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2013 November PAD Chapbook Challenge: Day 28

Categories: November PAD Chapbook Challenge 2013, Poetry Prompts, Robert Lee Brewer's Poetic Asides Blog, What's New.

For those of you living in the States, Happy Thanksgiving! For those of you living outside the States, Happy Thanksgiving! I am thankful for everyone who’s been poeming along this month, whether in the comments below or silently at home (I see you standing over there in the corner). Thank you!

For today’s prompt, write a bird poem. Pick a bird, any bird, and write a poem about it. Or just write a poem that happens to have a bird somewhere in it. Or, well, you know the drill by now–use your imagination!

Here’s my attempt at a Bird Poem:


The thing about a balloon
is that it doesn’t last. No

matter how much joy it brings
there’s the inevitable

pop, or slow letting loose of
helium, or that moment

when it breaks free of its string
and lifts away like magic.

But then, it returns, a new
balloon. Once blue, now it’s red

or yellow–the color not
as important as that quick

rush of feeling, forgetting
what is inevitable.


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Robert Lee Brewer

Robert Lee Brewer

Robert Lee Brewer is Senior Content Editor of the Writer’s Digest Writing Community and author of Solving the World’s Problems. He edits the Poet’s Market book, writes a poetry column for Writer’s Digest magazine, and speaks around the country on publishing and poetry-related topics. He’s married to the poet Tammy Foster Brewer, who helps him keep track of their five little poets (four boys and one princess). Follow him on Twitter @robertleebrewer.


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About Robert Lee Brewer

Senior Content Editor, Writer's Digest Community.

243 Responses to 2013 November PAD Chapbook Challenge: Day 28

  1. Birds and bees

    He bumbled and buzzed
    staggering across the bar
    toward the woman
    with feathers
    in her hair

    flitted and flirted
    from one end of the room
    to the other with such
    staggering grace
    he could not

  2. seingraham says:


    Where are you my faithful friends?
    Everyone says you’re just common
    house sparrows, just plain brown
    birds that fill the hedge outside
    my window with your fat feathery

    But you are also steadfast and brave;
    you stay hunkered down, puffed out
    for warmth, hiding from the heaviest
    snows – you are still in the hedge, but
    far inside
    As close to the main part of the bush
    as you can get, you are generating
    what little heat you can, lowering
    your heart-rate too, I suspect

    I imagine I can hear them, your little
    hearts, thump-thump-thumping,
    keeping time with winter’s
    harsh metronome
    Dosing in the white-out that is daytime,
    sleeping long and deeply through
    each cold, dark night

    Do you store each note of springtime
    music somewhere within
    your downy chests
    I like to think you do and picture
    them all stacked in there
    just waiting for the sun to warm
    you through and through
    Then, like popcorn, they’ll explode
    out your wee beaks and this
    icy season will be a thing of old.

  3. Yolee says:

    Bread, Land & Double Edge Freedom

    When in his teenage years, Papi had to flee to the mountains
    to escape the hammer of his father’s wrath. He survived off
    the land’s rich produce and generous banana leaves to blanket
    nights, cold by air and by the loneliness under its trench coat.
    Encouragement came by way of jibaro songs. Like the painted
    bunting, he sang alone as independence stacked jagged stones
    from which he would stand or take cover.

  4. Domino says:


    Light as a feather,
    small and urgent and quick,
    lithe and happy.
    everyone called her Birdie.
    She would be up and down
    at the dinner table,
    pecking a few bites,
    then up to fetch something
    or run to the other room
    or flit from one person to the next
    making sure everyone had
    what they needed.
    Speaking in twitters
    and cheeps,
    caring diligently for her young,
    the name was fitting.

  5. DanielAri says:

    “Learning how to ask”

    Learning how to ask is like chasing birds
    into an annoyed chaos of flapping,
    a chorus of pigeons who cut looping
    infinities aroundandarounding
    until they transform into anchovies.

    Learning how to ask is like sculpting smoke:
    you forget what figure you were trying
    to form; then a stray tickling wisp chokes you
    and you cough–and the sculpture sings away
    as quick as finches–and just as fast you’re

    happy to be hapless, with not a thing
    but your face to show, which is disarming
    how earnest your face goes when you’re asking
    waves to speak in words, the wind to make rhymes
    and blow in a semblance of answering.

    Learning to ask is like tending a farm
    where pumpkins become flamingos–and dance!


  6. Day 28
    Prompt: Write a bird poem.

    Red-Tailed Hawk

    You appear free,
    loosed from earthly bonds,
    able to soar, to dip, to surveil
    from treetop lookout.

    What if your reality resides
    lonely, too proud for companionship,
    joined only to your solo self,
    filled with power,
    lacking love?

