Two Poems about Vultures

Please don’t take this too seriously. I know the poems are over anthropomorphizing birds here. I have elsewhere been a tad more serious about the subject.

I guess this post fits both the birding and the poetry categories! If I really wanted to stretch it I could say that it also works with the Father section because these poems are purported to be for children. Sigh, but my boys are in their teens up to twenty, and I don’t think I ever read either of these to them.

By the way, it is National Poetry month in the United States, so do something to celebrate the occaision. Here are some ideas from the Academy of American Poets!

I sometimes have the flip camera and tripod in my bag when I feel inspiration approaching, like Stafford’s furring of little snow flakes out there in the atmosphere, heading my way. It served me well, despite a few interruptions and distractions the other night when the restaurant biz slowed down. So I hiked upstairs to the balcony and started recording. You’ll notice the pause between poems when an innocent bar customer passed below me toward the ladies room. Later in another video, the bartender was scared witless when she heard my voice from somewhere, saying “shit that didn’t even make sense!”

I guess I was a bit hard on the anthology, On Wings of Song. It’s gotten great reviews by poets and birders alike. I was just annoyed that Tennyson’s Eagle was not in the Birds of Prey section and that Hawks was another section, as if Hawks were not in fact birds of prey… yeah, I was being a prissy ass, wasn’t I? Well, I might have been alright with the section being changed to “Other Birds of Prey,” since it only featured only Vultures, Corbies and Kytes, but then again, such a great gathering of poems in a little pocket sized hardback probably was a bit tough to put into an order to satisfy every category. I just hope you guys don’t take my ranting and raving too seriously. It’s a great wee book, and I am looking forward to reviewing more from Billy Collins’ anthology Bright Wings as well.

The two poems are sweet little anthropomorphic bits that are fun to read, especially for kids. Hilaire Belloc’s poem is from his sequel to “Bad Child’s Book of Beasts,” “More Beasts for Worse Children.” It was at one time prominently posted on my refrigerator. I should perhaps post it there again.


by X.J. Kennedy

The vulture’s very like a sack

Set down and left there drooping.

His crooked neck and creaky back

Look badly bent from stooping.

Down to the ground to eat dead cows

So they won’t go to waste

Thus making up in usefulness

For what he lacks in taste.

“The Vulture”

by Hillaire Belloc

The Vulture eats between his meals,

And that’s the reason why

He very, very, rarely feels

As well as you and I.

His eye is dull, his head is bald,

His neck is growing thinner.

Oh! what a lesson for us all

To only eat at dinner!

2 Comments Add yours

  1. Vincent says:

    I have those two volumes beside my bed at the minute… read The Daliance Of The Eagles… by your mate Walt the other night……. I so love the D word!


    1. sonofwalt says:

      I know you have them! 🙂 Your hubby was telling people on your side of the pond to ask me what you might like when it comes to poetry. So I suggested to Maddie what I was thinking of for myself. Haha… I LOVE “The Dalliance of Eagles.” Bird sex, yup.


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