My life is about living with nature – here you can live it with me!

Posts tagged “Poetry

Roger Tory Peterson

Roger Tory Peterson
Born: 28 August 1908 Birthplace: Jamestown, New York

” . . . the man who made America
a nation of birdwatchers.”

William Zinsser
Writer and Critic

Your dashes are arrows
in A Field Guide to the Birds, the green-bound “Peterson”
tucked into belts, pushed into pockets, stuffed into backpacks

Arrows that lead eyes of millions,
squinting through binoculars,
to the red-brown cap and black “stick-pin”
identifying the passerine in snowy branches.
“That’s it,” the new birder exclaims,
pulls out list, checks off the “Winter Chippy,”
American Tree Sparrow

Arrows that glide to crest and black necklace of Blue Jay,
“golden slippers” of Snowy Egret,
yellow “spectacles,” black sideburns, of Kentucky Warbler,
purple throat, green crown, decurved bill of Lucifer Hummingbird,
white tail tip of Eastern Kingbird.
The Bald Eagle with white head and tail is “all field mark.”

In the salt marsh in May, the birder thinks “Life Bird?”
Focuses on shorebird
prodding mud flat with Short-billed Dowitchers,
Red Knots, Ruddy Turnstones. Greater Yellowlegs,
Semipalmated and Least Sandpipers,
Semi-palmated and Black-bellied Plovers.
She has identified all with the dried, wrinkled pages of her “Peterson.”

She studies what she knows to be a plover,
concentrates glasses on this bird feeding
by greening shoots of Spartina grass.
Again, she stares at your art,
your arrow guide slanting to the back.
She rereads your description:
“spangled with golden spots above.”

Suddenly, her freckled face is a loud smile,
her whisper a bursting
“Golden Plover!”

Field Guide, 1996
The Roger Peterson Institute of Natural History

By Maxwell Corydon Wheat, Jr. ©

Pileated Woodpecker [Poem]

Pileated Woodpecker

Pileated Woodpecker

dressed for his coronation
in ebony cape,
ermine trim,
scarlet-crested crown.
But would royalty be caught
backing down a dead hickory?

By: Maxwell Corydon Wheat, Jr ©


Monarch Butterfly [Poem]

Mon@rch and its Milkweed

Monarch Butterflies

Regal autumn travelers

robed for mediaeval pageantry
in velvet orange and black

Moving in great procession

on tissue wings
from Canada to Monterey, the Sierra Madre

The North American Continent a court for this lepidoptery

By: Maxwell Corydon Wheat, Jr ©


New-tropical Migrants [Poem]

Chestnut-sided Warbler

New-tropical Migrants

We have always seen warblers
as brilliancies of the North Woods:

lemon yellow of Black-throated Green
flame wings and tail of American Redstart

But the Redstart is Cuba’s “Little Candelita,”
the Black-throated Green flies his colors from Ecuador

Our boreal yellows, reds, blues are tropical,
burnt orange of Blackburnian,
orange-red of Bay-breasted

What do we send back?
Blackburnian with only the yellow,
Bay-breasted, Blackpoll, Pine we can not tell apart – –
“Confusing Fall Warblers.”

Color them up, we say.
Paint back the cheeks and flanks of Chestnut-sided,
brighten back the pigments of Black-throated Blue

Send these warblers back.
On the Big Day in May
in Sugar Maple and Tamarack
we will check off glories of the rain forest

By: Maxwell Corydon Wheat, Jr ©


Lets Go for Bluebirds [Poem]

New Neighbor

“Let’s Go for Bluebirds!”

Grandfather would call on a March morning,
snow sparkling in the sun.
Pulling on his wool cap,
He’d lead me down the cow path,
crusts of ice crackling under our boots

“Wait. Let’s look around,” he’d whisper
when we reached the orchard,
searched rows of apple trees,
gray trunks gnarled,
branches craggy

If I heard the singer,
blue-backed, red-breasted thrush,
I waited for Grandfather to point,
trying to keep his voice to a hoarse whisper,
“There he is. On that high branch.”
And what did he always add?
“A piece of sky has landed in the trees!”

By: Maxwell Corydon Wheat, Jr ©


Nature Haiku [Poem]

Photo by Marg (thanks Marg)

Nature Haiku

Mockingbird at night
would disturb the universe
and sing forever

By: Maxwell Corydon Wheat, Jr ©


Redstart [Poem]

American Redstart


Fiesta flashes
of vermilion orange
flung from flaming tail,
fire wings
of Cuba’s “Little Candelita”
plummeting upward
in Canadian green
of long spruce
under which
our eyes

By: Maxwell Corydon Wheat, Jr ©


Red Tailed Hawk [Poem]

Flying Red Tail

Red tailed Hawk

Her shrill “kee-er-r-r” startles the air
The raptor soars above Allegany State Park
Her span of wings
floats on warm push of thermal column
Her fanned-out tail glows from the solar cauldron
The God-hawk radiates over the Cosmos

By: Maxwell Corydon Wheat, Jr ©