  7. RJ Clarken says:

    Solo Flight

    “If I could come back as anything – I’d be a bird, first, but definitely the command key is my second choice.” ~Nikki Giovanni

    of a
    feather don’t
    always flock together. Sometimes, one bird
    will take command of its own destiny,
    and fly off
    on its


  8. RJ Clarken says:

    A Billet Doux is a Message with Wings

    bird told me
    you were sweet on someone, and that someone
    was me. I suppose that is why some birds
    are known as


  9. bjzeimer says:

    Outside my window
    bright red cardinals flutter
    in the evergreen

  10. bartonsmock says:


    bear with me, a man was going house to house. a big handed hunch of a man. he was wanting to know if anyone in the immediate area had seen the bird he was talking about. his enthusiasm was off-putting and in the back of my mind downright scary. the look on a face when a door is opened is often the look of one to whom the lord has reappeared. I don’t think the man knew he was ruining the rareness of the day’s clarity. the bird itself was not his fault and the bird sighting could’ve happened to another. on a normal day a suspended woman sings above us. there is a before and an after and a bit of mystery to the meal obsessed.

  11. JRSimmang says:


    In the oak in our neighbor’s yard,
    in the limbs obscured from sunlight,
    sits an old box, nailed to the bark,
    complete with a circle cut out.
    Inside, the warmth of feathers warms
    the eggs and there’s no question that
    families can live anywhere
    a roof covers their hungry heads.

    -JR Simmang

  12. Sara McNulty says:

    Soaring Smoke

    Blue-gray cloud soars
    a puff of smoke,
    turning, searching for
    landing spot. Giant fanned
    wings flap as it glides
    toward a duck-filled
    pond, gracefully assuming
    a posed posture, beak
    seeking out scents
    of surroundings. The great
    blue heron has landed,
    new lord of the pond.

  13. candict says:

    little bird in my hand
    please wake up
    I’m sorry about my cat

  14. laurie kolp says:

    The Messenger Bird

    A messenger bird
    visited me today.
    He neared from nowhere,
    landed on my shoulder.
    I wondered what
    he was doing here,
    when from deep within,
    I heard a whisper
    urging me to let go
    of old resentments,
    let the bird deliver them
    up to the sky, and wait–
    however long it might take–
    for another whisper
    from deep within.

    So I knelt down
    and thought about
    my feelings toward you
    all those years,
    sometimes hatred
    for what you’d done.
    The guilt and control
    pushing me away,
    pushing me to the bottle
    where I found comfort
    an illusion, the excuses
    I hid behind, buttons
    I thought you pushed
    only to find
    it was me all along.

    And when at last
    I looked up, I watched
    the messenger bird
    fly away, the weight
    that was mine now gone.

  15. Barbarian Style

    Some say we were a little barbaric
    Because we threw a slain pterodactyl
    On the table. What could we say? He was fair game, simply the spoils of the blessed day.

    We wrestled mighty nice with that big ol’ bird from high noon to meal. Salivating while he cooked over the fire, hoping to steal a bite.

    Eventually, the attack commenced. Hawks swooped from every direction. Clinging and eating voraciously, like a starved pack of piranhas coming off a diet…only squeaky clean pre-historic bones remained that were ready for the museum.

  16. MichelleMcEwen says:

    No Bebop

    Have you ever
    gotten your 

    heart broken

    while it was 
    already broke?

    If so
    then you know

    I really don’t
    feel like writin

    bout no sun
    bout no trees

    bout no butterflies 
    bout no breeze

    bout no flowers
    bout no leaves 

    bout no autumn
    bout no goddamn 


    I damn sure
    don’t wanna write 

    no bird


    it’s Charlie Parker

    but then I’d
    have to write

    about jazz

    and I really don’t 
    feel like writin

    bout no bebop

  17. Seagull Moment

    It lifts up
    or is wind-caught,
    the gull against the sky.

    I see it from beneath —
    head high, chest vertical,
    wide wings flaring
    white on blue

    like a flag
    or a cross
    made of light.

  18. Bound Bird

    The appointed time had come
    To gladly devour the beast.

    It stood no chance against
    The ravenous hunger of man
    Woman, wanton child.

    Once a boundless bird roaming as free as the open sky. His wings now clipped, drumsticks gripped tightly, wet with homemade gravy.

    Savoring the preciousness of the moment with the family.
    And we’re thankful for the bird bound in our bellies. Without regrets.

