Monday 30 April 2018

Poetry Monday: In The Yard

It's Poetry Monday, which isn't news for anybody who has been reading here for at least two weeks, but which I shall announce anyway. This week's topic is "in the yard" and you can also visit Diane's and Delores' blogs to see their take on the theme. Feel free to join in, either in the comments or on your own blog, and to use another topic if you wish. There aren't really any rules, which makes this a fun and stress-free exercise!

Did I say stress-free? It really should have been like that.

I started out with the best of intentions. My "in the yard" poem was going to be a conversation between the various birds that visit our feeder, with some invented dialogue to match the kind of song each bird typically uses. And for those of you who don't have the same kinds of birds I do, I was going to include a clip of each of the birds so you could see, sort of, how I came up with the lines of dialogue.

Oh! It was going to be fabulous -- informative, amusing, clever, absolutely delightful!

Then I got lost down another rabbit hole. Holy smokes, people, did you know how many great YouTube videos there are of birds and birdsong and bird identification and bird feeding??

A very large number of great many, to understate the answer.

And in the middle of all of that, I also watched a multi-clip raccoon video, because I'm a sucker for those little guys with the guilty body language and endearing handwashing habit. (Spoiler alert: this is the video that I've already mentioned in another post, where one clip shows a person dumping little fish into a large tub for the raccoon to chase. I can't say for sure whether the raccoon actually caught any fish but I don't think he did. He seemed to be having fun just chasing and catching and releasing . . . but the rest of the clips are so worth it, maybe you could just close your eyes during that one if you feel it may bother you . . .) 

Long story short . . . oh, is it too late for that?

Long story LONG, then. I realized I could not compress everything I wanted to do into the remaining hour I had set aside to complete my post.

So, yer gittin' a pome. ONLY a pome.

And here it is.

And it's not anything like what I started out to write.

* * * * *

In My Yard

Two chickadees flitted to the nearby tree.
Said the first to the second, "Are there any seeds for us?"
Said the second to the first, "Let me check, let me see!"
And he flitted to the feeder with a minimum of fuss.

And they bobbed and they ate
And their manners were first-rate.

Then came Mister Bluejay with his winsome bride,
Instead of just a couple birds, they sounded like a crowd.
They advertised their presence, then they took some seeds to hide,
Never very pushy but they sure aced being loud.

And with a hop, a jump, a peck --
They showed decent etiquette.

The green and yellow finches hurried over as a bunch;
One male and seven ladies all so tiny in the trees;
Took turns upon the feeder so that all could get some lunch;
More quiet and more orderly than any little breeze.

They were cute and pulled no pranks
And every one said "please" and "thanks."

Now, I believe all Nature's birdies -- all her beasties, too --
Deserve a decent meal each day, and with their meal, a drink;
But this I have to say, and it pains me, yes it do:
When I see the blackbirds coming, they make my spirits sink.

They flock here by the thousands, or at least that's how it seems.
They come at any time of day; they hang around for hours.
Their staring yellow eyes are the stuff of awful dreams,
And they argue and they chatter and they fertilize the flowers.

To sum it up, here's what I think:
Blackbirds' manners kind of stink.


Note 1: The kind of blackbird we get here is Brewer's blackbird, but I couldn't fit the whole name into the poem! Here is a website where you can have a good look at my little friends, and listen to their screechy-hinge call: Brewer's Blackbird 

 Note 2: I don't really mind them as much as it sounds from the poem (artistic license and all that). They are quite striking, with their glossy purple heads and green sheen on their bodies. I could do without the beady eyes, but they can't help the kind of eyes they have. I totally get that, given the family nose that I inherited.

Brewer's blackbird (Borrowed from, with thanks)

 And a video taken through my kitchen window:

(Please hang in there for the first part of the video where it seems like nothing is happening. Nothing IS happening, but it will! And around 1:10 you'll get a good look at the blackbird stare. Also, at about 1:37 notice the fellow getting all puffed up. They were doing that a lot for a few days and I'm thinking it might have been a mating display. Now they're just eating, as far as I can see. And eating. And eating . . .)


