by Ustaz Fitrah
(Whitby, Yorkshire, United Kingdom)
Bolding about the freshly turned garden, Drilling at worm and centipede, Picking over hand raked soil, Unruffled in your clock hopping quest for invisible sun-seed.
We eye each other from a distance that closes as the shadows crawl; In no time you are about my ankles, darting in at the very turning of the fork.
Once before When you were too trusting, The trickster wolf was on you, Gripped your thorny legs with moonish fangs, And spun you Breast first Into the iron-red sun. Remember your shrieking At that mythic branding hiss of pain?
The distant memory of furnaced cruelty erupts around us now as this earth breaks into the trilling ‘tic-tac-twicker’ of your enduring blossom song.
Goodbye, goodbye to Summer! For Summer's nearly done; The garden smiling faintly, Cool breezes in the sun; Our Thrushes now are silent, Our Swallows flown away- But Robin's here, in coat of brown, With ruddy breast-knot gay. Robin, Robin Redbreast, O Robin dear! Robing singing sweetly In the falling of the year.
Bright yellow, red, and orange, The leaves come down in hosts; The trees are Indian Princes, But soon they'll turn to Ghosts; The leathery pears and apples Hang russet on the bough, It's Autumn, Autumn, Autumn late, "Twill soon be winter now. Robin, Robin Redbreast, O Robin dear! And what will this poor Robin do? For pinching days are near.
The fireside for the Cricket, The wheatsack for the Mouse, When trembling night-winds whistle And moan all round the house; The frosty ways like iron, The branches plumed with snow- Alas! in Winter, dead, and dark, Where can poor Robin go? Robin, Robin Redbreast, O Robin dear! And a crumb of bread for Robin, His little heart to cheer.
I watched a bird in flight And thought, a marvelous thing Are wings; The same dear bird Put on a show, Did several loops And then a bow (All for me I know)—
On thermal high I rose; Stretched out my arms And followed— Such a sight to see If someone watching A heavy bird in flannel-shirt, On tipsy-toes—aflutter—looping in earth (I put on a show, Just for fun you know)—
A million birds come by our house to sleep through every night Then they wake up and fly back out by clusters when its light First there were a few, then several, a hundred, even more Then we saw a thousand, then ten thousand from our door!
They whoosh by in the wind like leaves in the Fall They group so thickly it seems sometimes they form a wall They dive, they plunge, they flit, they soar They just keep coming, more and more!
Swirling like tornadoes downward A thousand fly as one Forming shapes and ever changing We hope the show is never done!
“Black Sky!” You’ll often hear us yell As we run out to greet them “Holy Moley! Check it out!” We shout as we look up to meet them!
The birds they play their games, you see They take turns gathering in each tree Then in a flash hundreds of thousands flee Their wings blow boisterous gusts past me
In the summer we can’t hear them Cause the locusts are so deafening When a storm is in the air The speed at which they come seems threatening
They criss cross in the sky producing patterns that they show us They flitter passing by making their chatter like they know us They save their poop for other spots and rarely make a mess They grow in numbers by the day; we’re thrilled they are not less
The neighbors seem oblivious as they walk or ride on past We point and yell and show them, yet they have their at-hand task I’ve written to bird watchers and emailed lots of friends I’ve called organizations that to nature their staff tends
We’ve even had some visitors to come and watch the show But every night it’s different and the numbers always grow So we feel very blessed to be the audience of these Birds of the air so light and fair - a gift inside the breeze
Mad as a wet hen, a little bird told me, "It's a fowl thing for poems that reference us to be as scarce as hen's teeth and it would be a feather in your cap, a splendid thing... yes...
to crow about, and you'd be sitting in the catbird seat, killing two birds with just one stone if, like the early bird that catches the larva tastier than worms you too were a lone bird not like those of a feather that flock together; so eagle-eyed, missing nothing, like an owl not giving a hoot, you'd swallow two. One swallow does not a summer make, unlike
two or four or more, as lame ducks may suppose. "Little bird," I said, looking like the cat that swallowed the canary, as bird-brained as schmoes, for calling it small. A feather in its hat,
to birdies that don't get caught like sitting ducks. A larva in claw is worth two in debouche. "In the open" it means, instructive, dumb clucks: "Don't bumble or tumble into booze or hootch."
Parrots are a funny bunch − They often curse and swear − You really cannot take them out to lunch When your grandmamma is there.
They like to stride atop a cage, Much as a soldier might, Then hang upside down from the top railing − Oh my, what a sight!
They’ll sample many a tasty morsel Proffered with anxious hand, Then shy away from the very next damsel Who flashes a wedding band.
Never try to shut them up, Or tell them “Stop it!” – that’s rude – They’ll chatter away at you non-stop, Just as a parakeet should.
But do not blame them for their foibles, For they are sourced in us. If only we’d leave them back in the trees – Or, at least, allow them to do as they please – Rather than force them into a cage Against which both beast and bird may rage, They could remain as the good Lord intended And not become one of us, appended.
Birdsong slices through the air. It chirps and tweets without a care. Robins yell their too-loud call, During their song, sparrows sing for all. Some other birds join in with tweets. Other birds, like chickadees. Nightfall nears. Chirps fade away. Getting rest. They've sung for today.