Phil S. Rogers captured these photos of a roadrunner seeking relief in his sprinkler during drought-like conditions in Texas. Phil’s ekphrastic poem is below. Add yours in the comments.


A Summer Shower

One hundred four degrees today,
__Texas is parched and charred,
a lack of rain has baked the earth;
__the soil is dry and scarred.
Swiftly running through dead grass,
__yet wary, high on guard,
a sweltering road runner spies
__the dripping wet Swiss chard.

As spinning sprays of water pepper
__the thirsty, aching ground,
he spreads his wings in ecstasy,
__a miracle newfound.
Slowly he moves his head and seeks
__his enemy renowned,
but there’s no Wile E. Coyote,
__that dude, cannot be found.


Post yours in the comments below.


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33 Responses

  1. Nancy Brady

    Enjoyed your poem and the photos. When I was young (first grader), my parents were taking a short vacation out west, including the Grand Canyon. Having seen the cartoon, I asked if they could bring me back a roadrunner.

    heat wave…
    a roadrunner bathes
    in a sprinkler’s spray
    ~Nancy Brady, 2023

    • Phil S. Rogers

      Thank you, Nancy. After moving to Texas, I was really surprised that some friends back in New England thought a road runner was not real, only a cartoon character.

      • Nancy Brady

        Really? Wow! I know roadrunners don’t look like the cartoon variety (beep! beep!), but I knew way-back-when they were real.

  2. Gigi Ryan

    Dry with Envy

    Who does he think he is?
    That pompous looking bird,
    Flapping in his bliss,
    And cooing to be heard.

    Has he no respect
    For those of us next door,
    Whose owner with neglect
    Has kept us water poor.

    If only I could fly
    I’d join that happy chap,
    Although my branches high
    Could not like birdie lap.

    Yes, it’s true, I am
    A “drought resistant” Oak;
    I tell you it’s a sham –
    No moisture makes you croak!

    I give my owner shade,
    But nothing in return
    Does he give to me,
    So I am left to burn.

    Meanwhile over there
    Onto a lifeless stump
    Water overflows –
    You lucky little chump!

    • Phil S. Rogers

      Thank you Gigi for your cute poem. It so happens that there is a large oak tree on either side of my wife’s little garden, so your message is on target.

  3. Julian D. Woodruff

    The Roadrunner’s Two Cents Worth

    You humans think we’re always on the run,
    That guys like me do nothing but make tracks.
    You can’t conceive that we might pause for fun,
    Put off the daily grind, and just relax?

    Well, think again, my fine, unfeathered friends:
    Would you not give all due consideration
    To the advantages such dividends
    As this you see provides? My observation

    Is that you would, and do. You throw your cash
    Around, in point of fact, as if to say,
    “Get me that pool, that sauna. Here’s my stash
    For my four–week vacation, by the way.”

    You’d pay your bills (or not), then be long gone.
    Just don’t forget to leave that sprinkler on.

  4. Phil S. Rogers

    From the perspective of the road runner, thank you, Julian. Unfortunately, these guys will have to bath on my schedule, or I could not afford the water bill. They do have a bird bath available, let’s call it a sauna in this summer’s heat, but they love the sprinkler.

  5. John R. Boname

    The Butterfly

    The butterfly, you will agree,
    Should be renamed by you and me.
    Though it does fly, ’tis not of butter;
    The flutterby would be much better.

    • Phil S. Rogers

      Good Morning John; I had to look up the origin of the word butterfly after reading your poem, and found there are many different explanations going all the way back to ancient Greece. A learning experience. Thank You.

  6. Susan Jarvis Bryant

    The Coolest Roadrunner in Texas

    As backyards blister in the jaws of heat
    As cats sag limp and listless in the boil
    As hope is sucked from cracked and dusty soil
    And grackles flock and shriek in the mesquite,
    I see you perch and stretch to catch a burst
    Of bliss that splashes from the garden hose.
    I watch you in a fancy-feather pose;
    A wing-flexed drench to quench your fevered thirst –
    An aqueous fan and flutter of delight
    A dance to fire the ire of wily curs
    A water-lauding spectacle that stirs
    The growl of a coyote’s appetite –
    O beep-beep, crested cuckoo of the screen
    I’m basking in your preen-and-shower scene.

