the winter wren

This morning I had a long conversation with
a winter wren. I’m not sure what passed
between us, exactly, only that
something did. Something that
left me feeling

	joyful…

		giddy, almost… 

			and definitely delighted.

All afternoon I considered this,
and wondered why such a secretive
little bird would call me out for a chat,
which, clearly, she did, kit-kittering loudly
all around me until, at last,
I called out “hello, Little One,” and
rose to find her in the undergrowth.

She did not startle and fly away
at my approach, but studied me
quite carefully as I spoke. Neither
was she injured, as she crept around under
the rocks and hopped among the
tangled thickets, a worm dangling
from her fine, sharp beak,
chittering all the while.

And now, night has fallen fully,
and the moon peers out
behind the clouds, and I—delighted
     and grateful—am
no closer to knowing
what, exactly, passed between me and
the winter wren.

©stephanie g pepper, 2021

When in the soul such darkness loosed

When in the soul such darkness loosed
uncovers what light hath hid;
what gaudy day hath swept aside
the tender night embraced.

Unveiled in dreams, what secrets pass,
unknown to lucid dawn?
Thus where but darkness doth prayer come,
the hoarse and truest cry?

It shivers on the fragile skin,
unbinds the heart at last–
and gathers up the lonely tears,
in garish daylight spilt.

©stephanie pepper, 2020