  19. Cin5456 says:

    Murmuration Maximus

    In the park across the street
    from the house where I lived
    ten enormous black oak trees,
    naked in a cold December twilight,
    came alive with chatter and chirping.
    Upper branches writhed with black wings.
    Starlings claimed every branch, twig,
    and limb for their flocking family roosts.
    A few dozen fluttered from tree to tree,
    rising in duos or trios and settled
    a few branches away while others
    took their place in twig hierarchy.
    Agitated energetic adolescents,
    other birds protesting displacement,
    the chirping grew strident, like
    parents scolding children,
    squawks calling for unison.
    A hundred or so trade trees,
    shooing others off top branches,
    and another dozen or so rise to find
    other perches. As the black-winged
    birds trip from tree to tree,
    one group flies above, freewheeling
    like beads on strings whirled about.
    The noise grew louder as
    mischief erupted among the oaks.
    I was reminded of teens taunting
    tired old men on park benches.
    In a flash one tree emptied, exploded,
    with starlings rising high, joined by more.
    It seemed as if elders lifted off
    to chase laughing teen wings. The birds,
    numbered in the hundreds of thousands
    took off together. The starlings flew, joined by
    dozens of flocks from nearby, taking over
    the sunset-sky in tightly coordinated
    black starling storm clouds as
    a starling murmuration began.
    The cloud turned about on a center,
    divided, dived, reversed, rose, and reformed.
    The unbelievable great black troop
    of aerial acrobats swirled, a twisting,
    roiling microcosm in the sky.
    Estimated at five hundred thousand starlings
    in December 2009, this phenomenon drew notice
    as they formed an undulating line, a twisted rope,
    a funnel cloud, and black blanket over the park.
    For more than an hour those starlings owned the sky.
    Starling murmuration is a beautiful sight to behold.

    Poet’s Note: Video available on YouTube, key words:
    Starling swarm (or starling murmuration) in Sacramento

  20. Missy McEwen says:

    Grandparents’ House, Highway 5

    Though no one who was there in the house
    on Highway 5 in Thomasville, Alabama in ’85
    when my family visited—a family trip to see
    my father’s side of the family, his half-aunt/mother
    Dora and Alphonza, the man he called and saw
    as dad, the man that owned the house—is still alive,
    I want to go back, want them to come back
    to life, want to get back that carefree feeling
    I had whenever I was there, sitting on the front porch,
    barefoot, eating watermelon, watching the clouds,
    watching the hummingbirds hover, listening
    to the flap of their wings that sounded like bees,
    that lulled me to sleep in the hot haze
    of the afternoon.

  21. DWong says:

    Forgotten Sightings

    Cold air lingers.
    Frosted air refuses
    to leave.

    Cold air wraps
    around me trying to
    hide it.

    I search above,
    hunt the frigid blue sky
    for sounds.

    Once long ago
    we would look, we would know
    when, why.

    But now we hunt
    not knowing the reasons,

    When warm air slips,
    once more I start my hunt
    in skies

    for lovely sounds
    that fill my heart, my soul.
    Hello. Goodbye.

    How many came?
    Count how many left,

    has all been lost
    thanks to technology
    and to

    broken houses
    losing old traditions,

    I search the skies
    twice in every year
    for sounds.

    Majestic geese,
    that calm my heart and soul,
    bring smiles

    in great numbers,
    bring worries when numbers
    all wrong

    and I wonder
    why it is important,
    but can’t

    stop searching for
    their comings and goings.

    If you believe.

  22. bethwk says:

    Laughter hovers like a bird
    in the listening air around us.
    Chuckles like feathers
    float around the room,
    and all is well for this breath.
    And for this one.

    The air crackles and rustles
    with the winged ones watching.
    And all is well.
    All is well for this moment.

  23. Linda Goin says:

    Grandma’s Rules for Hanging Laundry


    Never air dirty laundry.
    That rule’s a given; also,
    don’t air your imperfections.


    Always use three lines or more,
    and use the middle line to
    hang your unmentionables.


    If you don’t have room to hang
    your unmentionables, drape
    them only where God can see
    them, floating on the hedgerow.


    Don’t waste. Leave no room between
    sheets and shirts, use one clothespin
    to hang them all together.


    Note the blinding dry birdbath
    and its unblemished cherub.
    Birds don’t roost on rolled-up lines.


    When you finish gathering,
    folding, and trudging up/down
    stairs, you can rest, but not long.

  24. barbara_y says:

    A buzzard
    continues to be there,
    glossy in the blue,
    as a bad idea.

  25. rosross says:

    Morning in India….

    Brown flutterings of birds in brittle call,
    Cloths gentle on the face of louvred doors,
    Horns blow loud, impatient tone
    And morning draws its face from dawn.

    Hunched form, in crouch, for daily due,
    The offering life gives to all
    From what has been, will be no more;
    The gutter takes the body’s soil.

    Voices raised, bare limbs stretched wide
    The children wake in vacant stare,
    Upon the earth that gave them sleep;
    This borrowed home, brief place of rest.

    Like any day the threads are drawn,
    Rememberings re-worked through night,
    Forgetting what has been, allows,
    The bruised and broken … hope, once more.

