The Sunday Poem: Cirrelda Snider-Bryan... Ode to Lucky Encounters

Listen. Cranes! It's fall...time to get up from the computer, walk outside, and look up.

Long-time Duke City Fix member Cirrelda "CC" Snider-Bryan is a resident of Albuquerque’s North Valley. She is devoted to filling notebooks — "journal as documenter." This poem comes straight out of those pages, with some tweaking done before she read it last Winter at the wonderful Treehouse reading series downtown. In addition to notebooks, she is devoted to her daughter, her spouse, and their business, La Alameda Press.

Ode to Lucky Encounters (journal Crane sightings) © 2009 by CCSB

Tues. AM
4th Batch of Cranes
on execution day in our state.

They hit the city at
around our house
after a long stretch
of bosque.

Lotsa flocks of
almost 30
they turn around a lot here
seeming to be deciding - is
this really where we want to be –
by the city?

Cranes: gray-white,
flat mass of feathers
I so got to see them this early a.m.,
heard their croak directly above me
while bent over tending a potted plant on the porch.
Up my eyes and there only ten feet above our roof,
their flat underbellies gray & white
wings edged with black, sailing small group (of five?)

Swimming through air
gliding through, as in water.
Another croak, deep throated.
Peering through branches to catch sight again -
on farther now and soaring higher.


@ computer – hearing crane’s warble croak for a minute or so
before I go out to search for the flock –

@ first - a sparrow flies overhead
then a kestrel (!)
then a big flock of
grackles –
I still hear the warble croak, tho
and finally see that the big flock
of maybe 30 is doing its
planing / re-grouping / circling thing
to the SW – just past neighbors’
tall cottonwood – all these birds
moving around!


This morning around the same time 9:30 a.m.
that for the past 3 mornings like clockwork
they have come —

Sandhill Crane flocks
huge ones — of a hundred or more
fly right over our home & street & neighborhood

from north to south
from right to left as I head west.
They announce themselves clearly —
warble croak warble croak
or just a low-throated warble alone
and as they get closer their voices
fill the whole long rato of time.

Because we live near the river & the river forest
and there are a few fields left.
That’s why they come by here, right?

But today, just now at this same hour of sun being up for a few hours,
this one huge flock started to do its airstream-grasping dance just west.

It’s like they’re releasing pent up energy cause both their voices & movement leave their fluid streamlined V and begin to wildly fly, getting the kinks out of those hips, flapping, do-si-doing round & round,
no rhyme for a while.
With all these angles & different jerky movements
it reminds me of their diet –
I hope all the crustaceans, arthropods they get to ingest, to dig from the river mud, aren’t too full of chemicals we’ve dumped in the river – hope the grains from grasses they get to eat from the farmers’ fields haven’t been sprayed with round up and HOPE THAT THEY HAVE ENOUGH!
Hope our shared river valley builds the protein they’ll need flying back north next spring.

Because, it seems like a blessing that I get to live here
to be here to walk outside at these moments.
These beings we are privy to
these beings we share this river valley with
these beings who still migrate
THOUSANDS of miles
twice a year in their
age old
bone old
ridge old
rock old
(they are part of the element, in sky & air & soil)
from one roost way down
to the other

These beings part of our earth
part of our heart
that we too
long to


yr size & shape
cause awe

long necks, white feathers & black accents
beauteous forms in our daily life.

--Cirrelda Snider-Bryan

Submissions to The Sunday Poem are always welcome. Email

Views: 85

Comment by Margaret Randall on October 4, 2009 at 10:51am
Cirrelda, this is a terrific poem, and perfect for this time of year. The return of the cranes brings us all something we need. You speak for all of us here!
Comment by ABQSkippy on October 4, 2009 at 11:41am
cc!! Huzzah! I just saw some cranes last weekend and it made my day. You captured my feelings so well.
Comment by Anna Murphy on October 4, 2009 at 3:12pm
Cirrelda, so happy to see your poems featured here. xoxo
Comment by cc on October 4, 2009 at 3:20pm
Have to say your all's comments make me glad! So important to share out the ways we respond to especially Mother Earth, eh? Glad to hear these ring true, we lucky Rio Grande Valley Inhabitants!
Comment by Barelas Babe on October 4, 2009 at 6:43pm
Fabulous imagery, Cirrelda! I could see it all unfolding before my mind's eye (from miles and miles away). Beautiful.
Comment by David Cramer on October 4, 2009 at 9:01pm
What a beautiful poem, Cirrelda. I'll read this one again in a few days when the first ones fly over Placitas.
Comment by Adelita on October 5, 2009 at 6:17am
This is really beautiful. Something about living near the bosque, hearing the sounds of the cranes, seeing them against the clear blue sky of fall, you captured it all.
Comment by cc on October 5, 2009 at 7:34am
Thanks, you all! You know Alice Lindsay Price, the author of Cranes the Noblest Flyers, who lifted off herself end of July, would capitalize each single animal's name in all of her writing. I was very intrigued with that practice, and usually do it, but just now notice I didn't here, with Kestrel, Sparrow, Grackles. It's a simple practice that puts other species on a more level playing field I think.
Comment by cathyray on October 5, 2009 at 6:42pm
I could hear them! (and all of the above).
Comment by Merimee Moffitt on October 5, 2009 at 7:24pm
I like the style, very casual with the cranes as if that's how they are too! I like the poem very much. They haven't been over my house in forever--nicely done.


You need to be a member of Duke City Fix to add comments!

Join Duke City Fix

Connect with Us!

Featured Events in Albuquerque

Big Changes to the Fix!

We're making changes to the Fix! Check in with us for local news stories, events, photos, all the usual DCF stuff, on Facebook and Instagram starting September 1st. Find out more!

© 2017   Created by Duke City Fix.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service