Rockjumper Tours

aba events

The Stars at Night, a Wood-Rail in verse

The Rufous-necked Wood-Rail of New Mexico, sadly having most likely moved on now, has inspired no shortage of excitement among birders in the ABA area and beyond. Even those of us stuck on the wrong side of the continent – like yours truly – have really enjoyed watching so many birders so excited about a single sighting and the carnival-like atmosphere that resulted.

BdA Wr2

photo by Jeff Gordon

Perhaps the most creative response to the wood-rail was sent to me by poet Tom Crawford. I share it with you now.

 

THE STARS AT NIGHT

Tom Crawford

I wanted to be a more serious poet,

grind my teeth in the dark,

get existential with my emotional fatigue

but with one good bourbon on ice

I was always in bed by 9:00.

And in the morning, couldn’t help it,

the early light dazzled me

and like clock work, here come the birds

again, right through my window.

Of course, by then I’m lost

to any feelings of hopelessness

which also meant I had no chance

with East coast magazines where celebration

tends to raise a stink. My up beat,

excitable poems, well—you can blame it

on the birds, their variety, colors, habits, long

evolution—I’ve been unable to resist.

There are lots of people, I’ve discovered,

not all that comfortable with happiness.

Now I’m resigned to a small circle of friends

who have also turned to birds.

That’s right, they put out suet and seed.

And they won’t live where they can’t see

the stars at night. The other day someone spotted

a South American Rufous-necked Wood-Rail

in the Bosque del Apache in New Mexico of all places.

The news went viral. Birders came in by car and plane

from all over America just to glimpse this darling.

Everybody was happy.

–=====–


Tom Crawford is a teacher and the author of 7 books of poetry, the most recent, The Names of Birds which is available through his web page: tomcrawfordpoetry.com. His love, besides birding and writing about birds, is presenting at bird venues. Most recently, Mono Lake’s Bird Chautauqua in Lee Vining,  California.

Facebooktwitter
The following two tabs change content below.
Nate Swick

Nate Swick

Editor, Social Media Manager at American Birding Association
Nate Swick is the editor of the American Birding Association Blog, social media manager for the ABA, and the host of the American Birding Podcast. He lives in Greensboro, North Carolina, with his wife, Danielle, and two young children. He is the author of Birding for the Curious and The ABA Field Guide to Birds of the Carolinas.
American Birding Podcast
Birders know well that the healthiest, most dynamic choruses contain many different voices. The birding community encompasses a wide variety of interests, talents, and convictions. All are welcome.
If you like birding, we want to hear from you.
Read More »

Categories

Authors

Archives

ABA's FREE Birder's Guide

via email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

  • Open Mic: How to talk about climate change as a young birder June 4, 2018 11:37
    One of the challenges in talking about climate change is the disconnect that people feel when hearing about things like sea level rise and their daily lives. Birders, young and old, can play a major role in bridging this gap. […]
  • Meet Teodelina Martelli, 2018 ABA Young Birder of the Year May 26, 2018 2:27
    Meet Teodelina Martelli, a 17-year-old homeschooled birder living in Thousand Oaks, California and one of the 2018 ABA Young Birders of the Year. […]
  • Meet Adam Dhalla, 2018 ABA Young Birder of the Year March 27, 2018 5:42
    Meet 12-year-old Adam Dhalla from Coquitlam, British Columbia, one of the 2018 Young Birders of the Year! Want to learn more about how you could be the next Young Birder of the Year? Registration is open for the 2019 contest now! ——– Q: Were you a birder before you started the ABA Young […]

Follow ABA on Twitter