He Promises Not One More Poem About Birds
18 June 2020

Toledo, Ohio

He promises not one more poem about birds.
No more over-wrought high sentence or hyper-
bolic phrase describing their aspect or their
flight. No anthropomorphisms or verbs like 

swoop, soar, wheel, dive, glide, or hover.  No use
of the adjectives wondrous, majestic, magnificent
or regal and mentioning birdsong will be a 
big no-no from here on in, despite its soothing 

qualities in these troubled times.  (There’ll be
no more mention of troubled times either).  
No tweets, squawks, chirps, or trills.  No
metaphoric inference, no similes, no rhyme

or meter.  No syllable counts, and yes, dactyls 
are definitely out, ptero or otherwise.  There’ll
be a strict moratorium on mention of osprey,
sparrow, seagull, bald eagle, gold finch, pigeon, 

red-tailed hawk, Canadian goose and humble
mallard.  Even his beloved raven must go on
this shit-list, painful though that might be.  
No more lengthy, sonorous discourse on 

flying and feathers and their petroleum
sheen or the way the sun catches the under-
side of the wing of a bird in flight and for
that matter there’ll be no more use for

the anachronism ‘wing-ed’ in his poems or
prose for the foreseeable future.But seriously,
these swallows are taking the piss. Here he is,
a merchant seaman trying to load coal on a

ship and they’ve descended by the dozen and
the goddam buggers just won’t quit. And then,
you’ve got to be kidding, across the slip he sees
a great blue heron, elegantly stalking the seawall.  

And with each of its aqueous, muted movements 
he feels the resolve seep from him like a medieval
malady with a course of leeches. And in its 
beatific silence a question posed, an ascetic’s 

koan he’ll never answer but could spend his
lifetime trying to decipher. And of course, 
he relents then and thinks, perhaps there’s room
for one more. Just one more poem about birds.