Tuesday, April 27, 2021

Slice of Life Tuesday: NPM Day 27, Ordinary Birds


This year for National Poetry Month, I've been writing about tabs I have open on my desktop, and then - I know it's revolutionary - closing those tabs! I've done a remarkable job closing tabs, and I'm pretty pleased with myself. But there are some bird tabs still open. Some of them are going to stay open, like eBird (I use it constantly). And my Bird Academy tab (some courses I'm taking) will stay. But I could probably close this one: Cities: How Do Some Birds Thrive There? And maybe this one: BirdsCaribbean. And this one from March 2020 on how birds would make it easier to get through lockdown.


I decided that since my bird tabs aren't strictly speaking poetry tabs, I'd write a bird poem to represent them. And since this is a Slice of Life post, what better subject than Ordinary Birds?


Ordinary Birds

The ordinary birds matter most,
the ones you see every day,
the ones that come to mind when you think the word “bird,”
the bird sounds you knew before you paid attention to bird sounds,

just as the meals you eat every day
matter more than Thanksgiving Dinner
when it comes to keeping you alive.

For me, birding here in Port-au-Prince,
the city birds like the Rock Pigeons matter most,
the House Sparrows and Mourning Doves,
the noisy Palmchats.
The Bananaquits and the Black-crowned Palm Tanagers
matter most.

Someone who grew up here
tells me that when he was a child,
he used to see flamingos downtown,
and when I hear that I long for a flash of bright pink
as I’m commuting.
But how would I even know that was unusual
unless I knew my ordinary, everyday birds?

The White-necked Crows squawking in that tree
matter most,
the Hispaniolan Woodpecker, handsome in yellow and black,
matters most.

Look up now.
What do you see?
That’s what matters most.


This is the ninth year of the Progressive Poem! See the schedule below to find where to go for today's line and to see who's participating this year.

April 1 Kat Apel at Kat Whiskers
2 Linda Mitchell at A Word Edgewise
3 Mary Lee at A Year of Reading
4 Donna Smith at Mainly Write
5 Irene Latham at Live your Poem
6 Jan Godown Annino at BookseedStudio
7 Rose Cappelli at Imagine the Possibilities
8 Denise Krebs at Dare to Care
9 Margaret Simon at Reflections on the Teche
10 Molly Hogan at Nix the Comfort Zone
11 Buffy Silverman
12 Janet Fagel at Reflections on the Teche
13 Jone Rush MacCulloch
14 Susan Bruck at Soul Blossom Living
15 Wendy Taleo at Tales in eLearning
16 Heidi Mordhorst at my juicy little universe
17 Tricia Stohr Hunt at The Miss Rumphius Effect
18 Linda Baie at Teacher Dance
19 Carol Varsalona at Beyond Literacy Link
20 Robyn Hood Black at Life on the Deckle Edge
21 Leigh Anne Eck at A Day in the Life
22 Ruth Hersey at There is No Such Thing as a God-forsaken Town
23 Janice Scully at Salt City Verse
24 Tabatha Yeatts at The Opposite of Indifference
25 Shari Daniels at Islands of my Soul
26 Tim Gels at Yet There is Method at https://timgels.com
27 Rebecca Newman
28 Catherine Flynn at Reading to the Core
29 Christie Wyman at Wondering and Wondering
30 Michelle Kogan at More Art 4 All


Denise Krebs said...

Ruth, I love your poem and the true (but neglected) thought that these ordinary ones are the important birds.

Favorite thoughts I'm taking away:

just as the meals you eat every day
matter more than Thanksgiving Dinner


But how would I even know that was unusual
unless I knew my ordinary, everyday birds?

Karen J. McLean said...

This poem is so lovely, not only in its message but in its description. Your "ordinary birds" are extraordinary to me, living as I do on the east coast of Canada. I feel the need to look up some of your feathered friends.

Linda B said...

As I read your post I kept thinking of the line "a life well lived" & in that, it is that one counts the "everyday" as a blessing, the "ordinary birds". Beautifully written, Ruth! Thanks for the reminder of what's important!

Fran Haley said...

I must post new pictures of my ordinary birds soon, Ruth- the batch of baby finches in the nest on my front door wreath. Can uou imagine seeing flamingoes downtown?? Loved this poem so much, both form and content!