Saturday, June 21, 2014
Poetry Review Special Feature: "To the songbirds who spurned my feeder" by Carolyn Martin
Songs of Eretz Poetry Review is pleased to present "To the songbirds who spurned my feeder" by Carolyn Martin, the president of VoiceCatcher, a nonprofit that connects, inspires and empowers women writers and artists in greater Portland, Oregon and Vancouver, Washington. She is otherwise blissfully retired in Clackamas, Oregon where she gardens, writes, and plays with creative colleagues. Her poetry has appeared in publications such as Stirring, Antiphon, Persimmon Tree, and The Mojave River Review.
To the songbirds who spurned my feeder
the Copper Triple Tube, we had a deal.
You’d breakfast in tranquility, spread notes
around our cul-de-sac, return
for evening snacks, and sing, of course,
your best for me. But I thought wrong.
You’ve scavenged through my annuals,
electing seeds – prosaic and alive –
in lieu of mixtures trendy and refined;
refused to jump from ground to rim
before the winter storms set in
to shut my garden down.
I’ve cut my loss and hurt, and stashed
the copper with my thistle sacks.
See the note tacked on the vacant pole:
“We’re closed. Gone south. Enjoy the seedless snow.”
Poet's Notes: A first-time birdhouse purchaser, I was reveling in my newfound generosity to the birds that fill my trees with song. The top-quality thistle I offered was, I thought, a surefire invitation to dine in my backyard in style. However, day after day, I watched the birds eat organic seeds scattered on the ground and ignore my "refined" fare above. I found myself getting angrier and angrier until I realized I had a poem in this scenario. The "cold-as-winter" ending is purposeful -- although I'm sure dedicated birders would rightfully argue this was not the wisest course of action.
Editor's Note: I enjoy the lilting rhythm and near rhymes that Ms. Martin weaves into her free verse, as well as the interesting conceit of eschewing the "drive through" in favor of organic local produce. As a fellow backyard birder, I also enjoy the topic and appreciate her frustration.