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Seven swallows

pecking seeds

chasing chickadees

and bickering

A surly sparrow

not necessarily the strongest

but the meanest

strikes back

at the circle of others


not him

but whatever he is

A mourning dove appears

and with its zig zagged peck

begins striking seeds

and wallowing with the seven swallows

then another dove arrives

and the circle of swallows

pulls itself tight

each in position


ready for flight

when the inevitable agression begins

the seven swallows escape

while the surly sparrow stays

it scurries beneath the fence of the balcony

then returns to the doves and scatters seeds

for a few moments the doves ignore him

only stopping to stare

with their beaks crossing T’s and dotting I’s

as if connecting the points

of a segmented line

one dove stops

in muted agitation


there is a vibration

to the stillness of motion

that the doves share

and for which I am aware

and that the sparrow is aware

And as one dove rushes

the surly sparrow flies away


This came out as a parable but I don’t intend it as such. When I write things like this in a poem like this it usually has a source of experience that provides the inspiration. I give the wild birds the leftovers from my household birds and observe them outside my window. The inspiration I get from natural events sometimes takes me for a magic carpet ride where I feel musical, and much like a songbird, I blurt various rhythms with the sounds available to me.


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