Wishing you all a good week!

Update:  Next week's topic is . . . rain . . . and I think we're all going to have plenty to say about that . . .


Elephant's Child said...

I hear you. The bright beautiful Rainbow Lorikeets which started visiting us recently have less than no manners. We have started calling them Piggy and Grunter. They love apple. They chase other birds (including the bigger birds) away from the apple. And sometimes become totally torn. They have the apple to themselves. And rush over to chase other birds off the feeder. And then back to defend 'their' apple. And back to the feeder. And back to tha apple.

Yorkshire Pudding said...

In The Yard

Rain or shine
We were out there
Circling -
One foot followed another.
We drank fresh air.
Sometimes you’d see a plane
High up, glinting
Moving inaudibly
Between the clouds
And once I saw
A skein of geese
Migrating south
Before the whistle went
And Dixon
Us back inside
Once more
Locking steel doors
Behind us.

kylie said...

I like it! I'm trying to remember if you read Elephant's Child, you do, right? I like the way you both talk about the bird's manners.
The blackbirds are quite beautiful in their own way

Marie Smith said...

Great poem, Jenny! Loved it.

It looks like the feeder provides constant entertainment!

Steve Reed said...

I like your poem! The personality of the birds really comes through! Those blackbirds don't look so bad, but they're sort of crow-like, aren't they? Our UK blackbirds are daintier, I think.

Martha said...

That was great! And fun. Those blackbirds can make quite a ruckus and even a mess, but I never really minded them when I had bird feeders out at our old home. We haven't put up any yet but will do so this summer. Not sure what kinds of birds will show up but when you offer food, the news seems to travel to all sorts of different types!

only slightly confused said...

Pushy little devils...messy too. Our biggest problem with feeders is the sparrow. They get in there and scratch like little chickens and the stuff goes everywhere.

Red said...

Well, that's an awesome bird pome even if you didn't get the videos added . I'm always amazed at my bird buddies who pull out their phones with the bird apps to look at birds and listen to sounds.

crafty cat corner said...

Love, love the poem.

Starting Over, Accepting Changes - Maybe said...

That was really cute and so spot on. Birds do have their pecking order and those blackbirds seem to win by just their numbers.

Today, I got up and went outside to see how my flowers fared during the cold night. I looked up when I saw a shadow over me. Two big, ugly, turkey vulchers landed on my roof and seemed to be looking down on me. I made sure to keep moving so they would know that there was still life in this old girl yet.

dinthebeast said...

The black birds we get are starlings with the occasional red winged blackbird flying around with them, and they are... numerous. As in when they come around, there's a lot of them.
In Eureka, there was an old Douglas fir snag just across the back fence, and the top ten or so feet of it was dead. When the starlings lit in it the whole bare part was black with them.
The cat used to go nuts about it, but the tree was way too tall for him to climb.
I like the rhyming scheme in your poem, I have used a similar one for a couple of songs a long time ago.
In our back yard, the white butterflies and skinny, blue dragonflies have reappeared, and the peach and pear trees are full of leaves again, and I think I saw a few little green things that will grown into peaches soon.

-Doug in Oakland

jenny_o said...

Oh, my. That's textbook greed right there -- anything you can't use, don't let anyone else use it either!!

jenny_o said...

Nice, YP - quite moving.

jenny_o said...

Yes, indeed, I do read Elephant's Child's blog. She has some very cheeky birds visiting her, too!

I agree about the blackbirds. And everybody has to eat :)

jenny_o said...

It does! And thank you.

jenny_o said...

The blackbirds are crow-like in their pushiness, but smaller in size! Now I need to Google your blackbirds.

jenny_o said...

Word does get around, doesn't it? The first time we ever put a feeder out, about thirty years ago, I suppose, I couldn't believe the birds that came to it. I hadn't seen most of them before in my life ;)

jenny_o said...

