Wednesday, March 31, 2021
Sunday, March 28, 2021
Saturday, March 27, 2021
Poetry Sunday: Poem to the First Generation of People to Exist After the Death of the English Language by Billy Collins
English a dead language? Well, perhaps in a world where people increasingly seem to communicate by emoji or by a series of letters which one has to consult Google's Urban Dictionary in order to understand what they mean, it may not be too far a stretch of the imagination. Certainly, Billy Collins' imagination stretches that far.
Poem to the First Generation of People to Exist After the Death of the English Language
by Billy Collins
I’m not going to put a lot of work into this
because you won’t be able to read it anyway,
and I’ve got more important things to do
this morning, not the least of which
is to try to write a fairly decent poem
for the people who can still read English.
Who could have foreseen English finding
a place in the cemetery of dead languages?
I once imagined English placing flowers
at the tombstones of its parents, Latin and Anglo-Saxon,
but you people can actually visit its grave
on a Sunday afternoon if you still have days of the week.
I remember the story of the last speaker,
of Dalmatian being tape-recorded in his hut
as he was dying under a horse-hair blanket.
But English? English seemed for so many of us
the only true way to describe the world
as if reality itself were English
and Adam and Eve spoke it in the garden
using words like snake, apple, and perdition.
Of course, there are other words for things
but what could be better than boat,
pool, swallow (both the noun and the verb),
statuette, tractor, squiggly, surf, and underbelly?
I’ve wasted too much time on this already.
You carry on however you do
without the help of English, communicating
with dots in the air or hologram hats or whatever.
You’re just like all the ones who say
they can’t understand poetry
but at least you poor creatures have an excuse.
So I’m going to turn the page
and not think about you and your impoverishment.
Instead, I’m going to write a poem about red poppies
waving by the side of the railroad tracks,
and you people will never even know what you’re missing.
Friday, March 26, 2021
"This week in birds" is taking the day off to celebrate the blogger's husband's birthday. We'll be back as usual next weekend. In the meantime, I hope you have an opportunity to be outdoors enjoying the birds and the environment and that you will remember to take whatever action is in your power to protect them both.
Wednesday, March 24, 2021
Monday, March 22, 2021
Saturday, March 20, 2021
Spring and Wordsworth just seem to go together. While spring may be the favorite season of most Nature poets, I can't think of anyone who wrote more poems that reference spring than Wordsworth. And so, even though I have featured this poem here before, it seems worth repeating. The sentiments it expresses never really grow old or stale.by William Wordsworth
Friday, March 19, 2021
A roundup of the week's news of birds and the environment:
Wednesday, March 17, 2021
Monday, March 15, 2021
As you may have heard, Southeast Texas, and indeed much of the southeastern corner of the country suffered an unusual and devastating freeze in February. For several days and nights, the temperatures hovered in the teens and low twenties (Fahrenheit), an event that our gardens with their many tropical plants are not generally meant to endure. On the coldest night, the temperature actually went down to nine degrees according to the thermometer on my back porch and if it was nine degrees on my sheltered back porch, it was probably colder out in my yard. After it was all over, my garden looked as though it had been swept by fire. It was all brown and black. I wondered if I would ever see green again.
But that was then, this is now.
(Thanks to Carol of May Dreams Gardens.)
Saturday, March 13, 2021
I remember from long ago the Vincent Price movie that Cornelius Eady writes about here and man, was it scary! Possibly not as scary though as the racist bone. But it may well be that, as Eady says, we never believe that we have it in us - the Tingler or the racist bone - until the pincers close around us.
Friday, March 12, 2021
A roundup of the week's news of birds and the environment:Many of our avian winter visitors are beginning to move on now that spring temperatures have arrived in our area, but the Cedar Waxwings are still with us. I photographed this one in my next-door neighbor's pear tree which is just beginning to bloom. A fairly large flock of the waxwings have been enjoying a feast in my yard over the last couple of weeks. Most of the berries that they normally dine on are gone now but when our February freeze came, there were still a large number of oranges on my two orange trees. The freeze spoiled them for human consumption but that hasn't bothered the waxwings. They have been eagerly consuming the fruit. I'm just glad I didn't hurry to clean up after the freeze. Sometimes procrastination pays.
Wednesday, March 10, 2021
Monday, March 8, 2021
Saturday, March 6, 2021
Of all the poems I read over the past week, this was the one that really grabbed me. I hope it grabs you, too, because...
"When you paused for a poem
it could reshape the day"
Every day as a wide field, every page