The Language of Birds


The Language of Birds
(for Lydia)

Something thrown beyond
light: a stone,

words. The language of birds
evades us but for the simplest

measure. And how can we comprehend
those who live with the

wind when our own
bodies seem far away? In the darkness

certain sounds come clearer, as if in

absence one finds strength, the evidence
gathered with every breath. Speech is,
of course, not the answer. We release

what we must, and in turn are released.

Another oldie dug out of a folder. I wrote it for my niece perhaps twenty-five years ago, and don’t believe it was ever published. It feels good to finally release it to the light and air.


55 thoughts on “The Language of Birds

  1. Hi Robert, I have been following your blog now for a month or two. Thank you. And I wish to thank you also for bringing “older” poems forward and sharing them. I sense the timelessness in your writing, so I put the word older in quote marks. These poems don’t have that older odor to them! Love this opener:
    “Something thrown beyond

    and this “We release
    what we must…”

    I haven’t yet commented on your posts, so I will share here that I was pleasantly surprised upon reading your poetry. This was after hearing that you had followed my blog, which I will now thank you for! Glad to have you reading when I do post work myself! ~ Janice

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Interesting. I wrote a poem a few years ago with a similar title:

    It is I hear Very Like The Language of Birds

    Hers was a voice reminding me
    of berries, bright, fruity
    ripe and somewhat overripe
    to bruising, moldy rot
    at bottom

    Hers was a voice of
    remonstrance, pity, blame
    wheedling agreement, folly
    inviting later denial

    Hers was a voice reminding me
    of myself, naked, ashamed
    crushed as berries in a press,
    destined for brandy, for a long
    arduous distilling

    to retain none of the color
    little of the flavor, bearing resemblance
    to the fruit only in the printed label
    affixed to the bottle

    Liked by 2 people

      • It’s sometimes hard to not edit the old stuff and clean it up. Years ago I was in a miserable marriage and would write poems while very, very drunk. The result was uneven, but some of them shine as examples of exquisite pain. Here’s one of that ilk as an example:

        My horrible face leers
        Seems to know
        my stagger. Maybe

        knows everything.
        I do not look
        do not choose to look

        at what is mine.
        Thus I see it rarely.
        My horrible face

        conceals, or in certain light
        is noble and heroic,
        doer of deeds, teller of tales.

        I approach my face with sound
        reason. I only wish
        to remember.

        In front of anyone,
        Everyone, it is only
        my horrible face

        they watch
        they look at. They
        must believe

        Liked by 1 person

    • It’s odd. With some pieces this old I still recall where I was sitting, whether the sun was shining or the wind was howling, and perhaps I might even remember where a certain line first appeared to me (often away from the desk). This one feels almost as if someone else wrote it, except one phrase, which I distinctly remember fretting about.


  3. You have an amazing ability to capture the essence of experience with an economy of words. And your poetry always has an admirable (not to mention enviable) tranquility about it that encourages repeated re-reading of each piece. Thanks also for liking my latest blog post.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. This, in my opinion, is perfect:

    And how can we comprehend
    those who live with the

    wind when our own
    bodies seem far away?

    I find this indisputable. . . .

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Pingback: The Language of Birds | Scripturient

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