Monday, April 26, 2010

"though it may look like (Write it!) like disaster"

60º ~ the smart phone says clouds, the sky says sun

Ah, Dear Reader, a disastrous start to the day. (As many of you will know, the title for today's post comes from Elizabeth Bishop's "One Art.") For the past month or so, I've been keeping tabs on the red-bellied woodpecker in the tree outside my window. The male (his red cap extends from beak to shoulders - female, no red from beak to top of head) made a fabulous nesting hole and kept me company each day with his chucks and churrings. This comforted me. I learned the call of this bird intimately.

This morning, all I heard was squawking and I feared the worst. The worst was true; some damned starling had taken over the nest. For anyone unfamiliar with starlings, this is their m.o. They let the other tree-clingers do the work and then they attack and take over the space. A few years ago, I watched a starling throwing out all the nest lining that a pair of flickers had worked so hard to instill in their nest. UGH. If I had a time machine, I would go back to 1890 and have a serious talk with Eugene Schieffelin.

I've had a hard time shaking my anger, frustration, and sadness. This must seem a small thing to many of you, but I know why I get so worked up about it. The starling is an affront to fair play. It represents all those people who happily take credit for work that isn't theirs and apparently have no qualms about doing so. You understand, I'm not assigning morality or the lack thereof to the starlings in question. However, they seem a good metaphor for those people in this world who seem to lack a moral compass, a sense of right and wrong. They are the "big guy" stomping on the "little guy," and I'm a sucker for the under dog. How's that for mixing metaphors!

Well, I didn't intend for this post to be consumed with bird drama. So, onward to the poetry world. The final days of the semester are upon us and in two hours, I'll begin my grading marathon. This morning, I spent cleaning up all the odds and ends on my desk, making note of journals I've learned about in the past week, recording rejections, and filing receipts. Then, I turned to my "in progress" folder, which right now holds three muscular drafts of nearly-there poems. I tinkered a bit here and there, read them all aloud a time or two, tinkered some more, and put them up to age another week.

This may be as much as you'll get from me this week, Dear Reader. Trust that I am here and doing well...just focused on student papers instead of my own poetry. I'll be back with you on Saturday for sure to announce the winner of the National Poetry Writing Month Giveaway! If you haven't entered, you've got five days to do so. The cutoff is midnight Friday (4/30/10).

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