Tag Archives: birds


The sound of car alarms above my head,
Then card’nal calls around the lightning rod
Inspired my search for brilliant card’nal red.
I saw instead what’s beautiful and odd:
A forest full of sounds and frantic song
Escaping from a single mockingbird.
As though he meant to say, “This life’s not long
And, while it lasts, it’s often quite absurd,”
He played a crow, a robin, and a horn
And jumped between the roles at rates so fast
That moments after ev’ry sound was born
Its span of life among the clouds had passed.
He strove to share the songs he’d kept inside
Instead of hoarding them until he died.*


*I know that he was likely trying to attract a mate…



a sonnet by Paul Burgess

American Goldfinch

Upon reflection it would make no sense,
But when I saw you feeding near the tree,
I nearly ran to close the open fence
Though knowing that to come and go you’re free.

Invading space around my ribs and heart,
The panic rested only when I paused
And knew that Master Fear had shown his art
Replete with terrors nothing real has caused.

My heart becoming calmer in my chest,
I thought, “How very odd, insane, absurd
For fears about my dog to manifest
As fears about that little garden bird.”

What magic matches anxious minds for tricks?
What else can make a snake of harmless sticks?


“Killing Two Birds”

I love birds and find killing them with stones to be barbaric. Nevertheless, I am not opposed to the figurative killing of two birds with one stone. Here are two “bird” limericks I wrote during the earliest days of my blog:

“An Aspiring Cardinal”
A man whose behavior’s absurd
Insists he’s becoming a bird.
“In Rome, by the sea,
A card’nal I’ll be”
Says that man whose behavior’s absurd.


“Sex Ed?”
There was a young person from Cork
Who wanted a child from the stork.
In the eyes of that bird,
It seemed quite absurd
To be wooed by that person from Cork.


Now that I am picking up more readers, I am inclined to share some of the earliest posts from the days when I was writing for a few family members and acquaintances. I hope you all will not mind:)

“When I was a Horse,” a villanelle for children; by Paul Burgess

[Written in 2006 for a college assignment. Much of my writing then was for children. The rhyme is regular, but the meter is irregular]

I was a horse for a day
And wish I was one still,
Passing the hours munching on hay.

There was nothing I had to pay—
No tax, attention, or bill—
When I was a horse for a day.

I was free to gallop and play
And had nothing but time to kill
And hours to spend munching on hay.

My voice was a bold, boastful bray,
Confident, yet speaking no ill,
When I was a horse for a day.

I listened to blues song of the jay
That lives in a tree by the hill,
While passing the hours munching on hay.

If ever I find a way,
Have no doubt, I certainly will
Be a horse some other day,
Passing the hours munching on hay.

“Inspired by Maya Angelou” (a villanelle by Paul Burgess)

“Inspired by Maya Angelou” (a villanelle by Paul Burgess)
(In 2006, after reading I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, I composed this villanelle for a class. Since it is as cheesy as the most sentimental of greeting cards, I had not planned to share it with anyone. But, since Angelou has passed, I will post it in memory of her. [As with many poems I wrote in college, the meter is a bit irregular])

The Poem:

Suffering heavy heart and wing,
Wind forcing flight close to the ground,
This bird will never cease to sing.

To my song, I’ll always cling,
Though I may appear nearly downed,
Suffering heavy heart and wing.

No man, whether peasant or king,
Will ever silence my bold sound.
This bird will never cease to sing.

My voice will vibrantly ring,
If I am shackled and earthbound,
Suffering heavy heart and wing.

Whatever fickle Fate may bring,
Be it murky marsh or sparkling spring,
This bird will never cease to sing.

Though one day thorns of age will sting,
And my green soul will become browned,
Suffering heavy heart and wing,
This bird will never cease to sing.

“The Birds in our Yard” an Elizabethan Sonnet by Paul Burgess

“The Birds in our Yard” An Elizabethan Sonnet by Paul Burgess
We rarely used to notice common birds
Invited now into the yard to feed.
“That’s a mourning dove!”, and other words,
We pin to birds we’ve seen in guides we read.
This matching of a species with its name—
“A woodpecker! On the fence’s rail”—
Has quickly turned into a fav’rite game.
Unlike the birds confined in wiry jail,
These welcome visitors remain at ease
While hunting worms in grass, enjoying grain
The feeder holds, providing songs in trees,
And taking baths in pots containing rain.
These birds, who in our garden daily roam,
Are part of what has made this place a home.