A Cycle of Poems: Bird for Bird

 

Bird for Bird

Some Scottish species and their cousins in America

 

Scotland                                                    America

Tree-speeler                                             Brown Creeper

Spotted Flycatcher                                    Eastern Phoebe

Nuthatch                                                   White-breasted Nuthatch

Corbie                                                       American Raven

Green Woodpecker                                   Northern Flicker

Blue Tit                                                     Chickadee

Wren                                                         Carolina Wren

Tawny Owl                                                Barred Owl

 

Tree-speeler

 

Tree-speeler, hiding,

you curve round the trunk,

put the whole tree between us

 

see

 

                                                            Brown Creeper

 

Spiral up the tree ?

stiff tail-feathers are your props,

your plumage, rough bark

 

see sooo sideeda sidio

 

 

Spotted Flycatcher

 

Flycatchers flick out

over the water,

returning to the same twig

 

tsit-tuk-tuk

 

                                                            Eastern Phoebe

 

On a bending bough,

Eastern Phoebe near her nest,

full of her birdhood

 

fee-be

 

 

Nuthatch

 

Nuthatch, noisy scold,

the nutjobber, mudstopper,

jar bird, woodcracker

 

vivivivivivi

 

 

                                                    White-breasted Nuthatch

 

White-breasted nuthatch

climbs head-first down the tree-trunk ?

black go-faster stripe

 

                                                  tootoo

 

 

Corbie

 

Through the rowsty storm

flee strang, Corbie, hurl on,

turn tapsalteerie

 

kronk      pruk-pruk

 

 

                                                                  American Raven

 

Hear the two ravens

flying high, talking to us?

                                                            American voices

                                                           kraa-krraa-kraa

 

Green Woodpecker

 

The joyous yaffle,

the laughing green woodpecker

alights with the dawn

 

kluh-kluh-klu-klu-klu-klu-klu

 

 

 

                                                                   Northern Flicker

 

A flicker of hope,

gold flag, yellow wing-linings

startle from the tree

 

                                                                  flicka flicka

 

 

Blue Tit

 

Wee blue bonnet,

silver trill among leaves,

loves to party

 

siiih siiih, si-surrrrr

 

 

                                                          Chickadee-dee-dee

 

Flight undulates, tree to tree,

with high clear whistles

so like me

 

                                                         hey-sweetie! hey-sweetie!

 

 

Wren

 

Snow is on the ground:

wrens may be the only birds

singing in the wood

 

chur-r-r    stirrrrr-up

 

 

                                                      Carolina Wren

 

Tropical songsters,

she calls him and he calls her ?

resonating wrens

 

                                                     tea-kettle tea-kettle tea-kettle tea-kettle

 

 

Tawny Owl

 

At dawn and dusk

here you are, right near me,

come to me

 

hoooouh?. ho, ho ho ho hoooouh

 

 

                                            Barred Owl

 

Just a few night hours

when cackling laughter startles,

calls from the maples

 

who-cooks-for-you, who-cooks for-you-alllllll?

unpublished poem, ? Valerie Gillies 2017, used by permission of the author

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