Thursday, February 14, 2013

A Poem: The Underworld

I found the following poem on The Writer's Almanac.  It reminds me so much of my experience with my bird feeders.  When we first moved to Virginia, we rented an old farmhouse from Bill's great aunt and uncle.  I hung a bird feeder in the tree next to our back door and just outside the window of our family room.  I loved to watch the wide assortment of birds come to eat.  When we finally completed our house and were able to move to our own farm, I hung out a feeder and waited...and waited...and waited.  There were no birds.  Later we realized the lack of birds was due to the lack of insects and that was due to the way the earth had been abused, decade after decade, with the growing of tobacco using conventional methods.  Now, since we've carefully tended the land, the insects are back (both the good and the bad) and the birds are here, as well.  No more silent spring for us.

The Underworld
by Sharon Bryan

When I lived in the foothills
birds flocked to the feeder:

house finches, goldfinches,
skyblue lazuli buntings,

impeccably dressed chickadees,
sparrows in work clothes, even

hummingbirds fastforwarding
through the trees. Some of them

disappeared after a week, headed
north, I thought, with the sun.

But the first cool day
they were back, then gone,

then back, more reliable
than weathermen, and I realized

they hadn't gone north at all,
but up the mountain, as invisible

to me as if they had flown
a thousand miles, yet in reality

just out of sight, out of reach—
maybe at the end of our lives

the world lifts that slightly
away from us, and returns once

or twice to see if we've refilled
the feeder, if we still remember it,

or if we've taken leave
of our senses altogether.


shoreacres said...

It just occurred to me you might enjoy this link to Phoebe. The link is to a marvelous streaming webcam showing a hummingbird nest. This is Phoebe's second brood of the year, and the last time I was there she'd just laid her second egg. It's truly wonderful!

shoreacres said...

Whoops. Let me try that link to the webcam again.

Cherie said...

Shoreacres, thanks for the link. I couldn't see it this morning due to the time difference - I'll have to check later in the day.