Under the Poetry Tree, Reading Vultures Out Loud

Turkey Vulture
Turkey Vulture (Photo credit: Jim Bahn)

Wait. Strike that. Reverse it.

But on second thought, I think the title works quite well, as we gather under the poetry tree to read about vultures to each other, and something about them, a truth never heard spoken, but that rings true to the core. That’s what poetry is about.

Tonight I found this quote over at The Poetry Question (I’ll come back to that wonderful blog, and this favorite topic of mine soon!) from Audre Lourde “. . . it is through poetry that we give name to those ideas which are—until the poem—nameless and formless, about to be birthed, but already felt.” And that’s what this poem by David Bottoms does for this lover of birds of prey.

So this is my answer to John Nooney’s Weekly Reading Out Loud Challenge on Poetically Versed. I loved his choice for this week, and like to imagine he had my birding hobbies at least a little in mind when he chose this. If you enjoy reading poems out loud, I encourage you to try recording the poem yourself first, before listening to my reading or John’s. This whole exercise is to draw out of us some of the many interpretations that can come from divergent readings of poems. You might see something in a poem that I didn’t see, and it might come out in your inflection or your tone, or the lightness or seriousness with which your voice strokes the words.

So I encourage you to go to John’s poetry blog and read the poem, or read it below, then record it in your own voice. Don’t fuss over this too much, it’s just for practice and fun, and there are few things better than reading poems out loud, so don’t get hung up. I’ll even include the words below, but don’t let our interpretations influence yours. Read yours first, then listen to ours and go back to link your recording (on Soundcloud, YouTube or whatever venue you prefer) to John’s post. My reading is below the text here on this page, and John’s reading is on his page.

Have fun! I can’t wait to hear your version.


11 Comments Add yours

  1. slpmartin says:

    Wow…what an excellent reading! You have a wonderful ability to breathe life into a poem…thanks for this Sunday morning treat.


    1. I always have my morning coffee sometime after you, and once I’ve stumbled to the keyboard, you are always there to cheer me. I raise my mug to you in thanks!


  2. Very nice reading, David. Thank you for sharing this poem on your blog!


  3. John says:

    Nice reading, Mr Poetry Guru. And, thanks for the support…

    Yes, I’ll admit, there was a bit of a hat-tip in your direction, re: birds. Butm I ran across this poem last week, and it blew me away. The ending, which you so wonderfully describe with Audre’s quote … there’s something about the ending that’s haunting, yet strangely beautiful.

    And, your reading — well, you just have a great voice, for starters. You could make the phonebook sound good.

    Thanks for helping me out with this … my goal for this week is to get at least one more reading (other than you and I) …. I figure if we can get at least one more each week, we’ll be off an rolling in no time! 🙂


    1. I would like to hear this read by a woman with a British or Irish accent. Hint hint, you two know who you are. 😉

      And thank you for your kind compliment. The poem was a joy, unexpectedly perfect.


  4. John says:

    Reblogged this on Poetically Versed and commented:
    A submission (by none other than my Poetry Guru), for this week’s Weekly Reading Challenge. Thanks, David, for the recording!

    Now, the rest of you … we’re dying to hear your recording of this great poem!


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