  26. Jezzie says:

    Silent Woods

    A weak watery sun warmed the white winter woods
    but from the bare branched birches burst no birdsong.
    Hawthorn hedges were hidden in the haze,
    yet a feathered fiend had fixed his gaze
    knowing where field mice were hiding.
    Wide eyes were watching, waiting.
    Noiselessly from his nest,
    gracefully gliding,
    soared the hunter,
    seeking his
    with a
    sudden swoop,
    he disappeared.
    In a split second
    he was soaring again,
    heading happily homewards,
    silently sweeping through the sky,
    clutching his famished family’s feast.
    Yet still no whisper from the waiting woods.
    The setting sun sank from the skies in the west.
    Still silence, save for scrunching sounds from the owls’ nest.

  27. BezBawni says:

    Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!!


    He waltzes around in his swallowtail,
    almost sprouting wings,

    I am at his beck and call, as he smiles
    and whispers some lovely things.

    Graceful and cocky, with those of his kind
    he easily flocks together,

    in twitter he’s better than two in the bushes,
    he’s always in high feathers.

    As high as he makes them fly at our home,
    once they are ruffled best;

    soon there is one in his cap, and he could
    have knocked me out with the rest;

    in case I have any, he clips my wings,
    and shrugs water off his back.

    “Some things will never fly,” I say,
    “however loud they quack.”

    I leave him on the sofa, probably
    wondering what I mean

    when I tell him to go to bed with the chickens
    and get up with roosters
    instead of me.

  28. Broofee says:

    Just a bird

    He lived with me once,
    A small blue and white parrot.
    Just a bird,
    Someone would say.
    Yes, a bird
    That I named Mickey.

    Who gives a shit
    About a bird?
    That bird taught me
    The price of freedom.

    The last day
    Of his life
    He managed to get out of the cage
    Through a hole
    That he could have used before
    But didn’t.
    He came out
    We put him back in
    And he died.

    Freedom has no price.
    You pay what it takes
    Just to get a feel of it!
    Just a bird, you say?
    Well, that bird taught me more
    Than most of the people I’ve ever met.

  29. Julieann says:

    Today is Thanksgiving and I want to take this opportunity to say “Thank You” to Robert for providing this means to share our poems and to everyone who reads our efforts and most especially a huge thank you to each and every one who comments and shares insights on our poems.
    Thank you and Happy Thanksgiving!

    Here’s to you Mr. Tom

    From the Golden Eagle to the Sparrow
    There are birds that soar and sing and crow
    Flamingos shine in shades of pink
    While peacocks’ tail feathers put on a glorious show
    Mr. Franklin wanted Mr. Tom to be our native bird
    He felt he was of noble character and as native as the Navaho
    Alas, the bald eagle won that tile, and as for
    Mr. Tom? Each year he graces his own tableau
    With stuffing, cranberries, and pumpkin pie

  30. Earl Parsons says:

    On Thanksgiving Day
    Strange that the challenge would be
    To write of a bird
    For the center of the feast
    Is but a turkey
    The best of all birds
    On Thanksgiving Day

  31. A Thanksgiving Haiku
    (or Senryu)

    The turkeys thank you
    for not eating them today.
    Gobble! Gobble! Gob…

  32. Bolded everything on the first post… sorry :/

    There is one bird I REALLY hate…

    I’ve been to Puerto Rico.
    I’ve been to Paris, France
    but the thing that I remember most
    is that doggone turbulence

    which no one really seemed to mind,
    most slept and read and had fun;
    their most immediate need seemed to be
    making it to the john.

    I wish they built a bridge to Paris!
    I so want to go again
    but I cannot spend 8 torturous hours
    aboard another plane.

    Happy Thanksgiving!!!

  33. There is one bird I REALLY hate…

    I’ve been to Puerto Rico.
    I’ve been to Paris, France
    but the thing that I remember most
    is that doggone turbulence

    which no one really seemed to mind,
    most slept and read and had fun;
    their most immediate need seemed to be
    making it to the john.

    I wish they built a bridge to Paris!
    I so want to go again
    but I cannot spend 8 torturous hours
    aboard another plane.

  34. Rosemarie Keenan says:


    fog squats on the lake
    crows chase plumes of labored breath
    dawn hides shivering


    Bird of peace and comfort,
    you bring me joy with your song.
    How can the world be wrong
    when your song is so right.
    All through the warm night
    I huddle close and listen to
    the sounds you present you
    are heaven sent and were meant
    to represent love. You are the dove
    who offers the olive branch
    and a chance to make things right.
    Your song is so right and
    tonight you will seek shelter.
    Under my wing I take you
    and awaken you to sing of love.</em?

  36. PressOn says:


    When swifts are twinkling in the sky
    the flies are swirling, lofting high
    on thermals born of broiling land
    and sunbeams coursing wide and grand.

