APRIL IS POETRY MONTH: Blake, Auden on Our Feathered Friends

APRIL IS POETRY MONTH: Blake, Auden on Our Feathered Friends

As we're celebrating the publication of The Sibley Guide to Birds in its Second Edition this year, we offer birders (and readers) a pair of poems on the subject of our feathered friends, from two of our great English poets.

Three Things to Remember

 

A robin redbreast in a cage

Puts all Heaven in a rage.

 

A skylark wounded on the wing

Doth make a cherub cease to sing.

 

He who shall hurt the little wren

Shall never be beloved by men.

— William Blake
 
Bird-Language
 
Trying to understand the words
        Uttered on all sides by birds,
I recognize in what I hear
        Noises that betoken fear.
 
Though some of them, I’m certain, must
        Stand for rage, bravado, lust,
All other notes that birds employ
        Sounds like synonyms for joy.

— W. H. Auden

 Excerpt from ON WINGS OF SONG: poems about birds. Copyright (c)2000 by Everyman Publishers plc. Excerpted by permission of Everyman's Library, a division of Random House, LLC, New York. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.  
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