Chickadees swoop and dart to the feeder,
flit back and forth with beakfuls
of sunflower seeds, oiled and striped.
Cardinals scoop at the safflower.
White-crowned sparrows peck at kernels and hearts.
Finches purple and gold go for millet,
white or red makes no difference.
Even the ground-feeding juncos
rise to the occasion.
Jays park their bulk on tray and perch
gulping hulled peanuts, shouldering the smaller birds aside
except for the white-breasted nuthatch
snatching the blacker grains,
its grip and cling, woodpecker-like.
We make sure to keep the feeder full
so the birds will pay us with visits,
graceful in their flight patterns,
dip and lift, deft in their arcs,
streaking the air with colour,
never going hungry,
never disappointing the admiring gaze
and the confident patience
of the one who waits and watches.
This article originally appeared in The New Criterion, Volume 33 Number 7, on page 25
Copyright © 2020 The New Criterion | www.newcriterion.com