    I gaze aloft and wonder why,
    when swifts are twinkling in the sky,
    they own the air with careless grace
    while I am grounded in this place

    and think, perhaps, the day will come
    when hope no longer is struck dumb;
    when swifts are twinkling in the sky
    such possibilities seem nigh.

    My dreams of new and better days
    fly with their darting, sweeping ways;
    all hope scorns hubris, by and by,
    when swifts are twinkling in the sky.

  37. Nancy Posey says:

    The Chicken Inquires

    Why do I merit such speculation,
    delving into my motives
    for crossing roads,
    my origins–whether
    I sprang to life
    full grown as Venus
    from the head of Zeus
    or emerged pure and new
    from an egg? Do you honestly
    consider me so prosaic
    to serve as comparison
    for any new culinary taste–
    As if anything tastes
    like chicken but chicken.
    Even the most horrid death
    imaginable, my body’s frenzy
    after separation from my head
    serves to amuse you.
    Try empathy. Imagine what words
    I’d speak if I had a tongue,
    if I had a head.

  38. Tracy Davidson says:

    Mourning Dove

    she builds a nest
    in the eaves
    of the funeral home

  39. Tracy Davidson says:

    mating cries
    carried on the desert wind…
    Northern Flicker

  40. De Jackson says:


    Murder on their mind, they con
    -gregate in darker corners, spread
    ebony wings over inky secrets. Beaks
    streaked in crimson, they caw to
    caverned sun, cast shadows on
    bleakest sky. What strange glossy
    grief gathers in frayed feather and
    fallow earth. Flim–shelled birth
    long forgotten, they shun this aching
    silence, stretch, and let their voices fly.


  41. Margie Fuston says:

    A Good Mother

    Her legs itch from the sand
    kicked onto the towel
    by her squealing children.
    If she closes her eyes,
    she can’t tell them apart
    from the begging gulls,
    dipping their grey and white bodies
    closer and closer
    to the remains.

    She only closes her eyes for a second.
    Not long enough to hurt.

    She rubs sunscreen on tiny limbs
    to keep them safe.
    She smiles at misshapen sandcastles,
    mimicking the ones from the fairytales
    she reads them at night
    while her husband watches the news.
    She holds out her hand,
    collecting the pebbles they find and carry
    back to her with proud faces.

    The pebbles have been worn smooth,
    picked free of their individual bumps
    and grooves by the bickering sand,
    until one looks like a dozen others.
    She lets them slip through the cracks
    of her fingers, before catching them,
    just in time, with her other hand.

    She stares at them in her aging palm.
    She barely feels them against her skin.
    She thinks of popping them in her mouth,
    until her teeth break
    and mix with the stones.
    Until she can’t tell them apart.

  42. LeAnneM says:

    Cardinal prints and paintings
    In my grandmother’s house

    Some of them were lovely
    But it was overdone
    A bird from Hallmark

    My dad often remarked when
    A cardinal came to the feeder
    And I would look and say,

    One Thanksgiving
    I took a walk into a scrubby area
    Thickets lining the path

    I saw a cardinal there
    Alive and bright

    Beautiful again

  43. Bruce Niedt says:

    Same poem, new title and ending:

    Randy Johnson Kills a Bird,
    March 24, 2001

    Pity the unlucky dove
    that decided to swoop down
    between home plate and the mound
    just as Randy Johnson released
    a 90-mile-an-hour fastball.
    Halfway between origin and destination
    for both the dove and the ball,
    one could plot the intersection
    of two curves, one graceful
    and inverted, one flattened out
    by sheer speed, and at that intersection,
    an explosion of feathers. It was as though
    the pitcher’s bullet vaporized the bird.
    People laugh at the video today
    but I’m sure Johnson was shaken up
    when the bewildered ump called “no pitch”.
    What else was there to do but clean up
    the mess and continue the game?
    The astronomical odds boggle the mind
    but the universe is a cruel and funny thing.
    We plot our own parabolas every day
    not really knowing what will intersect them -
    drunk driver, aneurysm, asteroid -
    All we can do is move along,
    try to complete the arc,
    and avoid the fastballs when we can.

  44. cbwentworth says:


    Radiant feathers
    Drawn to sunset red petals
    Drinking in sweet life

  45. Glory says:

    Carrion Crow

    Neatly feathered thighs, feathered base
    of beak, plumage black, with purple-green sheen,
    calls kraa-kraa-kraa from its nest of twigs,
    hair and bark, perilously high in fork of tree,
    cliff edge or pylon tall.

    Fat worms, insects, fruit, kitchen scraps,
    stolen eggs, innocent young birds all welcome fare,
    caught not far from nests of this perched
    sentinel, natural regulator of bird population
    aloft top of isolated trees.

  46. De Jackson says:


    One worm at a time.
    No canning, no storing. No twittery
    little cupboards filled to the brim.

