Stoney Moss

dabble and whatnot, mostly poetry


I stand up straight when I hear the
piercing call of Flicker or Hawk, bright
beating hearts marked with plumes alight in
manner becoming such clear distinction.
My favorites, they easily take their place,
grand and commanding.

How then to mark the draw of a drab
brown Bushtit with no remarkable dress
or sound, so slight in his greyishness
as to be inseparable from the fluttering
leaves of any simple tree concealed in dappled
shade. This wee bird has no distinction—past
a tiny probing bill small as a thistle seed—
other than intent companionable merriness
as he makes his flitting circuit trailing
clan from apple tree to suet, fir and oak.
I could set my clock by these ripples
of chitchattering camaraderies, waves of brethren
beckoning, always forward.

I am happy just to hear them and resist
the urge to set myself in their midst,
to chase after them like a child after
someone else’s puppy. To hope to feel
the brush of tiny whooshes of air
wash over me, lightly licking my face
as the flock’s rhythmic meanders buoy
and bob, as if they follow a fluttering ribbon
billowing through the sky on route to
the completion of this the finest day.

I loved this week’s Poetry Thursday prompt, but simply can’t spend too much time away from my senior project, “making a place for backyard birds in our lives”, at the moment. So instead, here’s a poem from it. I’ve got a lot to do yet to complete the entire work (an “anthology” of a half dozen works: poetry, fiction, non-fiction, etc.) before March 19th, so I probably won’t be able to read as many particapant’s work as I’d like to. But you can, here. You’ll find some amazing writing.


  1. I don’t know the bushtit, but your middle stanza here could be a perfect description of the tits we do get over here, you’ve really captured the essence of these birds.

  2. PS your project sounds brilliant….

  3. beautiful description.

  4. Senior Project-man I am so glad I didn’t have one of those. This was a beautiful description of the bird and how you feel around it. I myself know nothing of birds but I feel like I know a little more now.

  5. I don’t know the bushtit, either, but I do know the feeling of wanting to follow a bird, and for me, a novice, the complete and utter frustration of seeing a bird or hearing a bird that I just can not identify!

  6. Wow, I just love your language. I’m flowing through the poem from image to image. I’m there with the speaker watching these birds. There is a greater depth to the line, “How then to mark the draw of a drab brown Bushtit . . .” I would’ve loved to see this sentiment come up again and pulled a little deeper. It’s something about showiness (bright beating hearts”) not being the be all and end all. That gives a whole other layer to the poem.

  7. Pingback: I and the Bird #113 | Matthew Sarver