Monday, 26 May 2008

An ode to every bird

Leafing through my WHSmith/Reader's Digest 'Book of British Birds' (which is the best birdbook I've ever come across) I wondered if it was possible to compile a poetry anthology which featured one poem about every bird in the book. Probably not, in all likelihood. But how close could you get? Would the list be dominated by the romantics, or would contemporary poets make a strong showing?

Here's some I can come up with off the top of my head:
Kingfisher by Ted Hughes, from River
Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird
by Wallace Stevens
Ode to a Nightingale by Freaky Keats
The Heron by Paul Farley, from Tramp in Flames
The Twa Corbies
, a Scots ballad (concerning crows)
The Windhover by Gerard Manley Hopkins (concerning the kestrel)

I'll probably add more to the list as I think of them. If anyone has any suggestions, let me know! Could be a nice little sideline project.


Carol Novack said...

Scroll down to page 28 to see my fusional delusional (called a poem by some), Once in a Field. It's about a curious crow and a very bizarre scarecrow.


Mark Granier said...

From my last collection, 'The Sky Road':


The starlings in the trees of Leicester Square,
on a busy, end-of-winter evening, are a full-fledged

metropolis whirring and throbbing overhead,
making connections, working into the threads

chirping mobiles, strands of talk and laughter
from a lengthening restless queue outside The Empire.

The poem should be in couplets (lines seem too long to fit this format) and the last two words, The Empire', should be in italics.