Kenneth Howard Doerr

The Great Rule of Probability

“Though there is no such thing as chance in the world, our ignorance of the cause of any event has influence on the understanding and begets a like species of belief” David Hume

“In things which sense cannot discover, analogy is the great rule of probability” John Locke

Elision Choriambics

Greeks had signs for the wet leaving: the wind falling and Virgo’s rise.
California has fire towers, and fire-danger alarms on apps.

Hot and brown that we call golden, the hills speckled with living oaks.
Bullock’s Orioles chase skyward a black hummingbird, hording food.
Back to bathe in a bowl; sprinkle a wing, cool to a drinking song.
Cat unsprings on a bird feeder and smacks glass that he would was air.
Western Tanager lifts, startled and trills. Comedy never ends.

Winter will smell of rain, birthing the vines, fogging the vintage plain.
Lincoln’s Sparrow arrives hungry and starts singing a begging song
flown on radar from cold snow to our mild drizzle, she rents the ground.
Cedar Waxwing, one last berry to fetch, snatched from behind a dog.

Pushed together, our two seasons inflect nature’s four-quarter time.
Some then stay for the whole year in our calm climate’s unsubtle sky.
Lacking zugunruhe, these linger without liminal need to stray.
Birds that live here for both seasons, like woodpeckers, and purple finch,
strong-willed homesteader birds, sparring with pets, around a garden fence.

Kenneth Howard Doerr is a native of St. Louis, Missouri, but has lived in six states and three countries. For the last 20 years, he's lived in Central California, where he hikes in the mountains whenever they are not on fire, and teaches classes in Risk Management and Collaborative Problem Solving at a small college in Monterey.
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