Friday, December 14, 2007

POETRY FRIDAY: December Notes

As far back as I can remember my mother has always fed the birds who visited her yard. She had a special soft spot in her heart for little sparrows. I remember the time we found a baby sparrow on the sidewalk one spring when I was about five or six years old. The little bird seemed too weak to fly. My mother brought it home, fed it by way of a liquid vitamin dropper, and kept it in a small cage until it appeared strong enough to fly. Then she put a ladder up against the back of our garage, climbed up to the roof with the bird, and set the cage down on the roof with the door wide open. She felt the sparrow would be safe from neighborhood cats up there until it felt the urge to fly away.

Now eighty-nine years old, my mother still spends money from her meager retirement pension to buy birdseed. After a winter storm, one can see the snow in her yard littered with tiny seeds for the wild birds.

The following poem is for my mother who taught me kindness toward animals and generosity of spirit.

by Nancy McCleery

The backyard is one white sheet
Where we read in the bird tracks

The songs we hear. Delicate
Sparrow, heavier cardinal,

Filigree threads of chickadee.
And wing patterns where one flew

Low, then up and away, gone
To the woods but calling out

Clearly its bright epigrams.

You can read the rest of the poem at American Life in Poetry: Column 39.

I have a review of Aileen Fisher's poetry book Do Rabbits Have Christmas? at Wild Rose Reader.

Tricia has the Poetry Friday Roundup at The Miss Rumphius Effect.


tanita✿davis said...

I love the word 'filigree' and pairing that with 'chickadee' is a bright swirling trill that goes so beautifully with the imagery of birds and snow -- a really nice poem. Thank you. I don't know how you post two a week -- with the auction and your own work and everything else!!!

Elaine Magliaro said...


I haven't posted on Friday a couple of times in recent weeks. I was bidding on snowflakes hot and heavy last week--and didn't take time out to blog about poetry here or at Wild Rose Reader last Friday.

Mary Lee said...

Thanks for both the poem and the link to American Life in Poetry.

We're supposed to get some snow this weekend, and you can bet there will be bird tracks of all kinds in our back yard!

Elaine Magliaro said...

Mary Lee,

We got quite a bit of snow here on Thursday. Meteorologists are forecasting another storm for Saturday evening. I guess I'll just stay in this weekend and make some pierogi for Christmas Eve.

laurasalas said...

Elaine, it was so funny. As I was reading this light, lovely poem, it reminded me of Do Rabbits Have Christmas...and then you posted a link to your review of that!

Anyway, this poem is just a terrific winter scenes, like frost etched on a windowpane. Thanks for sharing.