The Bird Word

74707-poetry-friday-logoWherever I go, I watch birds. I spend hours watching birds at home, at the beach, and at the river. I confess, I even watch them while I should be focusing on the road. In fact, I’m amazed that, to date,  I’ve emerged unscathed from majorly bird-distracted driving! At any rate, I’m especially captivated by the daily drama at our feeders, and it frequently distracts me from my work. I often wonder about the birds’ ability to intuit the arrival of a new type of suet or fresh oranges or sunflower seeds. How do they spread the word?  I recently reworked an old poem about this, and thought I’d share the new and hopefully improved version here.

The Bird Word

Do they read a daily flyer
to alert them one and all?
Do they chatter at the back-fence
and report each new windfall?

Do they banter at the birdbath
’bout the tasty treat du jour?
Do they gossip while they’re gorging
at the feeder by the door?

Do the bluejays trade in hearsay,
while the chickadees chitchat?
Is there message to decipher
in woodpecker’s rat-a-tat?

Do the sparrows spread the news?
Each tweet a coded whistle?
Could one chirp mean sunflower seeds
and two long tweets mean thistle?

I suspect they gather nightly
to exchange the feeder news
and to seed their conversations
with their coded birdly clues.

I could sit still and decipher
how the word spreads with such speed
but instead I must go shopping…
I need two more bags of seed!

© Molly Hogan

This week’s Poetry Friday Roundup is hosted by Laura Shovan at her blog. She’s sharing some wonderful student poetry from her recent stint as poet-in-residence.

And because I can’t resist sharing photos….here are a few of some feeder action 🙂

Addendum: Honestly, I just looked outside this morning and saw: a rose breasted grosbeak, a ruby throated hummingbird, several blue jays, a red winged blackbird, a red-bellied woodpecker, a white breasted nuthatch, a mourning dove and a catbird. In one glance! How lucky am I?

29 thoughts on “The Bird Word

  1. Linda KulpTrout says:

    Your poem is delightful! I’m surprised Cricket didn’t grab it, but I’m glad shared it with us today. I especially love the ending!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Amanda Potts says:

    What a fun poem! I love the line “they seed their conversations” – hahaha! Also, the bird photos are incredible. Wish Cricket had taken the poem – I smiled the whole way through & suspect others will, too.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. lindabaie says:

    I don’t feed anymore, but remember well at my other house how many arrived just after I had put out more of ? I must tell you that in the cold winter days I put out peanuts for the squirrels, & they seem to spread the word, too! I love the rhythm of your poem, goes very well with the quick flutter of the birds, Molly.

    Liked by 1 person

    • mbhmaine says:

      It’s amazing how quickly word spreads! I put out peanuts also, but for the jays and the titmice mostly. The squirrels do help themselves though! Even when I’m shaking at my fist at them for robbing the feeders, I’m laughing at their antics.

      Like

  4. Love this Molly. I know an acceptance from Cricket would’ve been nice, but then we probably would’ve had to wait years to read this. My toddler granddaughter is showing lots of interest in birds these days. We watch them and she tries to follow them. It’s renewed my interest in them, and I often wonder what all the chatter is about, too:)

    Liked by 1 person

    • mbhmaine says:

      What a treat to enjoy birds with your granddaughter! In the summer the catbirds start singing (loudly!) at about 4:15 am, right outside my window. I think they feel a responsibility to usher in the day. I’d love a bird translator!

      Like

  5. Kay Mcgriff says:

    Delightful! We don’t have any feeders out at our new home, but we definitely are surrounded by birds–and talkative ones for sure. Rather than sharing news about new treats, they may be alerting each other to the movement of the resident barn cats.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. margaretsmn says:

    I love this poem. The rhyme and rhythm are just right and I can imagine the chit chat and tweeting that happen outside your window. You are indeed blessed. Do you have any special ways to keep the squirrels and raccoons from eating all the seeds?

    Liked by 1 person

    • mbhmaine says:

      The squirrels help themselves and I don’t mind their visits. The raccoons are driving me nuts though! They are bold little thieves and sneak out in daylight hours to steal the suet!

      Like

      • margaretsmn says:

        Raccoons are incredibly bold. My neighbor took a picture of one drinking from my hummingbird feeder in broad daylight.

        Like

  7. This is such a treat! I love your language, Molly. This is both funny and whimsical–thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. jama says:

    LOVE your poem and love birdwatching. We stopped putting out feeders because there are just too many squirrels around here. What an amazing variety of birds you get to see. Lucky you!!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I love your feather-light word play, Molly! I don’t know how they spread the word either, but I’m betting your house has a heck of a good “birdly” reputation. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  10. laurashovan222 says:

    I especially loved the last stanza, Molly. Thank you for sharing these photos of your bird watching! We still remember the year when cardinals nested in the shrub right outside our kitchen window.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Linda Mitchell says:

    That last stanza is so fun. I love how folksy and chummy this poem feels. The beat and the rhythm are just right…..with the photos, of course!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. What a lovely menagerie of birds you’ve woven together in your poem Molly. And then you top that by showing us all the birds you casually saw. Wonderful, thanks for all!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Cricket blew it big time. Do you know about the woman who set a goal of 100 rejections? She tried all sorts of impossible reaches for publications? Eventually she made 127 attempts. 30 some came in. There just may be another home for your poem! Go for it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • mbhmaine says:

      Thanks, Dan! I’m hoping to submit more this summer. It’s an interesting process and I’m still working on fully embracing rejections. 🙂 I think I might start with a more modest goal though. lol

      Liked by 1 person

  14. cweichel says:

    This poem is just delightful. We only feed the birds in the winter, but my granddaughter and I love watching the birds in the tree just outside our living room window.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s