Poetry Friday & NPM: Writing Wild

Welcome to the first Poetry Friday of National Poetry Month! Today’s post is my response to my critique group’s monthly prompt. This month, Linda Mitchell challenged the Sunday Night Swaggers to

See something in many ways, then write a poem patterned after Pat Schneider’s ‘The Moon Ten Times.’

The object and the number of different views was our choice.

Today’s poem is also the second poem in my NPM project, Writing Wild. Susan Fenimore Cooper is the second author featured in Writing Wild: Women Poets, Ramblers, and Mavericks Who Shape How We See the Natural World. Like Dorothy Wordsworth, Susan Fenimore Cooper is remembered mainly in relation to her famous father, James Fenimore Cooper. Also like Dorothy Wordsworth, she was a fine writer and is considered to be “America’s first nature writer.”

Rural Hours, Susan Fenimore Cooper’s best know work, captures the daily rhythms of the natural world in early-nineteenth century Cooperstown, NY. Her entry for March 22nd describes “the return of the robins.” Since returning robins are still a sure sign of spring, I took this line for the title of a week’s worth of observations of this beloved bird.

“The Return of the Robins” 

Flash of red
against blue sky:
the robins have returned!

A riot of robins patrol 
dormant hay fields:
the borderland between 
winter and spring.

Yellow-billed
tug-of-worm champ:
nightcrawlers beware!

Adorned in feathers fine as silk,
round red breasts
reflect the morning sun.

Feathered flutists 
fill the dawn
with their winsome refrain:
Cheer-up, cheer-up, cheer-up

Scavenger of sticks
and straw:
nestchitect

Mud-daubed nests
filled with a trove of turquoise eggs:
promises for tomorrow.

Draft, © 2021 by Catherine Flynn

Please visit my fellow Swaggers to read their responses to Linda’s challenge:

Molly Hogan @ Nix the Comfort Zone
Linda Mitchell @ A Word Edgewise
Heidi Mordhorst @ My Juicy Little Universe
Margaret Simon @ Reflections on the Teche

Then head over to Mary Lee’s blog, A Reading Year, for the Poetry Friday Roundup and more NPM celebrations!

34 thoughts on “Poetry Friday & NPM: Writing Wild

  1. Wonderful! I love the nestichect and tug of warm champ! What a wonderful response to the prompt! And, what a great way to keep Susan Fenimore Cooper’s legacy alive. The return of robins!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I love each of your seven ways of looking at robins. Sometimes the ordinary is overlooked, but by looking closely, we are reminded that even the ordinary is actually extraordinary.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I love your different takes on robins. Feathered flautists, scavenger of sticks. I recently watched a robin sitting on a branch in the morning, doing nothing except looking around, his beak in the air. One of my favorite and most common birds in my yard.

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  4. I love the challenge, Catherine, and I am still waiting for the spring return. They may have arrived further south, but not yet here! I know I’m going to love learning about all these women, had no idea that Susan Fenimore Cooper is known as “America’s first nature writer”! I love this from your poem celebration: “tug-of-worm champ”. (I haven’t seen a worm yet, either.) Happy April!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I love your many ways of seeing robins and how you managed to weave your project and this prompt together seamlessly! That second stanza is my favorite with your “riot of robins” patrolling, but I love that final treasure trove of eggs, too. I’ll be looking at robins differently today thanks to you!

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  6. Seeing robins for the first time each spring is more meaningful to me as time goes by. I get excited. I love their morning cheer-up song for sure! It’s like the proverbial ray of sunshine. Your poem shows us the robin in its element. Lovely, Catherine.

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  7. So spring! So lovely! You’ve captured the essence of the robin (love your clever “nestchitect”!), and you’ve captured the beauty and hope of the season as well, Catherine.

    Liked by 1 person

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