Although I have a particular passion for Water, I realized recently that I have written at least a dozen poems about Air, about birds. Most carry a message of being uplifted even in moments of grief or despair.
Birds, it seems to me, do not suffer from depression and do not feel sorry for themselves. Even on the most bitter winter day there is something cheerful about them!
The image above was taken this morning as a fiery red cardinal picked a snow-covered bread crumb from a plate I had put out. Winter is a great time for bird feeding and watching.
Below are links to previous posts where poems that include birds are to be found. I've highlighted a stanza of each to give you a taste (peck!) and a short description.
Follow the links provided in the titles or from 'Read more' if you feel inspired to. And, if you do, let me know which you like best.
A bird drifts
moving in the air
like a prayer
around the temple
Read in full
For me, these brilliant blood-red birds (cardinals) are like little Valentines. Two poems written on two consecutive February mornings at dawn, and a haiku celebrating them.
Black-winged bird with folded face
and all the earth-born kindness
of suffering beyond measure
I warmed to you.
This poem continues an exploration of Saturn's influence in my life, linked here with Raven (one of Saturn's gifts) and inspired by encounters with two very different women.
And the raven
high above me
like a blessing
like the wings
of my father.
The raven of death expressed here as a protector, as the continued presence of my father long after his passing. Once, after a healing ceremony, a young woman saw three black ravens leave my heart.
Up there in the light
on chimney rock
a vulture as old as the Ozarks
spreads his wings like prayers ...
These birds are the condors of the Ozarks, enjoying the thermals above the bluffs that edge the rivers. This one seemed to lend a blessing to my river journey that day.
Just as we've lost
the sacred in water
we scorn this bird
that sings like water
like babbling brooks.
Read in full
When I first moved to the Missouri Ozarks, I lived right beside a creek which brought in many birds. This one, makes the most beautiful (to my ear) warbling sound, like a babbling brook.
A Labyrinth of Rocks spirals light
As Moon rises over the white pines
Whipoorwill calls up the Mysteries
Walking to the Center, the Heart
The Owl and the Pussycat went
At night in the summer, whipoorwills (nightjars) and owls send their messages through the trees. I have never found this threatening or sad but rather a kind of calling to go deeper into the mysteries.
though the yellow bird
died the sun still rises
in the east and the India
of my dreams wreathed
with marigolds is the body
During the inaugural blessing of a family sweat lodge my cat brought a bird to the lodge leader who fortunately received it with grace. The ceremony continued to unfold as a dream full of symbols.
Gathering books like future dreams
you float above the forest trailing green feathers
a hermit bird perched
on the edge of mysteries
This poem was written to lift my partner out of a hermit's melancholy and into the air of his best dreams. Perhaps this is the message of birds for us all.
Later I understood
That she was my soul-wings
Blue bird of the air
Bringing life to fire's flame
Bluebirds are Missouri's statebird and I have had several magical encounters with them that seem to be about escaping the cages that are often of our own making and taking flight into joyful freedom.
Watching small birds enjoying
the suet feeders in the snow
reminds me of you.
Suspended from trees with pulleys -
out of reach but accessible.
My mother has always fed the birds in winter, bacon rinds hanging from trees and bread crumbs scattered on window sills. My ex-husband also loved birds and invented a pulley system to put their feeders high in the forest trees and away from cats.
the robins are here!
sturdy and rosy bodies
confident of spring
As if announcing the perfect snow fall that arrived here in the southern Missouri Ozarks, a flock of chubby American robins arrived first, to peck among the native grasses in the orchard behind the cabin.
Birds in winter/ Snow signs
And the feet of birds have
scribbled more perfect poems
than we shall understand
This poem was inspired by a set of images created from bird prints in snow in the winter of 2009/ 2011. The images may do the best job of telling this story.
Tossing out birds
whose chorus frets
and fades away
Writing to music - which brought up images of being on a wild cliff watching birds riding the waves of winds - inspired this poem. There is also a haiku about birds along a California beach.
Look out for a forthcoming collection of poems about water.
A beautiful piece of writing from my friend and nature blogger Jill Henderson:
To find out who this beautiful rooster is, please enjoy the poem below contributed by special friend and change-maker Barbara Harmony.