The way you describe it, it seems so cute, but I bet the novelty wears off pretty fast :)

jenny_o said...

I have a whole new field to investigate now that I've found the birdsong videos! Thank you for the pome compliment :)

jenny_o said...

Thank you, Briony :)

jenny_o said...

HAHAHA! Good plan, Arleen :)

I hope your flowers made it!

jenny_o said...

I think it's a rule, isn't it, that starlings have to travel by the hundreds??

I'm looking forward to having butterflies and dragonflies around again. It will be a while yet.

That rhyme scheme - it felt really awkward, but it happened to work for the first verse and then I was stuck with it :)

e said...

I love that you get your entertainment and inspiration from nature...

Diane Stringam Tolley said...

I can just hear the hollow ’clang’ of those doors. Shutting all the beauty out!

Diane Stringam Tolley said...

I love the preamble almost as much as the final product! Brilliantly done. And I have to agree...

jenny_o said...

There's so much in nature to be inspired and entertained BY, isn't there?

jenny_o said...

I always thought poetry shouldn't need explained but I seem to do a lot of it :)

jenny_o said...

Just as I hit Publish on that, I realized perhaps that's only GOOD poetry that shouldn't need explained . . . ha ha

Terry said...

Hi Jenny, it’s a nice video. The poem isn’t. bad either.

jenny_o said...

Thanks, Terry - the video wasn't great because it was shot through the window! But I appreciate your encouragement.

Anonymous said...

Hello Jenny, my contribution this week.

In The Yard

There's Scotland Yard in London,
Headquarters of the Met.
Housing National Intelligence Systems,
Solving clues, their suspects to get.

School-yards with noisy children,
Playing games and running around,
Releasing some pent-up energy,
When good behaviour is desk bound.

A Stable-yard is like a horse motel,
With rooms laid out side-by-side.
Plenty of space for care and grooming
And getting ready for a pleasurable ride.

My Grandparents had a front garden,
With lawn and flowers a-plenty.
At the back there was a flag-stoned yard,
With brick walls and a gate for entry.

I am pictured posing there,
As a toddler of one or two.
Quite shy and unaware,
Of what it is I'm supposed to do.

Have a good week Jenny.

Joan (Devon)

Jono said...

I have been a bird lover for many decades, but don't know as much as I should. And I continue to like your poetry.

Lovenicky said...

It's great that there is so much nature in your garden to inspire you. All we have in the suburbs are racoons stealing my garden produce. :-(

jenny_o said...

Thank you for this, Joan - it makes the meaning of UK yard much clearer for me! (And I'm thinking the biggest difference in the way we use the word is the grass - we include it in the yard, and you include it in the garden.) As you have shown, the word encompasses many meanings.

Hope your week is going well!

jenny_o said...

I didn't take too much notice of birds until the past couple of years and my knowledge gap is gigantic.

Thank you re the poetry. I'm having fun :)

jenny_o said...

Raccoons are nature, too :D

And I can imagine quite a poem coming from that!

Anonymous said...

I can understand how the difference between trousers/pants and lift/elevator etc. originates from, but I have never understood how your gardens have become yards. To me a garden is a place where things grow and a yard is to do with work etc. I tried to do a verse on a builders' yard, but couldn't get the rhyming right. Oh well, makes our differences more interesting, doesn't it?

Joan (Devon)

jenny_o said...

Yes; it would be boring if everybody and everything was exactly the same!

Sandi said...


Haha...hey, at least they fertilize the flowers!

jenny_o said...

You caught that; well done :) And they "decorate" the flowers, too!!

Red said...

Memories keep coming back of our losses and the connections are made about the time of loss.

Diane Henders said...

I got a chuckle from your pome! Blackbirds, grackles, magpies, and jays are fine examples of how outer beauty doesn't equate to inner beauty. ;-)

jenny_o said...

Memory hangs on so many things, and the calendar and seasons are two of them.

jenny_o said...

Ha ha!! True, true :) I guess we all have our good and bad points!