Friday, February 11, 2011

Poetry Friday: The Last Word of a Blue Bird

Last week, I was on retreat in an old Vermont house (circa 1840) where I fell in love with this wooden bluebird adorning the front fence.  The day before, the blizzard that socked Chicago and other parts of the Midwest had swept across us too, leaving fresh snow and shockingly bright sunshine in its wake.  

This bird reminds me of how lovely it is to focus on one beautiful thing; it's what poetry does so well, and why it can be the counterpoint to the endless browsing of modern life. I love the Frost poem I found, too, because of the line "do everything!" One thing/every thing. Poetry gives us both.  

The Last Word of a Blue Bird
by Robert Frost

As I went out a Crow
In a low voice said, "Oh,
I was looking for you.
How do you do?
I just came to tell you
To tell Lesley (will you?)
That her little Bluebird
Wanted me to bring word
That the north wind last night
That made the stars bright
And made ice on the trough
Almost made him cough
His tail feathers off.
He just had to fly!
But he sent her Good-by,
And said to be good,
And wear her red hood,
And look for the skunk tracks
In the snow with an ax-
And do everything!
And perhaps in the spring
He would come back and sing.

Poetry Friday is hosted today by Carol at Rasco from RIF.


  1. I hope you wrote poetry in that old Vermont house.

    That poem is new to me. Thank you.

  2. crows are always talking to me, but its never in a low voice and they never tell me anything poem-worthy!

    the oddest thing: i take pictures all the time, and i write poems to pictures, but i've never combined them, never written a poem to one of my own photos. i wonder if it's a question of feeling that i need to commit my expression to one or the other but not both, or if it never occurred to me until now.

    thanks for prying open a new thought in my brain.

  3. I love that bluebird, too. What a perfect poem for it. It's got such an endearing tone . . .

  4. I love this post and poem and the blue bird. And especially the reminder to get back to the one thing instead of losing myself in the everything.

    Glad that blue bird spoke to you.

  5. The bluebird thanks all of you for your kind attention. :)

    I'm just learning to use my camera, and this photo taught me that some seemingly bad conditions (the sun glaring straight at me from one side of the house) can actually be a boon if you find a way to work with it. And even though I could see instantly what photos I took digitally, it wasn't until I'd downloaded and cropped some of them that I could truly see which ones were interesting. A friend told me not to delete any photos off the camera until I'd done just that, and she was right.

    David, I'll be looking forward to those poem/photo mashups. I'm not sure how much a poem and photo need to go together in order to create something new. Sometimes I like a literal pairing (here, obviously with the bluebird) but other times, something unexpected is nice. And responding to other people's art work is frankly, a thrill. All I know is that I want to get better at both poetry and photography.

  6. I love how you have brought all this together; the retreat, VT, the bluebird, snow, Frost, photography, poetry, PF...

    Thank you so much!! I am looking forward to more of your photography joining your poetry & musings!

  7. Another new-to-me Frost poem! Thanks!

  8. I have never written a poem about a picture but I want to try it now. I love that bluebird too...maybe we need one. :)

    That Frost poem is wonderful, I too love the idea of crows talking to the poet and that the bluebird says to "do everything" there is no better instruction, is there?

  9. Love this! I'm going to have to listen to more birds...Had fun watching blue jays and juncos and pileated woodpeckers and downy woodpeckers and even a yellow-bellied sapsucker, which I thought practically only existed in tall tales with a name like that, on my own quick writing retreat last week.


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