I know it sounded strange to some of you when I said in my last post that it had been a long weekend, and I was ready for a break. But my true “weekend” doesn’t generally happen until Sunday or, as in the case of this present week, Monday. And boy, do I need it. I’ve been thinking tomorrow or Tuesday should include some wilderness and birding, but I have no firm plan at all as of yet.
And since I have birds on the brain, and since I mentioned Naomi Shihab Nye’s poem, “Ted Kooser Is My President,” I decided to look at his website, TedKooser.net and see if there was a nice outdoorsy poem to read for this 14th day of my recording project for Poetry Month. Well, wouldn’t you know, there on his home page is a poem called “Screech Owl.” Perfect.
Have you ever heard a Screech Owl? Sometimes their calls are like trills or warbles, but I knew just what he meant when he used the word “whinny.” Sometimes it’s called begging, though I won’t get into the birds and the bees stuff too deeply just now. But I tell you, there are few things more lovely to hear when you are camping in Penn’s Woods, or in Ted’s case, Nebraska, than the sounds of one of these munchkins off in the trees somewhere in the distance, except perhaps two of them calling to each other. You can read up on these itty-bitty creatures of the night woods on All About Birds, and listen to their whinny call by clicking right here. More noises from larger members of the owl family at Lerner.org here.
All night each reedy whinny
from a bird no bigger than a heart
flies out of a tall black pine
and, in a breath, is taken away
by the stars. Yet, with small hope
from the center of darkness
it calls out again and again.
From his book Delights & Shadows, winner of the 2005 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry
- Bonus Track, and a Few Words from Naomi Shihab Nye (dadpoet.wordpress.com)
- Baby screech owls rescued from Erie street (goerie.com)
- Poetry by Former U.S. Poet Laureate Ted Kooser in Summer Anthology (silverbirchpress.wordpress.com)
- Poetry Reading: Ted Kooser (voidpoetry.com)
- Flying at Night: Poems 1965-1985 (wordwabbit.wordpress.com)
- ‘a winter morning’ (ornithicwandering.wordpress.com)