Sunday, February 7, 2010

Sunday Poetry Post

Home Wrecker

Click for larger

The Woodpecker Keeps Returning
by Jane Hirshfield

The woodpecker keeps returning
to drill the house wall.
Put a pie plate over one place, he chooses another.

There is nothing good to eat there:
he has found in the house
a resonant billboard to post his intentions,
his voluble strength as provider.

But where is the female he drums for? Where?

I ask this, who am myself the ruined siding,
the handsome red-capped bird, the missing mate.


  1. We used to have a woodpecker who insisted on attempting to drill holes in the tin roof of our carport, when there was soft wood all around him. I guess he figured his mate was hiding beneath it...

    Up early to get some stuff done before I settle in front of the TV for the pre-pre-pre game show. Almost wish I was snowed in, so I'd have an excuse for sitting on the couch all day!

    Hope everyone who IS dealing with rotten weather stays warm and safe inside today. Or only leaves to join their friends for a party tonight!

    Awful quiet around here without my family. Life gets back to semi-normal.

    Have a great day, everyone - and Geaux Saints!

  2. Beth, you were up early to face the VGW. The pictured home wrecker isn't actually the culprit who kept drilling on the house yesterday. That was a was a downy.

    If you click on the title you can hear the author read the poem.

  3. Yep, the dog has decided to change his internal alarm from 6:30 to 5am, yawn. And I figured the rest of you had enough VGW outside your doors to have to brave yet another one.

    Ours was a pileated woodpecker. I think he just liked the rat-tat-tat sound he made on the tin!

    Thanks for the point re the reading - will check it out.

    Happy Sunday, Jim!

  4. Love woodpeckers, even if they are destructive critters. The black and white checkered coats and often red heads. Though many of our downys don't have much red.
    Luckily, they like the trees along the creek rather than the house. And they do love the suet block.
    Got a different bird calling loud in the barest light of dawn. Wonder if its mate is close by.

    Thanks for the pic and poem, Jim. Fun to hear the author read.

    Beth, I bet it is a really quiet house with family gone now. Like when you finish a first draft or project, it's good to start on another to push away the lonelies.

    Maria, thanks for link. I've got your story in my not too big to-read pile. Hope you can get out without too much trouble.

    Off to make French Toast and then on to finish colored cards for the revision lesson. New ideas keep creeping in--a good thing.

    Relaxing Sunday to All.

  5. Morning, gang! It's a balmy 19F and sunny, almost tropical? Nah, not so much. My car is still completely buried.

    More snow expected Tues/Weds. I think I shall scream. At this rate, I won't be able to leave my apartment until March! ACK!

    Some crazy people trying to get out this morning, I hear them down below, digging out their cars. All area cities are pleading for people to NOT DRIVE b/c of treacherous conditions. Plows have not had time to do any roads, not even the major ones. But there are always idjits who think better. Sigh.

    Me, I'll be working from hom at least a day or two.

    Cheers to all and keep warm!!

    (lovely poem, Jim!)

  6. Lisa, mmmm, French toast.

    Maria, not buried, entombed.

  7. And for reasons not entirely clear to me that triggered my memory of this:

    The Cat Came Back
    Old Mr. Johnson had problems of his own.
    He had a yellow cat that just wouldn't leave him alone.
    He tried and he tried to give the cat away.
    He gave it to a little man going far away...
    But the cat came back the very next day.
    Yes, the cat came back. They thought he was gone,
    But the cat came back. He just wouldn't stay away.

  8. Bereft, abandoned.
    Like losing an appendage:
    Computer repairs.

    We only have heavy frost here, and the sun has mostly melted that. I was hoping for something more fun, like six inches of snow. Oh well, y'all go out & play in yours for me.

    I'm supposed to get my computer back probably a week from Tuesday. Apple is going to ship it back, so I don't have to drive all the way back down there to pick it up. Typing on the iPhone right now, so I'll have to be sort of brief. (Yeah right, like that ever happens.)

    I'll probably borrow my work laptop for the duration, payback for all the times I've used my own hardware for work, but today… compu-drought. I really really need to upgrade the old Linux on this ancient beige G3, maybe I can get a late-model Firefox running on it.

    Waving before Mason wakes up!

  9. Somehow we lucked out and didn't see a single flake. Just south of me they got over a foot.

    Going to a Superbowl party at my brother's later and looking forward to that.

    Good Sunday, all.

  10. I'm glad you told Beth about clicking through - it was nice to hear her read it. And I liked hearing her thought that in poetry the external world and the internal world become intertwined and interchangeable.

    One time in Minnesota I saw a HUGE woodpecker with a bright red head. I've never seen one so big before. He looked just like Woody Woodpecker.

    No snow here. Our slush has melted. Now they say the next snow will not be until tomorrow and will probably be south of here. My cousin lives in a Virginia suburb of DC and she posted pictures on her FB page - that's one heck of a lot of snow they got there. So all you snowbound people take care.

  11. just checked back in yesterday's thread and saw the F's went to hear Syliva McNair. Report? Please? I love her, she's so down to earth and usually has such a great sense of humor.

  12. Kelly, for some reason "There Once was a Lady Who Swallowed a Fly" just popped into my mind.

    Farf, my condolences for your Maclessness. I spent most of Christmas break with mine in the shop.

    Dina, we get another chance for snow tomorrow night and Tuesday, so some may be headed your way.

    maryb, the person who taught me to enjoy poetry always says that poetry is meant to be read aloud. Your woodpecker sounds like a pileated.

    The concert was fun. She's not singing much from the classical repertoire these days. Last night's songs were from the great American songbook. The Columbus Philharmonic is a pretty amazing group made up of local talent and augmented by IU student musicians. One set of arrangements, that were the best of the evening, featured the orchestra's sax player; who was fantastic. Later we found out that the arrangements were done by a member of the orchestra. We were sitting about 8 rows back from the stage and almost dead center. It was so much fun that, Andi and I are thinking about getting season tickets for next year.

  13. Mary, agreeing with everything Jim said and adding that my favorite part of the concert was a bit she did about how she kept finding herself singing classical pieces but thinking of singing popular songs instead. To illustrate this in the concert, she would sing an aria and then switch to a popular song with a related theme (e.g., from Carmen to Whatever Lola Wants). It was both fun and lovely to her gorgeous soprano in it full dynamic range.

    Another fun thing she did was to explain that she was originally a violin major and took up singling lessons because her violin teacher said it would help her playing but she ended up liking singing better. Anyway, she brought her violin and played and sang Charlie Daniels' The Devil Went Down to George. It was a hoot.

  14. That sounds great. I remember one time hearing her say that she started as a violin major but she didn't play the violin for us. So what a treat. And that "mix" of aria/popular song also sounds wonderful. I wish she'd come here again at a time I can hear her.

  15. btw Jim, that might have been my woodpecker. The size is right although I remember the head having more red on it.

    I looked at some of the related species though and none of them looked like my guy. But I finally know what a Yellow Bellied Sap Sucker looks like. (Didn't Sylvester the Cat talk about those? Or was it a different cartoon character?)

  16. maryb, I only remember Tweetie saying, "I taught I saw a puddy cat." and Sylvester saying "Ssssufferin' ssssuccotash." I think it was Yosemite Sam who used the yellow-bellied sap sucker derogatorily.

  17. What a touching poem, Jim. I like it a lot. I also like her way of reading it. Poets went through such a long and dreadful trend of reading in singsong monotones. It's lovely to heard somebody read for meaning, instead.