    Why then do I scrounge like sea
    -gulls, searching empty shores for
    remnants that do not belong to me,
    screeching mine! and stealing trash?

    The truth lies in trees,
    limbs aching for sky, reaching
    for something greater, ready to receive
    whatever falls. Knowing this
    next blue breath is everything, all
    I’ll ever need.


  47. Jane Shlensky says:


    “Methought I heard a voice cry, “Sleep no more!
    Macbeth does murder sleep”—the innocent sleep,
    Sleep that knits up the raveled sleave of care,
    The death of each day’s life, sore labor’s bath,
    Balm of hurt minds, great nature’s second course,
    Chief nourisher in life’s feast.” Shakespeare

    A murder happens daily in my yard
    at six a.m., at ten thirty, at four—
    a klatch of crows, one carping like a bard,
    the others shout approval, wanting more.

    There are no bodies—don’t mistake my words—
    although they will dispose of those they find.
    They only murder sleep, poetic birds,
    exuberant at hearing verse and line.

    If looks could kill, I’d be the murderer
    when they dispatch a lovely dream to hell,
    but my feathered Macbeth’s a worderer
    who praises nature’s poetry quite well.

    Their black tuxedos glint. Their poet knows;
    I’m stealing sonnets from the caws of crows.

  48. priyajane says:

    In Awe!!!

    Such a handsome blue-green bird !!
    Azury, brilliance that flirts !!

    An arrogant grand emperor
    A romantic, rhythmic, conqueror

    His carefully, synchronized veil
    Fans, a copper-blue sail
    And then, — lo, a tail!!-
    Searching eyes on the grail!
    A magnificent velvet trail !!-

    Slender,– yet strong
    Gliding gracefully along!!
    Free of care,–watch him flow
    Like he owns the whole darn show!!

    What an open hearted span?
    Who has mastered this game plan??

    No engineering degree,
    Unfolding perfectly–
    In-numerous parts
    Captivating our hearts
    A dancer on the ground
    Astute and profound—

    Not a very frequent flyer
    Avoids traffic, when required—
    Off, he flies— rushing home
    A Royal compass on his dome
    Landing, like an aero-plane
    He will enter his domain
    There, he will, rest his wings
    Where his sweetheart crowns him king

    What, a rainbow of a sight!!
    –Quite a magical respite —-

  49. Jane Shlensky says:

    First Things

    My challenge on Thanksgiving Day—
    before the browning bird is done—
    to sit with coffee, watch the way
    the early birds call out to say,
    Awake, awake, let’s have some fun.

    I’m curious who’ll be the first
    flitting to suet or to seed
    or at the bath quenching night thirst,
    will clear his throat so song will burst
    from tiny throat. They know I need

    a morning medley, coffee, light,
    two cats amused as feathers glow,
    the red, the blue, gray, brown, and white.
    We watch, thankful for feathered flight.
    We’re armchair birders, don’t you know.

  50. Nancy Posey says:


    A week or two after the dog was gone,
    we still heard his whining in the yard,
    that high pitch she used long enough
    we knew it meant, “Please let me in.”

    At first we blamed wishful thinking,
    over-active imagination, conditioned
    by years of half-listening, knowing
    she was near, ready to curl at our feet.

    Finally we found caught the culprit, mourning
    perhaps, or maybe just cruel, gloating.
    With him in our sights, high on the branch,
    we asked, is it a sin to kill a mockingbird?

  51. Bruce Niedt says:

    Fowl Ball: March 24, 2001

    Pity the unlucky dove
    that decided to swoop down
    between home plate and the mound
    just as Randy Johnson released
    a 90-mile-an-hour fastball.
    Halfway between origin and destination
    for both the dove and the ball,
    one could plot the intersection
    of two curves, one graceful
    and inverted, one flattened out
    by sheer speed, and at that intersection,
    an explosion of feathers. It was as though
    Johnson’s bullet vaporized the bird.
    People laugh at the video today
    but I’m sure Johnson was shaken up
    when the bewildered ump called “no pitch”.
    What else was there to do but clean up
    the mess and continue the game?
    The astronomical odds boggle the mind
    but the universe is a cruel and funny thing.
    A fastball may hit us too, at any time:
    anything from a drunk driver to an asteroid.

  52. writinglife16 says:

    I love it. Such a sense of fun in it.

  53. Hannah says:

    Sea Crow A.K.A. The Great Cormorant

    I see you there
    asleep in the sun.
    Aquamarine eyes
    hid neath thin skin.
    So prehistoric-like
    still perched,
    one foot tucked
    neath dark feathers
    and your bill is buried
    with your head bowed
    against this November chill.
    Standing on granite’s edge
    wings folded in against wind,
    rest in these healing rays;
    warm yourself awhile
    dive deeper for longer
    in search of an answer.
    Trust in your method
    abide in your unique way.
    regardless of the bad reputation
    that you’ve neither earned
    nor deserve;
    preserve your dignity.
    Designed for depths of sea,
    plunge into ocean-green;
    I’ll meet you there,
    in my dreams.

