top of page

Blue-winged Warbler


In a summer woodland’s fringe of trees

He’s that Rip van Winkle catching z’s—

I think you may have heard the number

Of this warbler of the golden slumber.

That’s not to say you’ll go along

And call this songbird’s singing song—

You may feel a birdsong should be more

Than some tiny old man’s toothless snore.


But that’s our friend the blue-winged warbler,

Sleeping on the job of being a warbler,

Or so it seems, until you’ve spied this fellow,

Who’s so lively—and such a vivid yellow!

Which brings us to the What? Is that his name?

And lay the blame on Adam, not his dame.

Sure, wings he has, that much is true,

But who would ever say they’re blue?

They’re gray! Even he would warble that they’re gray—

Though he wouldn’t warble, even once, for pay.

So his moniker’s a minor scandal

With nothing we can call a handle—

Or is it that he likes his elbowroom

And blue-winged warbler is his nom de plume?


But where he’s in his splendor on his perch

In some favored stand of beech or birch,

So what if what he’s named is for the birds?

By any name he’s too too much for words.

He drinks the whole scene in like cubists do,

From every angle, every point of view,

Behind those narrow wraparounds of his

That shade him from the sunshine—that he is.

Then all at once he feels, “I must rejoice!”

And lifts his beak—but not so much his voice,

The voice he lost in winter months ago

While merrymaking down in Mexico.

But where he isn’t is the Land of Nod.

He’s no slugabed who was spared the rod—

And not at all that other yellow guy

Who may have been a dreaming butterfly.

No, every morn his pledge to Dawn is kept.

It’s silly us who hear he’s overslept,

When a more wakeful sleeper has to be lore.

And who’s ever heard a livelier snore?



bottom of page