- Books, Literature, and Writing
Poems About Birds
Birds are fascinating and I love poetry. This lens brings the two together . . . .
Gliding on air streams,
travel forever upwards,
on top of the world.
~ David Darbyshire ~
Canada Geese land
on the pond as if eager
to learn ice skating
~ Joseph Kozlowski ~
The Redbreast Chasing the Butterfly
by William Wordsworth
Art thou the bird whom Man loves best,
The pious bird with the scarlet breast,
Our little English Robin;
The bird that comes about our doors
When Autumn-winds are sobbing?
Art thou the Peter of Norway Boors?
Their Thomas in Finland,
And Russia far inland?
The bird, that by some name or other
All men who know thee call their brother,
The darling of children and men?
Could Father Adam open his eyes
And see this sight beneath the skies,
He'd wish to close them again.
-If the Butterfly knew but his friend,
Hither his flight he would bend;
And find his way to me,
Under the branches of the tree:
In and out, he darts about;
Can this be the bird, to man so good,
That, after their bewildering,
Covered with leaves the little children,
So painfully in the wood?
What ailed thee, Robin, that thou could'st pursue
A beautiful creature,
That is gentle by nature?
Beneath the summer sky
From flower to flower let him fly;
'Tis all that he wishes to do.
The cheerer Thou of our in-door sadness,
He is the friend of our summer gladness:
What hinders, then, that ye should be
Playmates in the sunny weather,
And fly about in the air together!
His beautiful wings in crimson are drest,
A crimson as bright as thine own:
Would'st thou be happy in thy nest,
O pious Bird! whom man loves best,
Love him, or leave him alone!
by Emily Dickinson
A bird came down the walk,
He did not know I saw;
He bit an angleworm in halves
And ate the fellow, raw.
And then he drank a dew
From a convenient grass,
And then hopped sidewise to the wall
To let a beetle pass.
Bookshelf - Anthology of Bird Poetry
In this beautiful collection of poems and paintings, Billy Collins, former U.S. poet laureate, joins with David Allen Sibley, America's foremost bird illustrator, to celebrate the winged creatures that have inspired so many poets to sing for centuries. From Catullus and Chaucer to Robert Browning and James Wright, poets have long treated birds as powerful metaphors for beauty, escape, transcendence, and divine expression. (amazon)
From the Shore
by: Carl Sandburg
A lone gray bird,
Alone in the shadows and grandeurs and tumults
Of night and the sea
And the stars and storms.
Out over the darkness it wavers and hovers,
Out into the gloom it swings and batters,
Out into the wind and the rain and the vast,
Out into the pit of a great black world,
Where fogs are at battle, sky-driven, sea-blown,
Love of mist and rapture of flight,
Glories of chance and hazards of death
On its eager and palpitant wings.
Out into the deep of the great dark world,
Beyond the long borders where foam and drift
Of the sundering waves are lost and gone
On the tides that plunge and rear and crumble.
by Shel Silverstein
Birds are flyin' south for winter.
Here's the Weird-Bird headin' north,
Wings a-flappin', beak a-chatterin',
Cold head bobbin' back 'n' forth.
He says, "It's not that I like ice
Or freezin' winds and snowy ground.
It's just sometimes it's kind of nice
To be the only bird in town."
by Andrew Downing
In robe of orange, and of black,
With mellow music in his throat,
Our fairest summer bird is back
From southern woods and fields remote.
Beneath the shading, glossy leaves
The sunset gold upon his breast--
The restless, little toiler weaves
His hanging wonder of a nest!
And, as I watch him, flashing there,
My fancy deems the oriole
A wand'ring blossom of the air,
Endowed with wings, and voice, and soul!
Bookshelf - Identifying Birds
Contains over 700 color photographs alongside complementary text coverage of all North American species of birds and classifications that enable the reader to become a master at the art of field identification. Habitat maps. Handy small format, perfect for tucking in a backpack. (amazon)
by Witter Bynner
An arrow, feathery, alive,
He darts and sings--
Then with a sudden skimming dive
Of striped wings
He finds a pine and, debonair,
Makes with his mate
All birds that ever rested there
The whisper of a multitude
Of happy wings
Is round him, a returning brood,
Each time he sings.
Though heaven be not for them or him
Yet he is wise
And tiptoes daily on the rim
by Alison Brackenbury
They were everywhere. No. Just God or smoke
Is that. They were the backdrop to the road,
My parents' home, the heavy winter fields
From which they flashed and kindled and uprode
The air in dozens. I ignored them all.
"What are they?" "Oh - peewits - " Then a hare flowed,
Bounded the furrows. Marriage. Child. I roamed
Round other farms. I only knew them gone
When, out of a sad winter, one returned.
I heard the high mocked cry "Pee - wit , " so long
Cut dead. I watched it buckle from vast air
To lure hawks from its chicks. That time had gone.
Gravely, the parents bobbed their strip of stubble.
How had I let this green and purple pass?
Fringed, plumed heads (full name, the crested plover)
Fluttered. So crowned cranes stalk Kenyan grass.
Then their one child, their anxious care, came running,
Squeaked along each furrow, dauntless, daft.
