Clearly, there are a lot of bird poems flying around out there, and many of them can be found perched on the branches of anthologies. But this assemblage offers a fresh approach. By matching a rich set of poems about birds with illustrations by the illustrious David Allen Sibley, we have provided the reader in one volume with pleasures that are literary, pictorial, and scientific.
I've selected a poem by Lisa Williams, about a bird, the grackle, that I've seen less and less over the past few years. (The one we see in our area is the Common Grackle, and, yes, New Hampshire Fish and Game does show a slight decrease in their population.)
They were not one body. Yet they seemed
held together by some order, their thick necks
flickering with a blue-black iridescence,
their yellow-circled pupils bright and cold.
In a wave of differences that passed
low over the surface of my yard,
they picked it clean of morning's fritillaries
and other summer gestures fall discards
then settled on the hill behind the fence
for several teeming minutes to remark
its tapestry, each razored beak, each tail
parting Sunday's gray air like a spear.
I could tell you how they gathered up
the darkness of my winter thought that day
in mid-September, bundled it, black-ribboned,
into sleek coats and lifted it from me
just as you have imagined. But this
would be a lie. I watched them comb the fields
with interest, and, when their beaks' clicks had died,
turned back to what I was.
Michelle is hosting the Poetry Friday Round-Up at Today's Little Ditty.