Saturday, March 21, 2015


This poem from around six years ago first appeared in the literary magazine COURT GREEN and is in my latest book, SWING THEORY, out any day from Hanging Loose Press:


Thank you for your example.

And for eating pesky insects,

and making incessant music

everywhere, like the crow

that woke me my first morning

in Tokyo, with a caw that

sounded strange, as though

in another language than

the ones I knew back home.

I mean the ducks of you, how

do you float on wet feathers?!

The genius of your oily ducts

and webbed feet! And geese,

despite the mess you make

especially now that flying South

is no longer necessary,

you still appear majestic

in your realm, and cranes

and egrets and swans in

dirty polluted pools of

Jersey wasteland. The miracle

of you, and pigeons, so

despised, I still admire

for your tenacity and survival

skills and unique beauty,

the ways you snap your heads

from side to side as if by

some other rhythm than the

ones I know, but most of all you

little ones, sparrows and

finches and wrens and the rest,

and those big among the

small, you Robin Red Breasts,

so proud and independent,

and astonishing Cardinals

and admonishing Blue Jays.

(I just learned from my fourth-

grade son’s science project

hummingbirds are actually

aggressive too, like you!)  You

constantly amaze and surprise

me with new facts, oh birds,

which never contradict the in-

spiration of your ability to float

on breezes and make the wind

your world. Ah birds, don’t

let us diminish your variety

with our greed and lack of

a united will. Keep using the

sky for your canvas, making

art that never ceases to

engage the child in us.


Bob said...

It's so nice to wake up in the morning with a cup of coffee and read a good and pleasing poem such as this one.

Congratulations on your forthcoming collection, especially from such a good press as Hanging Loose.

I wrote a poem several years ago that has the first lines: "When I was 5 yrs. old, /I talked with birds." Which is true. I'd sit at my 2nd floor bedroom window and try to mimic all the bird calls and the birds would seem to answer back. I still seem to have this habit so I particularly enjoyed your thank you to our feathered friends.

tpw said...

A song to spring! I really like this poem, as you know. Didn't realize till now, however, that you mention the ducks' ducts. Good one.

Lally said...

thanks bob and glad you noticed tpw

AlamedaTom said...

I love birds so of course I love your poem. Sweet. Hey, for some reason I never knew you visited Tokyo. Tell us about it.

~ Willy