Thursday, April 18, 2019

birds, birds, birds

frenetic birds amidst the swell of spring

birds awake in early spring,
as if on speed:
before daybreak, they call as if to wake us all up,
two male bluebirds this morning blur in a frenzy on the ground,
some kind of dominance fight
with females flitting nearby,
maybe a challenge as to which couple 
gets the bluebird house for their eggs, and then young,
by dinner time, one male stands atop it,

and only barely tolerates me 25 feet away,

a tufted titmouse can’t figure me out
and comes closer and closer,
as I need to be dealt with,

two mourning doves write quick paths
from tree to tree across my view,
a hummingbird pauses on branches,
and then zings to our sugar water feeder,

our ginkgo and one of our oaks are early in their leafing,

the red maple halfway to full leaf,

as are most of the oaks around us,

last week’s pine pollen invasion
mostly washed away by a near foot of rain,
though our car still has edges stained gold,

in the garden I have trusted that
“the early bird gets the worm,”
so a dozen and a half tomatoes, 
ones I started from seed inside,
are rooting into the fertile soil,
held up by nestling leaves,

red potatoes and sugar snap peas are hard at work,

the buttercrunch lettuce and first basil
have been subdued by torrents of rain,
squash, bush beans, okra, and pumpkin await their time,

sour cherry and blueberry are setting:

the redbud has finished, the dogwood is full,

our grass needs cutting,
the columbine is triumphant:

the plant kingdom is like the early adolescents I teach,
swelling with the pride of becoming,
not yet into the full power that comes
before the long decline.

by Henry H. Walker
April 17, ‘19

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