Pause for poetry:
Willow Loveday Little /3
Birds of Ambience
By Willow Loveday Little
You wanted to turn on the record player
But we are graced by
The song of birds.
The mood of terns skipping as stones across wetland,
Sandpiper darting swift grains against romance of a namesake
Gentle as stork’s bill carries babe, cherubim cradled
Over windy moors in watery stomach of pelican beak.
The kingfisher favors his subjects; conversation drifts
To the weather: chilly, but the god-like sun is warm amber
On arms drenched slow by honey’s viscosity.
Gull cries remind you of home. You close your eyes.
See the harbour imprinted by red light
As if through a mammal’s hide.
Yet this is a mood of feathers.
The hummingbird is music’s prestissimo, gone in a flash before
Blinking lids and lashes can register its iridescence. Cuckoo mocking from
Stolen nest, adoptive youngster always second flute to earnest sparrow
Whose song is harmony to the bird who begot him.
Kite scries for answers gliding amid divine fumes
Of cloud vapor while we sit on a patio that has
Never known the gentle posturing of
Peafowl, pheasant, plover.
Hold court with visitors. Puffed chickadees, their claws
Surprising in delicate clasp on your fingers. You didn’t expect them
To come to you. Cocks his cheeky head.
Sunset’s raspberry mouth rakes crows across it,
Starlings cluster to feed, cluster to the latch
When you throw stale crumbs out the window.
Occasionally a pigeon catches wind
But this day has the feeling about it of things going right—
A choir of arrival at gilded gates,
Owl hoots of flexible neck, swan beating
Wing against snowy breast in a hymn.
The closest living relatives of angels.
Neither partridge paean nor dithyramb dove
Are absent, and we wear the vulture’s blessing
In circlets of gold which he weaves his way across
The median of our minds in—scavenger’s perambulations.
Robin redbreast plays trickster on asphalt to
The childhood tunes whose melodies you only
Remember when he dives inquisitive,
Camouflaged amid reddening maple.
Woodpecker makes rude jokes at our expense
Unheard beyond that distant electric cross.
Nightjar skims as bat across water where
Moonlight gloss refracts rustling leaves.
No sign of Aristophanes; this is not a day for
Satire. This is a day
For the peaceful sighs
Of a kestrel’s wings as I imagine them.
Oriole amid branches that are naked roots reaching
For heaven. Epic. Indigenous to the skies.
Lark, falcon, and nightingale eschew
My sounds, the hawk will not hear it.
To my call the cormorant does not reply,
But my skin is warmed by wings.
(Their harmonies undo me.)
Feature image: StockPholio.com
Read also: other articles by Willow Loveday Little
Willow Loveday Little is Montreal-based writer and poet whose work has appeared in The Dalhousie Review and on Write or Die Tribe. She holds a Bachelor of Arts from McGill University and is a contributor to Graphite Publications and Medium. You can find her on Medium, or at Instagram handle @willowloveday