Did I once know the story of their lives?
Do they migrate from Spain? Or coasts' cold run?
And I forgot their massive arcs of wing.
When their raw cries swept over, my head spun
With all the brilliance of their black and white
As though you cracked the dark and found the sun.
crystalgazer01 / photobucket
by Robert Service
In Wall Street once a potent power,
And now a multi-millionaire
Alone within a shady bower
In clothes his valet would not wear,
He watches bird wings bright the air.
The man who mighty mergers planned,
And oil and coal kinglike controlled,
With field-glasses in failing hand
Spies downy nestlings five days old,
With joy he could not buy for gold.
Aye, even childlike is his glee;
But how he crisps with hate and dread
And shakes a clawlike fist to see
A kestrel hover overhead:
Though he would never shoot it dead.
Although his cook afar doth forage
For food to woo his appetite,
The old man lives on milk and porridge
And now it is his last delight
At eve if one lone linnet lingers
To pick crushed almonds from his fingers.
The Dalliance of Eagles
by Walt Whitman
Skirting the river road, (my forenoon walk, my rest,)
Skyward in air a sudden muffled sound, the dalliance of the eagles,
The rushing amorous contact high in space together,
The clinching interlocking claws, a living, fierce, gyrating wheel,
Four beating wings, two beaks, a swirling mass tight grappling,
In tumbling turning clustering loops, straight downward falling,
Till o'er the river pois'd, the twain yet one, a moment's lull,
A motionless still balance in the air, then parting, talons losing,
Upward again on slow-firm pinions slanting, their separate diverse flight,
She hers, he his, pursuing.
by Marilyn Peretti
Birds in branches
for the night
do not mock
long legged cranes.
Gravity pulls us all
to our own beds
for respite from
day's winged work.
Trees of leaf
do not hug marshes
but leave them to the sky,
to wane and swell,
like black wet mirrors,
waters soaked with beds of
grasses, shallow, where
tall cranes stand, and sleep.
The Red-wing Blackbird
by William Carlos Williams
The wild red-wing black-
bird croaks frog-
like though more shrill
as the beads of
his head blaze over the
swamp and the o-
dors of the swamp vodka
to his nostrils
mciemily / photobucket
by Sara Teasdale
Long and long ago,
What a honey-call you had
In hills I used to know;
And proud river sweeping
Southward to the sea,
Brown and gold in the sun
Sparkling far below,
Trailing stately round her bluffs
Where the poplars grow -
Are you singing still
As you sang one May day
On Saxton's Hill?
by Pablo Neruda
It was passed from one bird to another,
the whole gift of the day.
The day went from flute to flute,
went dressed in vegetation,
in flights which opened a tunnel
through the wind would pass
to where birds were breaking open
the dense blue air -
and there, night came in.
When I returned from so many journeys,
I stayed suspended and green
between sun and geography -
I saw how wings worked,
how perfumes are transmitted
by feathery telegraph,
and from above I saw the path,
the springs and the roof tiles,
the fishermen at their trades,
the trousers of the foam;
I saw it all from my green sky.
I had no more alphabet
than the swallows in their courses,
the tiny, shining water
of the small bird on fire
which dances out of the pollen.
by Robert Service
Between the cliff-rise and the beach
A slip of emerald I own;
With fig and olive, almond, peach,
cherry and plum-tree overgrown;
Glad-watered by a crystal spring
That carols through the silver night,
And populous with birds who sing
Gay madrigals for my delight.
Some merchants fain would buy my land
To build a stately pleasure dome.
Poor fools! they cannot understand
how pricelessly it is my home!
So luminous with living wings,
So musical with feathered joy . . .
Not for all pleasure fortune brings,
Would I such ecstasy destroy.
A thousand birds are in my grove,
Melodious from morn to night;
My fruit trees are their treasure trove,
Their happiness is my delight.
And through the sweet and shining days
They know their lover and their friend;
So I will shield in peace and praise
My innocents unto the end.
Bird Songs - Book and Audio CD
This book-audio package provides a unique introduction to fifty of the most familiar birds of North America and the songs they sing. Each bird is described in vivid detail - its natural history, habitat, voice, range, and field marks - and illustrated in stunning color photographs. The audio CD features original high-quality field recordings of each bird's songs and calls, which are track-coded for easy access. Common Birds and Their Songs will be valuable to anyone interested in birds, from beginner to expert. It's the perfect gift for any birder - or anyone with a bird feeder. (amazon)
Birds Appearing In A Dream
by Michael Collier
One had feathers like a blood-streaked koi,
another a tail of color-coded wires.
One was a blackbird stretching orchid wings,
another a flicker with a wounded head.
All flew like leaves fluttering to escape,
bright, circulating in burning air,
and all returned when the air cleared.
One was a kingfisher trapped in its bower,
deep in the ground, miles from water.
Everything is real and everything isn't.
Some had names and some didn't.
Named and nameless shapes of birds,
at night my hand can touch your feathers
and then I wipe the vernix from your wings,
you who have made bright things from shadows,
you who have crossed the distances to roost in me.