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Indigo Bunting


It’s as May as the first of a May can be,

And there’s so many the splendid arrivals to see

On a back country road when the sun is flooding

The trees in all of their pointillist budding.

There’s an oriole, a catbird, a peewee to greet,

A wood thrush to welcome if not quite to meet;

And a homecomer somewhere up in the glare—

He sings like he’s sipping the sweet blue air!

Then high in the branches you spy that darting

Purplish smolder of last autumn’s parting—

The black hole of blue your eyes have been hunting,

And you welcome back the indigo bunting.


Though if he’s indeed of the Krishna's race

You would say he’s a bit of a burnt-out case,

Till in the right sun or through your binocs

He’s so radically blue he quite simply shocks.

 That tie-dyed, black-light, blue-velvet blue!

A bring-back-the-Sixties phosphorescent hue—

You might even ask by whom you’re beguiled,

A bird or the soul of a late flower child.

And it’s true of his blue, maybe less would be more?—

He can seem to clash with the springtime décor,

Though I for one would defend with a passion

That the indigo bunting is always in fashion.


Yet hear how he sings—it’s not psychedelic;

It isn’t our blues: it’s brightly angelic,

Like audible sunshine, and he’ll sing that sweet way

Some two thousand times through the livelong day.

But our hip blue friend, I have to ask truly,

Can one be so blue and not also sing bluely?

I can’t help to think in our distant relation

We’re losing all sorts of blue in translation—

That he’s swearing blue streaks at local ingrates

And pitching blue movies to prospective mates,

That in all ways he’s blue in the avian annals;

Though we’ll have to await the blue-ribbon panels.


And surely they’ll say of this blue troubadour:

He’s his own blue moon when he joins in a chore

Such as weaving a nest or feeding upstarts;

He’s a blue-shifting shirk of the domestic arts.

And under the trees of his summer refrains

Hides a small grass cup in some raspberry canes

With a cheeping brood he’s completely entrusting

To a mate who looks like she just did the dusting.

He only polices, and she seldom rests,

Though she does make time to entertain guests,

For those in the know have made it well known:

That brood he deems his—it’s not all his own.


His summer’s outbluing the bluest of skies

He defers by the fall in a somber disguise

And flees the edge of his leaf-dropping wood

For Central America, as good leftists should.

Now what revolutions he instigates there

It’s of old Mother Earth’s that I’m only aware,

And by May he’s back and back to eleven

On the scale to ten in the bluebook of heaven.

Then he’s dealing again to all of us addicts,

All of us indigo-bunting fanatics,

And it’s good for the soul and always a fun thing

To OD on the blue of an indigo bunting.



wood thrush pic.jpg
strawberries pic.jpg
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