In thinking about birds today, I'm sharing snippets of poems in a form borrowed from Wallace Stevens. You'll recognize it as Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird.
Thirteen Ways of Looking at Birds
A thrush is thrilling as I write
Its obligato of delight;
And in its fervour, as in mine,
I fathom tenderness divine,
And pity those of earthy ear
Who cannot hear . . . who cannot hear.
From Why Do Birds Sing? by Robert W. Service
A bird sang sweet and strong
In the top of the highest tree,
He said, "I pour out my heart in song
For the summer that soon shall be."
From Spring Song by George William Curtis
Three lovely notes he whistled, too soft to be heard
If others sang; but others never sang
In the great beech-wood all that May and June.
No one saw him: I alone could hear him
From The Unknown Bird by Edward Thomas
The free bird thinks of another breeze
and the trade winds soft through the sighing trees
and the fat worms waiting on a dawn bright lawn
and he names the sky his own
From Caged Bird by Maya Angelou
A lone gray bird,
Alone in the shadows and grandeurs and tumults
Of night and the sea
And the stars and storms.
From From the Shore by Carl Sandburg
A bird came down the walk:
He did not know I saw;
He bit an angle-worm in halves
And ate the fellow, raw.
From Part Two: Nature, XXIII by Emily Dickinson
I wonder if God's helper on that fifth day—
making all the birds of air—
was so new to the business of creation,
he approached it with little care.
From Creation of the Marbled Godwit by Jane Yolen
in Birds of a Feather, poems by Jane Yolen and photographs by Jason Stemple
In the sedge a tiny song
Wells and thrills the whole day long
In my heart another bird
Has its music heard.
From A Warbler by Walter de la Mare
in Rhymes and Verses: Collected Poems for Young People, written by Walter de la Mare and illustrated by Elinore Blaisdell
A bird is a bird as long as it is
there. Then it is a miracle our crumbs and
sunflower seeds caught and let go.
From Bird Watching by John Ciardi
in The Collected Poems of John Ciardi, collected by Edward M. Cifelli and written by John Ciardi
I gave much credence to stragglers,
overrated the composure of blackbirds
and the folklore of magpies.
From Drifting Off by Seamus Heaney
in Opened Ground: Selected Poems, 1966-1996, written by Seamus Heaney
The birds are heading south,
instinct is the oldest story.
They fly over their doubles,
the mute weathervanes,
teaching all of us
with their tailfeathers
the true north.
From The Birds by Linda Pastan
From dawn to dusk in darkling air
we glean and gulp and pluck and snare,
then find a roost that's snug and tight
to brave the long and frozen night.
From Chickadee's Song by Joyce Sidman
in Winter Bees & Other Poems of the Cold, written by Joyce Sidman and illustrated by Rick Allen
Now close the windows and hush all the fields;
If the trees must, let them silently toss;
No bird is singing now, and if there is,
Be it my loss.
From Now Close the Windows by Robert Frost
John Muir Laws has some terrific resources for drawing from nature. Check out the Drawing Birds Tutorial. (Teachers can download a high resolution PDF for use in their classrooms.)
I've written about birds and poetry before. Check out A is for Avian, a post from my 2013 National Poetry Month Project.
That's it for today. I hope you'll join me tomorrow for our next celebration.