Remember the year we had bluebirds there?
How they came back the next year, poked their noses
in and changed their minds? After that it was all swallows,
after we knew to clean out the twigs to get the house
ready for renters. Swallows or wrens. Oh, they might
have been wrens, sometimes. They might have been
wrens all along, but I like the word swallow. I think
they were swallows. That tiny slender trilling down
the scale. Wrens sound like their bodies, compact
and insistent. It was good to have either,
and their chicks. Especially their chicks, evident
only by the to-and-fro of the mothers, their fierce
judgments. It was good to have that life greet us
at the corner of the house. Bluebirds, we felt blessed.
They let us know who was in charge: blast, blast, chitter.
Also the color, the royal robes. But the swallows,
the way they swooped in and out! Who doesn’t love
the word swooped? When they were crossing
to the trees beyond our drive, remember how we’d sit
in our kitchen chairs by the glass doors? It was so
peaceful to watch that industry, that tiny hope
carrying on, not caring a whit about us.
Poems from No Need of Sympathy