Friday, January 16, 2009

"Ornithography"

I'm still away on my mid-winter mini vacation. Port Townsend has not disappointed and both Nonie and I are having a grand time. Today, while browsing in a bookshop (Port Townsend has several), I found a new volume of poetry by Billy Collins, entitled Ballistics. It was like being given a wonderful gift, finding that book.

I "ate" it whole, of course.

There is a bird feeder on the porch of our rental cottage, and every morning when I get up I spend a long time watching all the little birds gorging themselves on the free seed. It seems obvious that this is the poem from my new book that I should share with you, Dear Reader.

Ornithography

The legendary Cang Jie was said to
have invented writing after observing
the tracks of birds.



A light snow last night,
and now the earth falls open to a fresh page.

A high wind is breaking up the clouds.
Children wait for the yellow bus in a huddle,

and under the feeder, some birds
are busy writing short stories,

poems, and letters to their mothers.
A crow is working on an editorial.

That chickadee is etching a list,
and that robin walks back and forth

composing the opening to her autobirgraphy.
All so prolific this morning,

these expressive little creatures,
and each with an alphabet of only two letters.

by Billy Collins

2 comments:

Meri Arnett-Kremian said...

Michele - what a great find the poetry volume was; I think I'll look for a copy. I loved the poem! And your photos were perfect accompaniments. Isn't Port Townsend a lovely place for browsing, thinking, noshing, curling up with a book under a fluffy quilt and letting time drift by?

diane said...

What a great find! A poem so fitting to the situation. Sounds like a perfect holiday. ENJOY!