Poetry Friday: An Egret’s Day

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I’ve had birds on my mind this week because of an idea I hatched at the Highlights Foundation last week. One of Rebecca Kai Dotlich’s many wise pieces of advice was to research your topic. So I’ve been reading about birds, listening to birds, and watching for them whenever I’m outside. In fact, I almost drove off the road on Monday because of this bird:

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I’m pretty sure this is a vulture, which are quite common where I live, but I have never seen one poised like this. After I pulled over to take this picture, I sat and watched this display. The bird stayed poised on this branch for at least five more minutes. Unfortunately, I had an appointment, so I couldn’t watch any longer.

Rebecca also suggested reading poems about the topic you’re writing about, so I’ve been reading as many bird poems as I can find. One of my favorite collections is Jane Yolen and Jason Stemple’s gorgeous book, An Egret’s Day (WordSong, 2010). Yolen’s poetry follows egrets through their day and is accompanied by factual paragraphs about the poem’s topic. Stunning photographs by Jason Stemple, Yolen’s son, accompanies each poem, and gives readers a chance to observe these graceful birds up close.

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Here’s a poem from this beautiful book:

“Egret in Flight”
by Jane Yolen

She’s an arrow
From a bow.
We watch in wonder
From below.

Origami
neck is folded.
All that we can do?
Behold it.

Read the rest of the poem here (It’s about 1/3 of the way down the page).

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I hope you have a chance to behold a beautiful bird or two today. There is always beautiful poetry to behold on Poetry Friday, so be sure to head over to Renee LaTulippe’s blog, No Water River, for the Poetry Friday Round Up.

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10 thoughts on “Poetry Friday: An Egret’s Day

  1. I look forward to reading the poetry your retreat inspired. I can get obsessed with research and never quite get the poem written.

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  2. I am jealous that you got to do that poetry workshop. I just couldn’t make the time. And it would have been such fun to work with you, Catherine. I love birds too, have written about them this month, & appreciate Jane’s poem. I don’t know the book, however, will look for it. I love egrets, & this, “that origami neck”. Terrific!

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  3. Love this poem, book, and appreciate the advice from Rebecca Kai Dotlich. Everyone once in awhile I get on a nonfiction poetry kick. There’s something interesting about researching something and finding what is important to tell within the limited space of a poem. I haven’t seen my first egret this season. They’re a bit uncommon around here, though I have discovered a spot these seem to return to each year. I have finally seen my first heron so all is right with the world. Birds are fascinating creatures.

    Cathy

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  4. I am drowning in jealousy — you attended a Highlights workshop?!?! Wishing I could have been there writing alongside you!

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  5. I remember being enchanted by sea gulls while we were in San Francisco – there is something poetic indeed just seeing birds in flight. Such wonder. Thanks for sharing this poem!

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