Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Light Verse for the Birds

I've been observing starlings for quite some time. Maybe you've seen them; they often lift off from the ground and take off in a great cloud of hundreds, and the cloud then undulates in what seems to be a coordinated way. This take-off and the undulating cloud are especially startling and pleasing at dusk. The phenomena are quite something to watch.

A book on birds I have describes starlings as "garrulous." I think they can be pretty aggressive around other birds, although I doubt crows or eagles take them seriously. A side note: the fictional detective and gourmand Nero Wolfe likes to have his chef, Fritz, prepare a meal of roasted starlings. Yikes. I have not dined on starlings. Nor do I know anyone non-fictional who has done so. Anyway, pictured here is a starling. I've always appreciated the speckling and the deeply yellow beak.

And here, for a bit of a glum Tuesday, is some light verse regarding birds, a poem I hope will lighten your load if you've had a tough day, as the cashier at the local supermarket did in fact have; she told me 4 people had called in sick, and at the late hour of 6:00 p.m., she hadn't yet had a lunch-break. So a special tip of the cap goes out to working folk, especially those who've been on their feet all day.

For the Birds

Here's to starlings
who travel in clouds,
and unsubtle ravens,
who caw in louds.

Here's to robins,
who run-and-then-stop,
and jays climbing trees
hop by hop.

Here's to songbirds,
sharp and small.
Hell, here's to birds--
let's toast them all,

including extinct ones,
an awful loss,
moreso because the cause
was likely us.

But let's not end there.
It's too sad.
Think of your favorite bird.
Be glad.

Hans Ostrom 2008 Hans Ostrom
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