Loving Birds

Why do I love birds?  Once on a family vacation I found a Pheasant feather and Peacock feather.  I remember treasuring these for a long time and now wonder when I lost them.  I remember my Dad trying to help me see Orioles around our cabin in Central Alberta.  I was enamored with Magpies, even though my Grandma told me, with a scowl, how awful they were.  There was this fabulous Saturday in a school yard in Lethbridge, on a windy day, when a flock of Seagulls just hung in the air seemingly static, flapping but not moving, like they were in a wind tube.  They would spread wings, ascend, hang and then return to the ground — of course I wanted to as well.

As my friend Denice and I were shuttling emails back and forth, writing the poem that appears below, we recounted how our Dads were both amateurs of nature and taking us along instilled in us a love for creation and God’s creatures.  feathersPerhaps choosing birds for Lent is rather obvious; we continue to be formed in the manner in which we were formed; I still collect feathers and I still get up early in the morning as my Dad did, which is the best time to hear and appreciate birdsong.  So to honour earthly fathers and our heavenly Father who created birds for our pleasure, here’s a poem we wrote to celebrate our love for birds.

The Persian poets are renowned for love poems – Rumi, Hafiz.  One poetry style that they gifted us with is the Ghazal.  Features of the Ghazal include, a series of couplets consisting of at least five and not more than 15 stanzas, a refrain, which appears at the end of both lines of stanza one and the second line of every stanza following, an internal rhyme scheme (or in our case some internal assonance), and a signing off by the author(s).

For those who know us, can you tell which birds are Laurel’s and which are Denice’s…try your luck and win a new car (or not) post your guess in the comments below…

Bird Sanctuarycrossbill

Darting Divas of the morning sing your song
Cadenza’s trill and Aria warbling, for song.

Crossbills spill their colours, reds and yellowy greens,
Polychromatic cone-lovers “jip-jipping” coniferous songs.

Shadow sounds sieve through willow branches,
Moody coos and murmurs, shape her mourning song.

Midnight feathered fingers conduct his agile flight
In pumping baritone Crowing a hoarse song.

See sky Swans blue-screened in flight formation
grace and power, trumpet call, a courtly song.


Lacey skeleton, elaborated muscle structure, down,kinglet
Each a score in the miraculous, sourcing song.

Ruby-crowned and twitterpated suitor in the brush
A Kinglet out a’courting with a troubadour song.


Snow ghosnowyst, supremely perched, locks his golden eyes,
dares the distance, taloned, with a shrill carnivorous song.

Burning half his body weight in flight, his resolute
Wings, diminutively pinioned, hum a courage song.


Blurred together, inky brushstrokes winged red and goldbrushstrokes
Whistling blackbirds, frenetic life, reinforce song.

Now Denice, please sit still. This is a bird sanctuary.
And Laurel, gather the flock in a final chorus song.

© 2016 Laurel Archer, Denice Bezoplenko

Featured picture credit: Violet Nesdoly © 2016, Sky Swans and Assorted Feathers © Laurel Archer, All others, Pixabay.com

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