Tuesday, May 7, 2013

POEM: Cedar Waxwing (Bombycilla cedrorum)

Cedar Waxwing (Bombycilla cedrorum)

Birdwatchers’ guidebooks are chock-full of facts.
They tell you that waxwings have wings not of wax
But of silky plumes made of hooklet and barb
That, glimpsed from a distance, resemble the garb
Of Napoleon’s soldiers, bedecked chevaliers

Who dive from high perches when a rival appears.
They’re solemn as churches, these birders’ reviews
Of each patch of forest that passes for news.
They’re not for cycloptics who scoff with derision
At birdwatching toffs with binocular vision.
They’re binders of questions no amateur’d ask:
What face has the waxwing? A rakish black mask.
A diet of cherries and raspberries, right?
In summer, some waxwings catch bugs in midflight.
You’ll learn waxwings whistle, both females and males.
And if waxwings were wax, they’d have candles for tails.

© 2013 Steven Withrow, all rights reserved


Anastasia Suen said...

Love 2nd line!
Thanks for participating in Poetry Friday!

Ruth said...

Thanks for this! I like "They're solemn as churches, these birders' reviews." I think I'll send this one to my birder brother.

Mary Lee said...

I love cedar waxwings. Thanks for this poem about them!

Ruth said...

By the way, my birder brother enjoyed this very much. He wrote back saying that field guides are their own kind of literature.