WHO CARES? I DON’T CARE!

Last month, a red-winged whitebird from Utah, Senator Orrin Hatch, laid a big GOP egg when asked about allegations against President Donald Trump:

http://www.msnbc.com/rachel-maddow-show/asked-about-allegations-against-trump-senator-says-i-dont-care

Hatch later apologized for his fowl apathy, but he needn’t have. After all, a number of other non-peons down through the eons haven’t given a hoot about one thing or another, including these warblers:

No doubt the Nuthatch in the White House thinks Orrin Hatch is a sage Grouse. Not to crow, but I don’t give a tweet….and from heron, never let it be said that I never write posts that are for the birds.

 

 

 

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THIS POST IS FOR THE BIRDS

January 5 is National Bird Day, a day to…. Look! Up in the sky! It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s Superman (alias Clark Kent, alias George Reeves)! What’s more, January 5 is Reeves’ birdday — er, birthday! Of such happy ‘coincidences,’ ideas for posts are born.

No doubt you are too young to remember George Reeves as Superman in the early 1950’s TV series, The Adventures of SUPERMAN. These many years later, the above Intro-clip seems either unintentionally laughable or laughably camp, but the series was highly popular and made Reeves a national celebrity. Unlike Superman, however, the actor wasn’t made of steel and self-destructed (took his own life) in 1959 at the age of 45.

So much for the coupling of the birds and the Reeves. Bee-lieve me, the rest of this post is strictly for the birds.

BIRDS OF A TETHER

Chancing to glance out my kitchen window
one early spring morning, I notice two robins
in the yard battling over the prize one of them
has extracted from the ground. Having always
thought of robins as harmonious birds, I watch,
fascinated, as the feathered fiends engage in a
furious tug of worm to claim (you would think)
the last night crawler on the face of the earth.

Finally, one of the orange-breasted warriors prevails,
and down the hatch goes the winner’s breakfast.
I don’t know if the victor was the one who found
the worm first. All I know is the ill-fated victim was
the one who didn’t have much choice in the matter.

But let us not end on a downer. Look at the birds of the air. They neither sow nor reap; they sing and tweet. So let’s all sing like the birdies sing:

Yes, my friends, there was a once-upon-a-time when tweets were carefree, joyful and strictly for the birds/bird lovers. What has this world come to? Tweet tweet tweet tweet tweet!

NOVEMBER 20 POEMS ARE CHILD’S PLAY

Because I have long taken a fancy to light verse, I wrote a number of nursery rhyme-like poems in my early poetry writing days because such poems are in the light verse vein, though seemingly just for children….but look at Mother Goose: if a bit of wit (in the telling) warrants a closer gander, the simplicity may not lay an egg in the eyes of grown-ups.

November 20 being UNIVERSAL CHILDREN’S DAY and WORLD CHILDREN’S DAY, I thought I would bring back a selection of those poems — say 20% of 20 — for a second childhood look. Two have been published in children’s magazines, two have not. You might even say that two of the four are for the birds. Well, as Humpty Dumpty may have shrugged after his fall, “Wall,  you can’t win ’em all.”

A GOOD QUESTION

Free as a bird —
That’s what I’d like to be.
But, if I were a bird —
Who would be me?

THE ONE WHO WON

The tortoise and the hare
Ran a race from here to there.
The winner, of the pair,
Was the tortoise, by a hair.

OF ALL PLACES!

Birds build nests
Where they will —
Gutter, building ledge,
Window sill.

One I saw
Amazed me —
It was nestled
In a tree!

(N)ICE TRY!

There was once a brave lad from Nebraska
Who went off on a trip to Alaska.
To climb up steep slopes, he bid —
But they were so slick, he slid
Almost all the way back to Nebraska!

Is word play child’s play or hard work, you ask? As both a light verse and jazz lover, I can tell you it helped to have….

 

THE NATURAL LIST

You’ve heard of Charles Darwin. Also, concordantly, Henry David Thoreau. If you’re really into national parks, naturally you’re familiar with John Muir (“Father of the National Parks”). If you have an avian fixation, you’re birds-of-a-feather with John James Audubon, world famous ornithologist and painter of our feathered friends.  But I suspect that the name of John Burroughs probably drew a blank when you saw it in my last post.

Fame is fickle. In his day, Burroughs (1837-1921) was as well known as any of the above naturalists who remain well remembered today. But, according to biographer Edward Renehan, he was more “a literary naturalist” than a scientific one, which (along with his rejection of religious orthodoxy) may account somewhat for his fading into relative obscurity.  Whatever the case, Burroughs, who was a contemporary of Thoreau and Audubon, a good friend of Muir (as well as of Walt Whitman and Theodore Roosevelt), and has been called “America’s Darwin,” has been left in their shadow. More’s the pity.

The last of his many books was ACCEPTING THE UNIVERSE (1920), from whence the quote in my 9/20 post. Other quotes I like from Burroughs’ works include these:

Nature is not moral. There is no moral law until it is born of human intercourse. The law of the jungle begins and ends in the jungle; when we translate it into human affairs, we must take the cruelty of the jungle out of it, and read it in terms of beneficent competition. Man is the jungle humanized.

The greatest of human achievements and the most precious is that of the creative artist. In words, in color, in sounds, in forms, man comes closest to emulating the Creative Energy itself. It seems as if the pleasure and the purpose of the Creative Energy were endless invention.

How beautifully the leaves grow old. How full of light and color are their last days.

Only a living tree drops its fruit or its leaves; only a growing man drops his outgrown opinions.

I still find each day too short for all the thoughts I want to think, all the walks I want to take, all the books I want to read, and all the friends I want to see.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

I close with a curio: a 1919 prizmacolor film of “a day in the life of John Burroughs,” which ends with words wise in the ways of what really matters:

LET OSPREY

Lord love a duck,
And the flighty flea;
Yet the skink liz., I think is
More grounded than we’ll ever bee.

And Lord love a fly
(Only God knows why) —
While no toucan swat flies, you can….though
It takes deet-o to defeat-o a mosquito.

Which leads one to wonder
What makes parasites tick?
Ticks are such louses,
They damn well make me sick.

Pray tell, when hyenas laugh,
Are they howling at jokes?
When possums play dead,
Are they living a hoax?

Do hummingbirds hum
’cause they don’t know the words?
Why don’t emus fly?
Do they think they’re not birds?

Do deer mice to mere mice
Write “Dear Mouse” letters?
Do billy goats bill,
Willy-nilly, billy goat debtors?

How hip are hippos?
Do garter snakes wear socks?
Are sockeye salmon
From the school of hard knocks?

Do caribou care?
Do antelope elope?
When push comes to shove,
Can two cockatoos cope?

If given an inch,
Will inchworms grow feet?
Are fool pigeons stool pigeons
When they rat on the street?

What makes a dog bark?
Does it think it’s a tree?
And why do owls look wise?
They must think that they’re me.