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, hiding,

you curve round the trunk,

put the whole tree between us




                                                            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




                                                            Eastern Phoebe


On a bending bough,

Eastern Phoebe near her nest,

full of her birdhood







Nuthatch, noisy scold,

the nutjobber, mudstopper,

jar bird, woodcracker





                                                    White-breasted Nuthatch


White-breasted nuthatch

climbs head-first down the tree-trunk ?

black go-faster stripe







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



Green Woodpecker


The joyous yaffle,

the laughing green woodpecker

alights with the dawn






                                                                   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





Flight undulates, tree to tree,

with high clear whistles

so like me


                                                         hey-sweetie! hey-sweetie!





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.

Valerie Gillies in the Poetry Store

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