Thursday, February 15, 2007


The grackles came this spring.
Teeming beaks and patience,
they crowed a soffit slat,
colonized the attic,
filled the lofty silence
with a colloquy of wings.

Rats the size of dogs
in a slick imitation
of birdy pursuits and evasions,
quietless dialogues
of epithalamium.

In the night of the second day
they found the autoharp’s
forgotten hiding place,
unhinged the mildewed case,
mixed their flats and sharps
as the dampers fell away.

It’s a constant concert now.
The virtuosi queue
to charm the company,
feathering delicately
the strings above new,
crooing tremolos,

and for their artistry
receive a racket of spikes
pulled from rusty beams,
chalk on slate, scream
of worn out brakes.
Enough, apparently.

A sulphur candle sends
them somewhere else to let
their psittacosis fall.
Now we listen at the walls,
probe this novel quiet
that sings as it descends.


Minx said...

Oh, this cacophany is so familiar, plagued as we are with nests the size of treehouses in the spring.
That last line summed up the feeling that I had never thought about before - the utter relief of quiet when they leave!
This morning I was woken by blackbirds for the first time this year - spring is on the way.

Debi said...

I want to hear them!

John said...

Not here--not soon, anyway. Where's global warming when you need it?

Debi--still not hearing? I'd be totally batshit bonkers by now. I can only admire your sanity, admirably demonstrated yesterday on your blog...

Minx said...

Sanity, eh?

John said...


Minx said...

What kind of a word is 'thingy' for a poet to use. No, don't answer, it's probably got some kind of highly technical, American usage that I have yet to discover. Or are you trying to start a word association game and I missed the point completely?
No, no, got it! You forgot me name didn't you? Forgiven.

Debi said...

Sanity? That's a lie! I deny it completely ... Not even sanitary ...

Now excuse me - we're off to Brighton to stay the night. Lost one ear when we were there at Xmas and hoping to see if it's still lying around ...

Cailleach said...

There's a lovely mix of the sounds of the actual birds with these really unusual words with terrific sounds.
This poem would be great read out loud with relish, and not the stuff that comes out of jars!

Cailleach said...

I was wondering what yiz were on about... I geddit now, I think!

Atyllah said...

a collquy of wings.... lovely!

Sat outside yesterday... the redwing starlings jabbering, singing, chirruping in the flowering gum and thought, hmm-mmm, so blessed am I to listen in.