    Copyright © Hannah Gosselin 2013

    Feel free to visit my site for some background on why I chose this bird and the sighting a few weeks ago.

    Happy Thanksgiving Day, to those who celebrate!

    • PressOn says:

      The “great” in your title captured my attention first, inasmuch as I’ve never seen that species; the double-crested is the one I’ve seen most often. Aside from that, your poem rings of respect, both for the bird and its situation (and that of many species these days). Wonderful work.

      • Hannah says:

        I’m not certain that this is the species that I saw but when I googled Cormorants in Maine that one came up and through much image inspection this one looked the closest to what I saw.

        I’m glad that my poem came across this way…I do feel this way about this bird in particular and many of the species. They’re so amazing and yet some think so little of them.

        Thank you for reading.

    • Love this poem! When I lived in Maine I enjoyed watching these incredible birds as they dove for food. I particularly love the memory of when my daughter saw some on the rocks with their wings open wide, like they were going to hug someone. “Look, Mommy,” she said, “they are drying their wing-pits!”

    • Linda Goin says:

      I’ve never seen a Cormorant, but your poem brought this bird to life for me. Of course, I’m a totally devoted fan of your poetry.

  54. Michelle Hed says:


    I was in awe
    as she sat there watching me,
    I was in awe
    as she rested in that tree.

    I sat and watched
    and clicked away
    until I was too cold
    to stay.

    Her golden eyes
    blinked at me,
    her head swiveled away.
    I made my way
    away from her
    but she’s with me
    every day.

    (My all time favorite birding experience – the Snowy Owl. I would drop just about anything to go see any kind of owl.)

    • PressOn says:

      I can relate to this feeling, and to owls. I have seen snowies, usually on the ground, and to me they symbolize winter. I also love to see any kind of owl, and hope one day to see a hawk owl, which I think you’ve photographed. That bird always makes me think it can’t make up its mind; it even looks more like a hawk than an owl, to my mind. Thanks for writing this.

    • One of my fondest memories of childhood was the year a pair of Snowy Owls decided to roost outside in the tree across from the three decker I lived in in South Boston. They stayed all winter, with much publicity and why not? No lack of food; they clean up the pigeon and rat population better than anything else. I love owls and hawks…they seem to follow me and offer me close encounters that are not common. Wonderful poem!

      • Hannah says:

        I love your comment, Linda!! That they seem to follow you offering close encounters…I love that. I wonder if they’re your totem animals or if they have something to say to you…so interesting. :)

    • Hannah says:

      Oh, Michelle!! You’ve imprinted those eyes and experience so passionately.

  55. Clae says:


    Tall majestic bird
    Red crowned long legged slim
    Sand-hill crane convinced
    It’s the new pigeon
    Unafraid of cars
    Thinks humans are friends
    Stunning sand-hill crane
    Red-crowned tall and thin

    Happy Thanksgiving poets!

  56. Michelle Hed says:

    The Birds

    No, not those.
    No birds out to get you here,
    just tiny hummingbirds
    all the way up to the ostrich
    standing tall
    I find, I love them all.

    The Sandhill Cranes
    grace my swamp
    and sometimes
    come to call –
    but at almost
    five feet tall
    I tend to stay back
    Near the wall.

    The Pileated
    comes and knocks
    loudly at my house.
    They are usually
    quite shy
    so with just one look from me
    they fly away, bye-bye.

    And in the early morning hours
    I can hear the gentle hoots
    of the Great Horned Owl
    as he talks and prowls,
    his voice lulls me
    back to sleep.

    These are just a few
    too many to name them all,
    that grace my yard
    from time to time
    blessing me
    with each glance
    and call.


    Be-still the avalanche. Ptarmigan
    sings a cozy-cluck to dazzles
    this year of snowblink, a few
    sun-blaze mornings, ashen
    eves; the spiral vanes
    winnowing flight;
    feather of

  58. Michelle Hed says:

    my favorite bird always calls
    and keeps me company

    (I’ve held these in my hands a time or two.) :)

  59. writinglife16 says:


    Little one.
    It fell out the nest.
    The cat saw.
    It advanced.
    Suddenly, the flock arrived.
    Baby bird was safe.

  60. Michelle Hed says:

    The Creeper

    is not what you would think…
    small and brown
    he creeps up the tree
    while the nuthatch
    he creeps down.
    He’s often hard to spot
    but in a mature forest
    he surely can be found.
    Just sit and watch
    and a bit of bark
    will suddenly
    start creeping around.

