Wednesday, February 4, 2009

The Birds of Winter


Looking For a Sunset Bird in Winter
by Robert Frost (1874-1963)

The west was getting out of gold,
The breath of air had died of cold,
When shoeing home across the white,
I thought I saw a bird alight.

In summer when I passed the place
I had to stop and lift my face;
A bird with an angelic gift
Was singing in it sweet and swift.

No bird was singing in it now.
A single leaf was on a bough,
And that was all there was to see
In going twice around the tree.

From my advantage on a hill
I judged that such a crystal chill
Was only adding frost to snow
As gilt to gold that wouldn't show.

A brush had left a crooked stroke
Of what was either cloud or smoke
From north to south across the blue;
A piercing little star was through.


Sweet bird!
thy bow'r is ever green,
Thy sky is ever clear;
thou has't no sorrow in thy song,
No winter in thy year.
by John Logan (1923-1987)


God gives every bird its food, but He does not throw it into its nest.
-J.G. Holland (1819-1881)



A Winter Bluejay
by Sara Teasdale (1884-1933)

Crisply the bright snow whispered,
Crunching beneath our feet;
Behind us as we walked along the parkway,
Our shadows danced,
Fantastic shapes in vivid blue.
Across the lake the skaters
Flew to and fro,
With sharp turns weaving
A frail invisible net.
In ecstacy the earth
Drank the silver sunlight;
In ecstacy the skaters
Drank the wine of speed;
In ecstacy we laughed
Drinking the wine of love.
Had not the music of our joy
Sounded its highest note?
But no,
For suddenly, with lifted eyes you said,
"Oh look!"
There, on the black bough of a snow flecked maple,
Fearless and gay as our love,
A bluejay cocked his crest!
Oh who can tell the range of joy
Or set the bounds of beauty?



Birds at Winter Nightfall
by Thomas Hardy (June 2, 1840-January 11, 1928)

Around the house the flakes fly faster,
And all the berries now are gone
From holly and cotoneaster
Around the house. The flakes fly!--faster
Shutting indoors that crumb-outcaster
We used to see upon the lawn
Around the house. The flakes fly faster,
And all the berries now are gone!

9 comments:

fudgelady said...

Lovely pictures -- the bird's red against winter white is always wonderful.

And I have loved Sara Teasdale's poetry since childhood; I'm thinking it is perfect weather to curl up under a blanket and have a reunion with her work.

City Mouse said...

Sweet birds indeed! They are awesome. We get the winter cardinals, but never more than just one. Beautiful. And I'm pretty into your wash tubs too! You rock, GS.

Matthew Burns said...

Great photo's and poetry. I especially loved the last one, "Birds at Winter Nightfall."

Matthew

bayouwoman said...

Sue, are the tubs of snow where you take the snow for your ice cream snow? Lovely photos and fitting poems, as usual. Thanks!

Jaime said...

You have some beautiful cardinals. I watched a mating pair at your house just last weekend.

And what an awesome picture, to have both a cardinal and blue jay. I have a feather of a blue jay in one of my nature bowls and it is one of my favorites. I think it is a tail feather, since it is blue and black striped.

Granny Sue said...

We have been blessed with cardinals for the past two years--usually there are 4 or 5 at a time at the feeders. The two wild kitties are entranced, but so far the birds outwit them. The porch feeders have been the most popular probably because they're safest!

Jaime, I had other photos of the jays and cardinals together and couln't upload them last night. Everyone was being very inter-racial, snowbirds, cardinals, blue jays, sparrows and even woodpeckers feeding together without a lot of fussing.

As for the tubs: I found them at an auction. Years back I had some and used them daily, but they disappeared at some point, probably in a great barn cleanout. I wanted more for washing veggies and other outside tasks and have been on the lookout for quite a while. The woman who owned these would probably faint to know what they go for now!

BW, I don't use them for snow ice cream because they're too close to the bird feeder :-) I use the snow from the porch table tops because it's usually pristine.

Matthew, the last one is my favorite too, and the one that inspired the post. Thomas Hardy is one of my favorite writers.

Janet, said...

I loves the birds of winter. I like your bird pictures, Susanne. We had 10 bluejays on and above our deck yesterday at the same time.

Char5 said...

Thank you for posting the beautiful photos and the poetry. Your post has been a balm for my spirit this morning.

MimiRock said...

Hi GSue, Have you ever participated in the Audubon Society bird count? It's coming up next weekend, and Rocky and I are hoping to count. Website for info is:
www.birdcount.org. BTW, I absolutely love your blog.
Mimi

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