Coal-black, sleek, cackling titans,
Foreboding, demonic and dark
Edgar Allen Poe’s fond familiars;
But—those aren’t our ravens, oh no
Muskoka’s are practical jokers
Bursting garbage bags with ease
Willful, comedic tricksters
Partaking of gourmet delights
While scattering the odorous rest
For all with less delicate palates:
Bears, mice, skunks and—Thelma,
The welfare bum’s hound.

Their secret, coded messages
In endless variety and volume
Echo through the trees
Imitating and confusing
Bluejays, crows and, yes, Thelma,
The twanging guitarist’s hound.

Top gun fliers, dauntless and bold,
Swoop and swerve, narrowly missing
Tree trunks, branches, hydro wires
And, yes, Thelma,
The irritating neighbour’s hound.

Over the cliff they loop the loop,
Barrel-roll, dive and coast,
The Red Baron, no match, whatever
For these Olympian fliers.

Chief Raven, half a beak missing
Hell’s Angel of the bird domain
Spots Thelma and her dead-beat pal
Out for an evening stroll.
Cawing raucously, he plummets—
Plopping capriciously
On our irritant’s bare head
Copious dog dung, flat and frozen.
Just imagine the rest!

So, to savour poetic justice,
Raise your glasses high,
To our jaunty cliff-dwellers,
Pugnacious, daring and wild.

  • Eleanor Kidd

The vista unfolds before me
A familiar, though ever-changing picture
Viewed once again from my comfortable niche.
At ease, I sit, pillow surrounded,
Contemplating reflectively
On fall’s stealthy intrusion into this scene,

Albeit early.

Chipmunks and squirrels, legs spinning, lawn ornament style
Cheeks acorn-stuffed, frantically build their winter stocks,

While jays squawk and hawks soar,
Ravens pillage garbage treats, nonchalance inborn;

Hummingbirds sensing winter,
Have taken off in a blur of wings
For southern comfort.
The maples and oaks, flame red
Or patterned in shades of yellow,
Proffer a vibrant palette.
The last hurrah,
Before leaves, wind-driven,
Reluctantly abandon their perches,
Drifting in a death spiral to cover the ground
In a bizarre patchwork quilt, wrinkled in places
As leaves, crisping, curl upwards
Reaching vainly for that comforting, secure branch.
The distant hills draped in a mantle of vermillion and russet

Mock the deep green pines

Who will patiently wait to enjoy an ironic chuckle
When those most brilliant turn stark and grey

As the cold deepens.

Crickets and grasshoppers sing their final arias
To the virtuoso accompaniment
Of leaf blowers bellowing,
Rakes scratching or scraping,

And smouldering fires exuding pungent, leafy scents.

As autumn captures centre stage,
Nature’s plan flows on,
A lingering reminder of our transitory role
In Life’s grand scheme.

Eleanor Kidd

A murky veil blurs the hills
Shades of gray depress the sky
Mary Lake lies still, leaden,
Islands squat dismally,
While sodden leaves, drooping
Absorb this wearisome deluge.

Hanging from the glistening rail,
Shiny droplets lose their tenuous grip;
Petunias in baskets, slump, defeated,
Deck flooring shines wax-like,
Birds, animals and bugs
Hunker down and wait
For a glimpse of sun
As do I!

Eleanor Kidd, Port Sydney

A blanket of silence, white and still,
Covers the wintry lake,
No hint of warmth wrapped within.
Shadows, like unsheathed sabres
Lying abandoned, link islands to shore.
Assuming a stern military stance,
Hills in rigid, glacial rows
Glare icily at darkly etched maples,
Bowing to a frigid breeze’s whim.
An occasional capricious snowflake
Drifts up, down and around,
A sly reminder of our vulnerability
To all of the Iceman’s vagaries.

Eleanor Kidd, Port Sydney

On strategic survival missions
Miniature Spitfires
Perform their air show
Outside our window
Free of charge.

Svelte, sylph-like, surreal
Darting, twisting, swerving
Plunging towards their quarry
They burn up the sky
Oblivious of their fans.

Heedless of brilliance
With no applause
Again, with daring they stage
Impossible aerobatic stunts
An exquisite encore

Eleanor Kidd, Port Sydney