Tag Archives: coyotes

Cold Lang Syne

The coyotes
celebrated New Year’s Eve
down by
the frozen lake.

Their singing
at midnight
woke us
from a deep sleep
snug in our tent
piled high
with bags, blankets, and clothes.

I’ve never heard
so devilish a song
so demented an
Auld Lang Syne.

Just when you feared
they might devour us,

the coyotes drove off
in their red minivan
with the bumper sticker that read
“Eat More Sheep” mjh

Listen to Cold Lang Syne (28 seconds)

Of course, there’s a story to go with this…..

It was 12/31/94. We drove from Albuquerque to San Francisco to visit my brother and sister-in-law. Little did we realize that every federal property would be closed by the Gingrinch that stole Xmas during the first Shutdown.

We drove across the Sierras for the first time, convertible top down, newly patched radiator, heater full blast, snow 6 feet deep on either side of the road. That night we camped in a closed campground in sight of a ski resort across a beautiful lake. We built a nest of clothes, etc. And the coyotes did wake us. Too cold to get paper and pen, I repeated a line over and over in my head, hoping to recall it the next day. mjh

My Virtual Chapbook (table of contents)


A mile or two away
above the timberline
sheep spilled single-file
across a meadow
and pooled at a low point.
“If we can see them,” you asked,
“can’t the coyotes?”

At that moment,
we met the strangers
man and woman —
so familiar
so good looking
so foreign.
I know now
they were really coyotes
having a joke with
how easy it is
to be human.

How do I know?
Perhaps it was
the calm way they looked at us.
Perhaps it was
the way they fell on the currant bush
devouring berries.
Perhaps it was
all the wool they wore. mjh


Listen to Graze (36 seconds)

There may be something fitting in the concurrence of the start of National Poetry Month and April Fool’s Day — something in this poem, as well. This poem is the first I remember writing while camping with Merri, many years ago, along South Mineral Creek, in Colorado. mjh

My Virtual Chapbook (table of contents)


I met a couple
on the breathless trail
to Pueblo Alto.
They were dressed identically
in long-sleeve white shirts
and khaki-colored nylon pants —
oddly well-groomed in a wild place.
They grinned at me
as they approached,
and I thought I heard her say,
"Hello, Mark."
But how? Did I know them?
I asked how they were and she replied,
"Wonderful. How about you?"
She sang her words
like someone unfamiliar
with human speech.
Only then did I recognize them —
coyotes are so clever. mjh


Listen to Songdogs

My Virtual Chapbook (table of contents)