I am tickled that my poem “Noah and the Middle School Marching Band” has been published by the wonderful journal Entropy for their BIRDS series, and it’s accompanied by art by my friend Mary Stebbins Taitt, artist and naturalist. Mary and I met through Cowbird, a site where we both used to publish stories.
UPDATE: Entropy appears to be closed, and the poem is no longer available online. Here is the poem:
Noah and the Middle School Marching Band
It is green and blue and yellow where
I can see out the window
instead of concentrating on the page.
That famous poet chastised me
for putting birds in poems
as if he released them from
their lined and stanzaed cages when
he grew bored with their singing.
But you know what? I’m alone
with my paper and who will care
if I lure them in with my baton-
like pen, parading them into place
two by two like Noah and the
middle school marching band.
It’s not just robins and wrens.
Look at them come. Godwits
and bushtits, catbirds and black-
crested titmice, I tickle their feet
to move them along a little faster.
Come on, coots and loons with
the juncos and cuckoos, the dippers,
the pink-footed shearwaters.
Watch for the yellow legs,
the redstarts, bespeckled ovenbirds.
Quails and rails, pintails and pewees.
Now watch my favorites, most social
of them all, chattery magpies.
Inside my shabby bars, they wobble
on perches I improvise as they arrive.
When I asked Mary if she would like to have one of her pieces accompany my poem, I was amazed at how many birds she had worked on.
Noah is my favorite Bible character.
“Noah and the Dove” by Judith Klausner
MY GOODREADS REVIEW OF A NEW POETRY COLLECTION, Mesmerizingly Sadly Beautiful by Matthew Lippman:
I am writing my feelings and thoughts about Lippman’s new collection while they are still fresh, but when I don’t have time to write a thorough review that does it justice. This is a mesmerizing (and sadly) beautiful book. These poems are the epitome of Lippman’s big-hearted writing. I could imagine him with his big aching heart carried outside his body while he wrote these poems. Nobody creates FEELING from a poem like he does. Feelings of love and sadness are all intertwined here. You can’t have love without sadness and you can’t have sadness without love. Read this book, everyone! This is a book that can save us from our over-thinking and our despair.
I will be taking a blog break for a week or so (therefore, I closed comments here). See you when I return and stay safe, healthy, and calm in the meantime!
Last year a hummingbird built a compact nest on the top of a decorative ornament that hands outside my back door. It features a glass ball set in a copper wire design. She built the nest in May, and being Arizona, it became quite warm and the sun beat down on the little nest. Hubby stapled a board up to protect the nest.
The mother sat diligently on the nest for many weeks, but finally left and never came back. We discovered one unhatched egg in the nest. We took the nest and egg and “shellacked” it and put it in our bookcase as a reminder of the little mother’s persistence.
When she came back and began to build another nest in the same spot this year, hubby and I were concerned. However, she built it in April, not May, and she deposited two eggs, which is the typical number for hummingbirds.
We watched the whole process, and this time we were all blessed. After we could see beaks poking up above the rim of the nest, hubby climbed up on a ladder and took this pic.
I captured the mother feeding babies here:
Then one day their little heads popped up way above the nest, as they awaited food from their mama.
Here is a still pic of mama feeding babies that are her own size:
One morning I got up, checked the nest, and discovered it empty. I was a little sad that they had disappeared without saying goodbye. That’s when I noticed that one of the two birds was still near the nest, that he hadn’t taken flight yet! He was perched on the ornamental wire above the nest, trying to get up his courage to fly for the first time. And guess what I captured with my iPhone? Watch the top of the light colored area in the frame. Be patient; it isn’t very long, but takes a few seconds before I get the right angle.
For a few hours they flew around the area, even coming up to our picture window and looking in (whirring in place) several times. The next day I saw a hummingbird in one of my trees and wondered if it was mama or one of the “babies.”
These guys kept me focused for a few weeks on the miracles.
My new healthy lifestyle is off to a good start. I haven’t had a truffle. I bought a Fitbit. The very first day I walked over 10,200 steps. Here‘s an article about the origins of the 10,000 step goal.
Every year, around this time, a bird attacks a certain window on the back of my house. The first couple of years it was a larger bird, similar to a starling although probably a more mild-mannered species and a bit smaller. Peck peck peck at the windowpane.
I find it very upsetting because I know that birds need to eat all day long–and any bird who spends hours pecking at a pane of glass is not eating enough food. I always run outside with a broom to shoo it away, but it comes back the moment my back is turned. Let’s assume it’s been a different bird every year, but I can’t be sure.
This year a smaller bird is going after the window, but he isn’t just pecking.
What do you think he’s doing? She’s doing?
Somebody told me that the shiny film that “tints” the windows creates a mirror for a bird. He sees himself in the mirror and thinks he is seeing another bird. So are these birds trying to mate with their own reflections? Can’t birds tell when another bird is a male or female? When the bird was just pecking, I figured it was a male thinking he was attacking another male. But this behavior looks a little different. In fact, it almost looks like the bird is trying to jump up to see inside the house!
Before you laugh dismissively, thinking I’m being whimsical, let me tell you that one time, when I was sitting at the computer, a young bunny ran up to the glass door. He stood on his hind legs and peered into the house, very obviously trying to see inside.
I’ve been thinking about this poor bird. Although I keep trying to scare him away, he always comes back, wasting his valuable feeding time. Does he do it because he chooses to do so or is it part of his bird nature?
Will this baby bird grow up to be as silly as the adult birds?
I started to wonder how often I’m like that bird, wasting my precious time on something that doesn’t “feed” me in a nourishing way. All those times I sit there with a numbed brain scrolling through my Facebook home page. That’s a time suck that has to go.