A Poetry of Birds: Poems About Birds
and the Photographs that Inspired Them

A Poetry Of BirdsWhy You Want It:

Spotting birds in the wild, especially uncommon and visually striking species, is thrilling. But birding can be challenging—particularly for people with physical limitations—and frustrating for anyone who wants to observe and admire birds at length. To avoid becoming prey, many bird species seldom hold still, so closely studying and appreciating them is often difficult and sometimes impossible. Also, with their visual gifts, birds are skilled at “spotting the spotter” and taking evasive action.

So I was happy to get the chance to “watch” birds close up and in detail when I began receiving emailed photos from Ron LeValley, a northern California photographer, biologist, and naturalist.

Now I could sit at leisure with a different bird species every day and get to know it more intimately than would ever be possible in the wild. In time, my responses to these photos and
the birds they portrayed became intense enough to generate the poems in this book. Your responses to the photos may differ from mine, but these very differences will excite your imagination and enrich your reading experience. Whatever your responses, you will find pleasure and inspiration in A Poetry of Birds.

How You Get it:

Order a deluxe hardback copy of A Poetry of Birds (signed  if desired) on glossy paper (which makes the photos really pop!) for $23.95 ($18.95 US plus 5.00 S&H) via PayPal:

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What’s In It—Sample Poems and Photos

Red-breasted Merganser

I’ve seen your similar in human form
cruise the veggie aisle in a supermarket
near the kinky heart of Haight-Ashbury.
Willowy, goth-garbed boy or girl with
spiky black mohawk matching yours and
lipstick red as your scarlet beak, he or she
lacked only your crimson eye, white patches,
and the auburn chest that inspired your name.

Your colors, though stunning, aren’t unique.
They’re deployed by males and even females
of many species, proof the need to mate
drives evolution and culture to paroxysms of beauty
unreachable without the fierce, dense flame
in the loins lit by living matter’s thrust
to make itself anew—forcing mute expression
of shapes and colors lovelier than any poetry
meant to spur the same desire as sexy feathers.

Red-breasted Merganser


Bullock’s Oriole

Dancing, still, round-breasted girl
washed with gray and orange cream,
pretty but not delicate—compact and ultra-
alert, you cock your beak like a weapon
and boldly stare, one who dares and has no fear.
You’re less emphatic than your mate
whose body’s thinner and more sharply vivid:
flame orange head, neck, and belly,
jet-black upper back, wings, tail, and crown.
Different, but his gaze too is all challenge.
Agile gleaner of woodland canopies,
upside-down you stretch from branches
to weave sack-nests of grass and bark
lined with mammal fur and moss.
Insects, fruit, and nectar are your share.
Faithful for a season—whistling, chortling, scolding—
you both rear the young and chase off predators.
Sexual adventurers, across the Midwest and East
you've hybridized with Baltimore cousins.
Though no angels, you may have an aureole.

Bullock’s Oriole


Black-bellied Plover

Who so unobservantly misnamed you?
Your belly is pale to tan in patches
beneath brown and white latticed wings, all
atop gray stilt legs nearly as long as the rest.
Only your stubby beak and tail are black.
So nearly a sphere, your smallish form
seems a midsized ball propped on sticks
by a bored kid just passing time
as the sea of time washes over,
framing for inspection him and me.
Except, from that alertly cocked head
your round black eye lances a rearward gaze
that sets me so aback that, fixed in air,
I cannot move, held by the power there, and
dare not, despite your size, diminish you