The Birds. A poem by Josephine LoRe

the birds woke me first, at 4:52
I know the time for I wrote un mot d’amour
to my pararmour
then slept ‘til the alarmthe Deerfoot never this empty
not even in 1990
when I moved here
or even in ‘86
when I spent a summer
between UofT and France

Confederation Park
ironic or serendipitous

in Social this week I am covering Confederation
with the kids
the Rebellions of 1834 and ‘37
Wm Lyon Mackenzie & Louis Joseph Papineau
Upper Canada, Lower Canada, the Durham Report
George Brown and Federalism
the Charlottetown Conference
the Quebec conference
John A and Georges-E who convinced Canada-East
to say Oui!
the four original provinces
that formed this Dominion

I diverge
and why is divulge written
with a “u” instead of an “e” ?
and deluge …
and delusion?

Confederation Park and yesterday our friend the birder
spotted or heard twenty-plus species

first by song, he says
then, if you are lucky
you spot them

you learn their habits

robins come to the ground
and hop around for insects and worms
especially after rain

yellow Tanagers hide
in the thickest of thickets
remain undetected

speaking of which
Scarlet Tanagers are scarlet
except if they are female
in which case they are yellow

no more on that here

I could maybe identify five birds
– robin, chickadee, magpie, gull, sparrow
maybe ten … maybe thirty
but most of those live here so it is
a cheat in some sense

my birder friend poet lent me binoculars
showed me how to see

at 8:30 on a Sunday morning
mainly birders in the park

some joggers, some families
but mainly simple folk
in non-designer anything
with binoculars & long-range cameras
and guide books
and friendliness

at the pond we saw ducks
mallards, not mergansers
scaups, lesser
heads iridescent purple/teal/blue

and I was told that the colour depends
on light refracting
{as I might have learned had I not
dropped Science after dissecting
a frog soaked in formaldehyde}
on the crystals in the wings

covid, the time of run-
on sentences, un-
finished thoughts

colour does not exist
except in the eye of the beholder
like beauty

daffodils planted along river bank

a pile of stone
growing a crop of lichen
a patch of dent-de-lion
in full bloom

many birds have left
Calgary-bound as we are covid-bound
these last four days of rain
these past sixty-four days
of pandemic

last night, skies clear, many made
their escape
towards the boreal forests
of Northern Alberta

some come from Texas, from Mexico
as far as Argentina
imagine the dances
they dance!

I have never been further north
than Edmonton
but I have lived in the boreal East
where forest meets shield
and lakes superior
sink clear from smooth stone

birds navigate by the stars, I was told
how, I must know …

are star-charts passed down
from generation to generation
in unmapped genes?

do they perch at the edge of a river
on star-filled nights
creating and telling tales
of constellations?

some constellations already bear
bird names

Cygnus, the swan
Aquila, eagle
Apus, a bird of paradise
and Corvus
he we know
skulking peripheries
in his sombre black coat

are there bird names
for constellations
we know otherwise?

Big Dipper, a parliament of magpies?
Cassiopeia, a wisdom of owls?
Orion, a murder of crows?



Bio & Link
a pearl in this diamond world Josephine LoRe is a prize-winning covid-bound poet whose work can be found internationally in print and on-line literary journals and anthologies. She has two collections, Unity and The Cowichan Series and features frequently at live and virtual literary events. Josephine has an MA in Comparative Literature from l’Université de Rouen and a BA in Modern Languages and Literature from the University of Toronto. *I have been previously published by Pendemic

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