
Beautiful image. Glad the college classmate didn't stop you from writing!
Posted 05/02/2016 11:27 AM
Smiles ~
Posted 05/02/2016 10:49 AM
I absolutely love this.
Posted 05/02/2016 08:16 AM
Ross Kightly:
International development can stand the loss I'm sure, and the World of Poetry can always do with stuff this charming and sharply-observed. Brilliant! Thank you.
Posted 05/02/2016 02:49 AM

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