    (Official Name: Brown Creeper)

  61. Dare says:


    May your spirit soar
    filled with joy
    shared with friends you love

  62. The Bufflehead

    The Buffleheads bob in the bay
    Male black and white, female brown/gray
    Compact ducks submerge to catch food
    Large, rounded heads and short, wide bills
    Noted for their fine mating skills
    Males swim in front as if they’re rude
    Nodding their heads like no control
    Like to nest in woodpecker hole
    Fly rapidly as if pursued

  63. bxpoetlover says:

    The Owl

    Glare back.
    And it cries
    out, “Who? Who?”. Be

  64. You can tell birds were once dinosaurs

    One wide winged silhouette
    decaled to the inside
    of a bay window
    like an incoming meteor
    keeping the most errant
    and in flight -
    one glance
    at their own
    distorted reflection
    in the chrome
    of a fender
    and they’ll beat
    themselves to death
    before giving up one blade
    of one square lawn
    on a good

  65. annell says:

    My Neighbors

    In a sea of sagebrush

    Nothing over three feet high

    And yet you fly

    Crows dressed in black

    Gossip over the back fence

    Finch Golden and House

    And sparrows

    Gather at the feeder

    Jays and woodpeckers

    Come for the large seeds

    Towie with their

    Black hoods

    Like little monks

    And beautiful songs

    Quarrelsome hummingbirds

    Kiss the flowers in the garden

    Fly catchers build nest

    Every year for the last six

    Once an American Kestral

    Had lunch near the back door

    Quail walk through

    Followed by their young

    Once a bright yellow

    Tanager and his mate

    Occasionally hawks come close

    And always the rowdy bunch of Magpies

    Make up my neighbors

    Note: These are the birds on the mesa above Taos, NM. I’m sure I’ve forgotten some, but you will remember.


    Over fields and floods,
    across cities forested with steel,
    under great arches holding chasms together,
    the winged traveler comes
    to land – just outside this window.
    The graceful peregrine rests for a spell,
    long enough for my delight in having
    such a well-traveled guest
    to feast on field mice
    plumbed with autumn fat,
    before lifting high once more -
    royal traveler of the sky.


    There once was a bird named Daisy
    How we met was simply just crazy
    She flew in one day –
    the month, it was May -
    But, I am old, so the rest of it’s quite hazy…

  68. Lori P says:

    Like a bird

    Be like a bird, you say
    you’ve meant to mean
    fly, be free
    but what I hear
    isn’t flattering
    dig in the dirt, really
    that’s all you’re good for
    surface the worms
    we’ll ask you
    when we need them
    for a dirty job
    eat them

  69. PressOn says:

    Robert, Your takes surprised and gratified. Happy Thanksgiving.

  70. PressOn says:


    What’s in a name? This verse’s task
    is asking what you did not ask:
    are blue jays blue because their blue
    is bluer than the bluebird’s blue;
    do turnstones really nudge at stones;
    do killdeer peck at Bambi’s bones;
    do spoonbills spoon, or do they bill
    the lark for fun they can’t fulfill;
    do robins steal and take to flight;
    are nighthawks birds who sell at night;
    and are, perchance, the hummingbirds
    the songsters who forgot the words;
    do peregrines, as they fly south,
    grin from both sides of the mouth,
    and do you think of muscovies
    as ducks that jog olfactories?
    You think, perhaps, this is absurd
    but when I bedded a bower bird
    I learned the truth whereof I speak
    straight from the busy bower’s beak.

  71. alanasherman says:

    Something to be said for getting up at 4:30am
    I can’t believe I’m the second post
    Happy Thanksgiving (Thanksgivukah) to one and all.

    Other Birds

    In the morning
    the magpies cry
    “Oh, oh—oohooh! ”
    Voices full of eagerness
    and sudden disappointment
    like a child whose mother
    has said no ice cream.

    I watch them spread across
    the field like spilled ink,
    like storm clouds
    they rest in the trees.

    The birds of another country
    sing an unfamiliar song
    but after a few days—though I only catch
    a royal blue shimmer
    or a flourish of yellow-green—
    I distinguish raven from robin
    rosella from wren.

    Back home I long to hear the quick clear
    caroling, that rough scratch and call
    full of surprise and regret.


  72. Jezzie says:

    Percy Wood Pigeon

    Percy Wood Pigeon just waddles around
    in our Mum’s garden, not making a sound.
    He’s fat and lazy and stays here all day
    picking up anything Mum throws his way.

    He can’t fit on feeders, he’s much too fat,
    he’s just a target for our next door’s cat,
    he sits in the tree that’s over our run
    and Mum moans about all the mess he’s done.

    Now and again his wife comes here to stay,
    she doesn’t stay long and soon flies away.
    We bark at him loud but he shows no fear,
    and Mum says to leave him ‘cos he lives here.

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