Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Poem of the Day: “Bird-Watching” by Shawn Aveningo

Songs of Eretz Poetry Review is pleased to present “Bird-Watching” by Shawn Aveningo.  Ms. Aveningo is a globally published poet, whose work has appeared in more than eighty literary journals and anthologies, including Poeticdiversity of Los Angeles whose editors recently nominated her work for a Pushcart. She is founder and co-owner of The Poetry Box® which specializes in custom poetry, fine art photography, book design, and publishing.  Ms. Aveningo has a bachelor’s degree in computer science and enjoys donning her “geek” hat to create custom websites for authors and small businesses.  You can find her at www.RedShoePoet.com or www.ThePoetryBox.com.

Bird-Watching
Shawn Aveningo

When the birds watch
us,
what do they see?
Do they make notes
in their guidebook:
Identifying Humans for Dodos?

The man with the bulbous red nose,
they name Mr. Booby.

Look! It’s Ms. Peacock,
they squawk, pointing to a woman on stage
as she dances behind her fan of feathers.

They observe the odd behavior
of the one they call Penguin,
wondering why she strikes a stick
across the hands of the youngling.

They compare notes, confer
to determine why a fair-skinned hen
nags and pecks at her colorful partner

and which one really did
come first?

One by one,
the segregation continues,
based on mere appearance
they separate us

from our flock,
as we do ourselves,
from man’s
kindness.

Poet’s Notes:  I’ve spent the last few months reading hundreds of poems on birds, in response to our latest anthology project, Poeming Pigeons.  It has proven to be effective therapy in conquering my own life-long fear of birds, which has recently morphed into more of a delightful obsession with the magical winged creatures than fear.  Many of poems submitted reflect on the sometimes-obsessive hobby of bird watching. I couldn’t help but wonder what if the tables were turned, and why do we as humans have such an incessant need to classify everything around us and each other?

Editor’s Note:  I like the humorous way that the poet turns bird watching on its head and the way the last minute turn hammers home her poetic conceit--a poem about birds become a poem about race and sex.

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