Member Blogs > Words In The Wind

  • Sat, 20 Jul 2013 11:42:15    Permalink

    About the Birds: Poetry Month and Earth Day
    Since I seem to be derelict (or busy) regarding this blog, and considering that April is National Poetry Month here in the USA, perhaps it is time to share a few of my poems. And since it is also Earth Day, poems about wild birds seems appropriate.  
    Please note that these poems are all copyright in my name.  
    My young neighbor, years ago, was passionate about raptors and had permissions from National authorities to hold and treat wild species. At any given time you might find Golden Eagles, Bald Eagles, Red-tailed Hawks, and other birds of prey in his aviaries. Cornell flew experts out to perform surgeries in extreme cases. And sometimes he worked with local wildlife vets to rehabilitate some wild birds. He once stopped by my place to show me a pygmy owl that had bumped into a car windshield that he was asked to treat and was transporting to his home up the hill. It recovered quickly, mostly from shock. The heron he tried to save didnt make it, but I watched while he made the attempt to force-feed it. (He has since become a nationally recognized wild bird specialist with Dr. in front of his name.)

    Feeding the Heron I remember how my neighbors boytried to save the blue heron --   damaged, starving entrustedto his care; how he trussed its wingsagainst the bulky body, then forcedthat long sharp bill apartto dribble in warm brandywhile his dark and gentle handstroked the slender throat from pharynx to crop. You dontdare move your eyes, he said, then told how the stiletto beak would strike in an instantat a moist eyes flashas though it were a minnow under water.

    Watching a documentary on Bald Eagles, the first flight of a fledgling captured my heart.  
                                                            She Soars 
                                                      the eaglet                                                  born                                                  to fly                                                  has never                                                  flown before         
                                                      her knotty                                                  feet                                                  cling                                                  to the aerie                                                  the first                                                   time                                                  she must                                                  get it                                                   right
                                                       a half-                                                  mile down                                                  the earth                                                  is bright                                                  in her                                                   youthful eye                                                  she lifts                                                  her wings                                                  feels
                                                      insistent wind                                                   suck                                                  seductive 

                                                      she shifts                                                  her feet                                                  the untried                                                  wings                                                  vibrate                                                  hesitate                                                  paper kites
                                                      updrafts surge                                                  she cups                                                  the wind                                                  presses it                                                   against her body                                                  feels                                                  it squirt                                                  away
                                                      she captures                                                  air                                                      masters                                                  flight                                                  that suddenly         
                                                      released                                                   from earth                                                  she soars                                                  brilliant                                                  light                                                   limns                                                  her head                                                  her back                                                  strikes                                                   fire in her                                                  golden eye 
                                                      she soars                                                  she soars
                                                      oh for                                                  those wings                                                  those wings                                                  that air                                                  that light                                             
    A Few Words and a Poem About Starlings 
    Starlings are not native to North America. They were introduced in 1890-91 by the American Acclimatization Society (for questionable reasons). The chairman at the time, Eugene Shieffelin, supposedly decided that all birds mentioned by Shakespeare should be included. 100 starlings were released in Central Park, Manhattan. Since then they have multiplied and spread across the country from coast to coast. Social birds, they frequently roost in the tens of thousands, creating noise and coating everything below with droppings. They also destroy the eggs or consume the resources of native birds, contributing to the decline of native species.  
    Related to the Mynah birds of Asia, they are terrific mimics and are even being studied in attempts to discover the evolution of language.  
    No matter how people feel about them, few fail to respond with awe to a flocking phenomenon known as murmuration. There are a number of videos on UTube showing these awesome group flights. One observer claims that after watching dozens of these performances, he has yet to see a collision.

    Murmurations occur mostly in winter, before pairing off begins. As mating season approaches, the beaks turn bright yellow.
                                                         STARLING PERSPECTIVES 
    Starlings are mathematiciansof a different dimension.They accept no straight lines:all things are approached obliquely.
    What appears from here to be a crust of bread may be, from a different angle,a stone, a cat, an old shoefilled to its rim by a foot. 
    You can't take anything for granted(if you're a starling.)  Given the gift of song, there is still needto experiment with whistles, beeps,the cheeping of a chick,                                    screech of rusty door hinge,
    a cat's betrayed meow. 
    Flight is a matter of angles,of reversed decisionsmade in attitudes of air.For one bird to falterin this erratic rhythmwould spell disaster for the flock.
    Imagine the collision:yellow-beaked birdsfalling for weeks like rain.

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