Bird-Brained Poems

A Minor Bird

By Robert Frost

I have wished a bird would fly away,
And not sing by my house all day;

Have clapped my hands at him from the door
When it seemed as if I could bear no more.

The fault must partly have been in me.
The bird was not to blame for his key.

And of course there must be something wrong
In wanting to silence any song.


Looking For a Sunset Bird in Winter

by Robert Frost
The west was getting out of gold,
The breath of air had died of cold,
When shoeing home across the white,
I thought I saw a bird alight.

In summer when I passed the place
I had to stop and lift my face;
A bird with an angelic gift
Was singing in it sweet and swift.

No bird was singing in it now.
A single leaf was on a bough,
And that was all there was to see
In going twice around the tree.

From my advantage on a hill
I judged that such a crystal chill
Was only adding frost to snow
As gilt to gold that wouldn't show.

A brush had left a crooked stroke
Of what was either cloud or smoke
From north to south across the blue;
A piercing little star was through.

A Winter Bluejay

Sara Teasdale

Crisply the bright snow whispered,
Crunching beneath our feet;
Behind us as we walked along the parkway,
Our shadows danced,
Fantastic shapes in vivid blue.
Across the lake the skaters
Flew to and fro,
With sharp turns weaving
A frail invisible net.
In ecstasy the earth
Drank the silver sunlight;
In ecstasy the skaters
Drank the wine of speed;
In ecstasy we laughed
Drinking the wine of love.
Had not the music of our joy
Sounded its highest note?
But no,
For suddenly, with lifted eyes you said,
“Oh look!”
There, on the black bough of a snow flecked maple,
Fearless and gay as our love,
A bluejay cocked his crest!
Oh who can tell the range of joy
Or set the bounds of beauty?


The Winter Bird

by Jones Very

Thou singest alone on the bare wintery bough
As if Spring with its leaves were around thee now;
And its voice, that was heard in the laughing rill,
And the breeze, as it whispered o'er meadow and hill,
Still fell on thine ear, as it glided along
To join the sweet tide of thine own gushing song
Sing on — though its sweetness was lost on the blast
And the storm has not heeded thy song as it passed;
Yet its music awoke in a heart that was near
A thought whose remembrance will ever prove dear —
Though the brook may be frozen, though silent its voice
And the gales through the meadows no longer rejoice
Still I felt as my ear caught thy glad note of glee,
That my heart in life's winter might carol like thee.


William Shakespeare

That time of year thou mayst in me behold
When yellow leaves, or none, or few, do hang
Upon those boughs which shake against the cold,
Bare ruin'd choirs, where late the sweet birds sang.
In me thou seest the twilight of such day
As after sunset fadeth in the west,
Which by and by black night doth take away,
Death's second self, that seals up all in rest.
In me thou see'st the glowing of such fire
That on the ashes of his youth doth lie,
As the death-bed whereon it must expire
Consumed with that which it was nourish'd by.
This thou perceivest, which makes thy love more strong,
To love that well which thou must leave ere long.

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Thomas Fleming

Thomas Fleming is president of the Fleming Foundation. He is the author of six books, including The Morality of Everyday Life and The Politics of Human Nature, as well as many articles and columns for newspapers, magazines,and learned journals. He holds a Ph.D. in Classics from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill and a B.A. in Greek from the College of Charleston. He served as editor of Chronicles: a Magazine of American Culture from 1984 to 2015 and president of The Rockford Institute from 1997-2014. In a previous life he taught classics at several colleges and served as a school headmaster in South Carolina

2 Responses

  1. Dot says:

    This morning, precisely at 7:am, I woke to the chime of my grandmother clock and then I heard a bird in the holly tree chirp 7 times. I wondered if he heard the clock. At late afternoon, early evening when the sun goes down, the birds have a different sound as though they are calling it a day and saying good night. In the spring and summer I love to listen to the mocking bird chirp from high in the tree. Sometimes I whistled back to them and like to think they have answered my whistle. My walks have pleasantries that many people miss.

  2. theAlabamian says:

    Thank you, I enjoyed these poems.