NestDecoration3Attendees gathered on May 6 to read and discuss Poetry and Birds. Hawks, hummingbirds, swans, herons, ravens, even nameless or soon-to-be-extinct birds made appearances in May’s poems. Many of the birds were found to be metaphors for the narrator, omens of death, or heralds of a new view of life. The bird was frequently an object of contemplation, leading the narrator and the reader to experience a moment of beauty.

Abigail began the evening by reading Emily Brontë’s “The Caged Bird” in which the narrator makes a connection between the caged bird and herself wanting freedom, but concludes with the equation of freedom and death, “To-morrow both shall soar away/Eternally, entirely Free.”

Roger read “The Raven” by Edgar Allan Poe which we all enjoyed hearing with its alliterations, strange rhymes, repeated words, and the increasingly dark nature of the events described once the Raven enters through the narrator’s chamber door and quoths, “Nevermore.”

Betsey read Emily Dickinson’s, “The Secret” an enigmatic poem that considers things that fly (birds, hours, the bumble-bee) and things that stay (grief, hills, eternity), but “Can I expound the skies?/How still the riddle lies!”

Gail read “Great Blue Heron” by T. Alan Broughton which compares the narrator at day’s end, cooking fish and chilling wine, with the bird, “slowly descending to his nest, wise as he was/or ever will be filling each moment with that moment’s/act or silence, and the evening folds itself around me.”

Maddy read “Hummingbird Pauses at the Trumpet Vine” by Mary Oliver which urges her readers to take advantage of the present moment while they still can, “Look! and then we will be/like the pale cool/stones, that last almost/forever.”

Erica brought us joy by reciting John Keats’s “Ode to a Nightingale” in which the narrator examines the bird and seeks answers to his own problems, until he concludes, “Was it a vision, or a waking dream?/Fled is that music:—do I wake or sleep?”

Stan read “The Hawk in the Rain” by Ted Hughes in which the mighty hawk is overwhelmed by the weather, “The horizon traps him; the round angelic eye/Smashed, mix his heart’s blood with the mire of the land.”

AnnaLee completed the circle by reading “Darwin’s Finches” by Deborah Digges with its images of birds transforming our waste, “I’ve seen plastics stripped and whittled/into a brilliant straw,/and newspapers—the dates, the years—/supporting the underweavings.”

Larry posted Randall Jarrell’s “The Mockingbird” on our blog. This describes the bird’s unusual behavior concluding, “He imitates the world he drove away/so well for a minute, in the moonlight,/which one’s the mockingbird? which one’s the world?” In a mystifying moment, the mockingbird becomes all.

We look forward to seeing old friends and new in the fall. Here’s the lineup:

September 9: Poetry and Cats and Dogs.
October 14: Poetry and the Ode.
November 4: Poetry and Politics
December 9: Poetry and Drink

And don’t forget to blog with us here at Don’t be shy.

Abigail Burnham Bloom and
AnnaLee Wilson

The One Page Poetry Circle is sponsored by the New York Public Library and is open to all. St. Agnes Branch Library is handicap accessible.