I’m serious about photographing birds, though not as serious as I am about writing poetry and fiction. I’ve only occasionally tried writing a poem in response to one of my bird pictures. I’ve found that close-up photographs present creature faces that invite viewers to ascribe human characteristics to them. And such anthropomorphizing, though a normal human response, can produce really lousy art. But I also think that irresistible inclination to convert trees, clouds, birds, animals, and even insects into terms that we can understand is worth considering. So I see “The Case for Juncos” as more a poem about anthropomorphism and politics than it is about Juncos.
The Case for Juncos
Junco could fit neatly in your jacket
pocket though it wouldn’t like that job nor
would you. They’re modest creatures you don’t
notice until you see a pair of them--to court
or play or fight--rise in acrobatic
swerves, darts, swoops, and dives of such synchronized
maneuvers their white tail feathers flash like
those of trained circus birds. Then they’re finished—
these improvised antics last only seconds
before they go back to picking seeds off
grass or dirt. They’re hardly a presence
at all. Gray on gray, silent, even the hawk
ignores them. They’re clerks and custodians.
Juncos are Democrats. Not Republicans.
© 2017 David Huddle
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