    • Phil S. Rogers


      Thank you for your cute little poem. You have experienced this summer’s heat here in Texas. Really love your last two lines;
      ‘O beep-beep, crested cuckoo of the screen
      I’m basking in your preen- and -shower scene.’

  7. Anissa Nedzel Gage: Purrsanthema

    What a delightful morning you’ve made with this ! It’ll give me smiles for hours !

      • Anissa Nedzel Gage: Purrsanthema

        You’re very welcome ! Those photographs too are a delight ! They’re beautiful !

  8. Roy Eugene Peterson

    By Roy E. Peterson (September 17, 2023)

    Wile E. Coyote had all that he could take.
    He had chased Roadrunner across an arid lake.
    He was awful thirsty and he had burning feet.
    He had lost once again in their two-way track meet.
    While Wile dragged his tail across the last one-third,
    Riley the roadrunner was now a happy bird
    For he had found a sprinkler wetting some Swiss chard.
    He opened his wings and drank letting down his guard.
    The last he’d seen of Wile three more days had passed.
    That is when the skies finally were overcast.
    While Wile was crawling, the lake then turned to mud.
    Poor Wile was caught up in a massive Texas flood.
    When Wile floated to shore, roadrunner had fled.
    He learned never to race across a dry lakebed.

  9. Roy Eugene Peterson

    Phil, I had a two-line postscripts for this, but decided not to add it.
    The moral of the story? Texas will fool you!
    If you don’t pay attention to the things you do.

    • Phil S. Rogers

      Yes, absolutely true. Our weather, especially, can change dramatically in very
      short order.

  10. Shamik Banerjee

    This is indeed a beautiful poem. Thank you so much, Phil, for your wonderful craft.

    Here’s my Sonnet on this:

    A Spirit Bath

    Since June, upon my small villatic land,
    The Sun has been upholding its harsh reign,
    Thereby depriving us of saving rain,
    And brown rice on the paddies widely spanned;
    But far away, a bird, wings fully fanned,
    Has found and perched atop a blessed domain
    Whose cooling jet has slaked its parched-up vein,
    And feathers caused by summertime’s command—
    O’ far-off bird, if only you could see
    How overjoyed your picture’s rendered me,
    (Although my flesh is ever duty-bound
    On droughty croplands struck by famine’s wrath)
    By transferring a spiritual bath
    To India from your own Texan ground.

    • Phil S. Rogers


      Thank you for your nice comment, and for your lovely poem. It seems you have also been the victim of drought and heat this year. Hoping a change of seasons may bring you some needed relief.

      • Shamik Banerjee

        I am glad you like my poem, Phil. Thank you so much. Yes, this year’s summer has touched the highest ever temperature, and we are hoping for some relief. Thank you once again for your beautiful poem and appreciation. I wish you well.

  11. Linda Alice Fowler

    Thank you for the visual Mr Rogers! Linda

    Roadrunner – Nonet

    Rascally roadrunner in the sun
    finding grasshoppers on the run
    feed your babies high protein
    build a nest off the ground
    in my two live oaks
    run up and down
    smiling clown

    the heat
    gets too much
    and drinks are few
    and baths fewer still
    find the nearest sprinkler
    a thoughtful human neighbor
    has turned on specially for you
    repay kindness with showy gusto

  12. Paul A. Freeman

    Road Runner in Texas Limerick

    The Road Runner can’t get to sleep;
    It’s hotter than Hell, but he’ll keep
    his head in the sand
    because it is banned
    to say ‘global warming’. Beep! Beep!

    • Mike Bryant

      Global warming is ok to say.
      Believe, then get ready to pay.
      The fake so-called science
      Demands your compliance,
      So Roadrunner, NO SPRAY TODAY!!!

      • Phil S. Rogers

        Sorry Brian, I scrolled down too far. I thank you for your poem, and there is no spray today as we are expecting some rain this afternoon.

  13. Maureen Philbrook

    I bow my head in gratitude
    As the water cools me down
    Enjoying this peaceful soaking
    With nobody else around
    I spread my wings in happiness
    Escaping the Texas heat
    Cooling off on the hottest days
    From my head down to my feet
    I’m enjoying each precious moment
    As the water’s gift I treasure
    Extending my most gracious thanks
    To Phil for this utmost pleasure… by Maureen Philbrook


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