Wednesday, July 14, 2010

This Morning's Birds

By Doug Logan

Two party birds,
Cheeba Cheeba and Jubilee,
and one that sings like a Radio Flyer
with a squeaky axle
being pulled down the street.
You, here in the kitchen,
and me too, me too, me too.

There's a cowbird somewhere,
sounding the rising wheeee
of a capacitor in an old flash camera,
and the sparrows and jays,
bounce between squirrels,
nipping up the seed that
we, the beneficent, have strewn.

The squirrels now bang at the door
when the seed runs out,
after hectoring each other
over the last of it.
Our friends' cat hides in the ivy
on the rock sloping down to the porch
to make sure of the food chain;

when we toss water at her
she runs, turns, sits, and stares
with patient disdain.
In the marsh the ospreys wheel
high above the backwaters
north of the old sluice,
but no matter how we smile at them

and beam our fellowship aloft,
they give us the old
hew hew hew hew hew,
as if with their keen vision
they can see predation in our eyes
and betrayal lurking at the
corners of our mouths.

If I ever hear a rail
out there saying E-E-Owww
as the sun goes down in spring,
I might ask to ride it out of town
to find my own home in the high marsh,
a hollow lined with fibergreen fleece,
shielded from skunk and sky,

and there lie beady-eyed
on the brink of extinction.
The growl of the backhoe near the road,
and the outboard motor downstream
would just be noise to me.
But the rail is rightly shy
and rarely seen.

Doug Logan is a former editor of Sailing World and Practical Sailor, and has written about boats and the sea for a long time. He has also edited UCLA Healthy Years, a consumer newsletter. He worked in New York as an editor of novels, nautical books, and publications on U.S.-Soviet relations. He runs a blog on conservation and alternative energy at, and one with poems at

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