For The Birds

the aging birdhouse sits,
its former dwellers gone,
this lonely spot’s forgotten now,
for everything moves on.

the builder’s hands at work,
the careful markings drawn,
but none remember who did what,
for everything moves on.

creation, though, is good,
our souls to build upon —
for we who see can take this forth,
for everything

moves on.

Among my late father’s many, varied interests were birds. He loved seeing them, and sketching what he saw. He also could imitate them, and frequently did so.

I wondered, in my youth, if birds considered this sort of thing mockery. Or if he sounded to them like he had an accent.

About that same age, I heard the girl’s chorus at my school sing “Ladybird”, a setting of a Hungarian folk song by composer Zoltán Kodály. The lyrics were

Ladybird, O fly now,
Up into the sky now,
Hark to the drumming!
Now the Turks are coming!
Hurry, hurry will you
Or they’ll catch and kill you!
Pickle you in brine,
Tie you up in twine,
Trussing you to toast you,
Griddle you, or roast you.
Take you to the tower,
Grind you up in flour
Hear the Turks a-coming,
Mustn’t let them catch you!
Fly! Fly! Ladybird, O Fly now!

I wasn’t quite sure what a Ladybird was, but I was now aware that they lived a life of imminent peril.

My parents told us a story years ago about going out to see the Alfred Hitchcock movie “The Birds”. Not only were they gravely unsettled by it, they suddenly noticed how many birds there were, everywhere they went. In large groups. Planning something nefarious.

Perhaps revenge against the Turks. Or my dad for his bird impressions.

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