Monday, August 05, 2013



                                     The Martin House

Here by the pond the mosquitoes need quelling.
A high-rise birdhouse is the requisite dwelling.
But try as I might the squatters come flying
And now there is mayhem – it’s all very trying.
There’s indignant chatter instead of song,
from the martin-less house above my lawn.
The starling struts through the sparrows’ parlor,
ignoring their pleas, ignoring their holler.

A piece of their bedding he holds in his beak.
His head’s cocked askew to measure their pique.
On to the front porch he pushes his way
and spits out their mattress in order to say:

“Birds of a feather may all get along,
but my elegant black trumps your dowdy brown.
Pack up your eggs and pack up your straw!
I’m soon moving in with my elegant frau.”

I could force a truce in this feathery fray
by removing the roost to stow it away.
But I’ve taken a pass on the martins’ sagacity.
(They stay well away from such rapacity.)

No, I’ll go on from season to season,
watching this skirmish for no purposeful reason,
except to muse at these feathered pairs,
squabbling over what isn’t theirs.

Catherine Wilson