Friday, October 19, 2007

Poetry Friday - For the Birds

I am spending nearly every waking hour finishing a report for work. At home I sit at my husband's desk and gaze out the picture window while typing and thinking. I have a perfect view of the trees, the birdbath, and the feeders. We have been blessed with a multitude of birds this year. I have been amazed by their colors and boldness and cheered by their songs.

These days I'm wondering how much longer they will be with us. While birds are on my mind, I offer up these poems this week.
Bird Watching
by Myra Cohn Livingston
in Flights of Fancy: And Other Poems

Up in the bush is a tiny nest.
That's where the hummingbird likes it best.

Out in the trees the mockingbirds call.
Three build nests just over the wall,

And in the morning, yesterday,
I saw four crows and two blue jays.

These were the birds I counted--ten.
Will ever the same birds come again?

The Painter

by Marilyn Singer
in The Company of Crows: A Book of Poems

You'd think I learned color
   from the cardinal or goldfinch
But no--
   I learned it from the crow.
From the blackest wings
   an unexpected rainbow springs,
A sheen of green, purple, blue.
My art is to reveal each elusive hue.
The crow's art is
   to glow.

If you haven't read it recently, revisit Wallace Steven's Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird.
The round up today is over at Kelly Fineman's place. Please drop by and check out all the great poetry this week. Then, take in some visual poetry and look over the snowflakes highlighted this week in the Blogging for the Cure event. Happy poetry Friday, all!


  1. I love Marilyn Nelson's book, which I read from during school visits earlier this year. And Myra Cohn Livingston's poem. I also love Eileen Spinelli's Feathers and Kristine O'Connell George's Hummingbird's Nest.

  2. Ooh, I really like the Marilyn Singer as well. It reminds me, obliquely, of Ashley Bryan's Beautiful Blackbird.

  3. There's an indoor mall near me where birds always seem to make their way inside. It used to delight my kids to watch them hop around at the food court. I'm sure it wasn't hygenic, but you gotta take your birdwatching where you can find it! I'm glad you have a good view right from your desk.

  4. Wow, that Singer poem is great. Thanks!

  5. Tricia,

    Myra Cohn Livingston was one of the greats of children's poetry. She taught a master class in poetry at UCLA. Many of the best poets writing for children today were her students. Have you read her book I AM WRITING A POEM ABOUT...A GAME OF POETRY? It includes poems written by students in her class--to name a few: Janet Wong, Alice Schertle, Kristine George, and Tony Johnston.

    I'm a fan of Marilyn Singer's poetry, too. I like the poem you selected from A COMPANY OF CROWS.

  6. Thanks for these - liked both! Myra is one of my favorites. I'm a birdwatcher too. Did you know that crows are smart enough to be able to differentiate between people? And they can count!

  7. Hey, my husband's office window has the view of the bird feeder, too! His favorite sighting this summer: a hawk that came and sat on the fence. (Probably was that hawk, and not a cat, that got a dove or two at the feeder earlier in the summer...)

    My office window view? The neighbor's back yard. Sigh. Oh, well. He's the writer all day and I'm mostly at my home computer after dark or before sunrise.