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Poetry Magnum Opus

For a Bird Found Dead On My Doorstep

David W. Parsley

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David W. Parsley



We found him after lunch just

out of the snow.

My wife touched the still-warm breast,

one limber claw drawn in an infant curl.


Yellow as sun, too exotic for our climate,

he would have come while we were eating,

sent while the season’s first stormfall

and its clouds clung to surrounding hills.


We watch those clouds leave our valley today.

Trees and brambles shake down their snow.


I remind her we don’t always know

how hunger approaches our door.

We look for it as we can, ignorant

of where it comes from, and when.

Published after posting in Autumn Sky Poetry Daily, January 29, 2016
winner Veneta Nielsen Humanities Award 1982
© David W. Parsley 2012
Parsley Poetry Collection

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David W. Parsley

Barry, Badge, thanks for the admiring comments. This is one of my more 'spare' works, letting a few select details carry the meaning, the lingering hurt. (We all see dead animals every day. Why do some of these finds affect us so?)



- Dave

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Our gentle black cat, Zak, lived outdoors as long as the temperature was not below zero. His heaven was our backyard where he hunted and controlled. He always left the beak of birds on the stoop, like a gift from FedEx. Greedy bastard ate everything else.

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Your sensitive poem could be construed as one small piece of a much larger picture. The fragility of our climate catches vulnerable wildlife species out all the time. Here we often see plants blooming out of season and birds which don't migrate being caught out by the erratic weather. My wife feeds our visitors which are mainly doves, magpies, gulls and the odd small bird/ robin at this time of year. Our cat's too old to catch them and too timid to worry the occasional hedgehog. Had to extricate a live mole from him recently though and he was most feral about it. Re-read a little Kipling recently and briefly pondered re-incarnation.


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