I’m reading the most amazing ARC this week — Silhouette of a Sparrow by Molly Beth Griffin. It’s a coming of age story set in the 20’s. A little bit Member of the Wedding (evocative of a time and place) and a little bit Fried Green Tomatoes (a budding relationship between two young women looking to assert themselves), Silhouette of a Sparrow is charming and beautifully written. Gigi struggles balance her family’s needs and values with her own desires and dreams. One of the themes of the book is birds. Gigi has a passion for birds and birding so there are many bird themes woven throughout the book.
Like Gigi, I’ve been fascinated with birds since I was a child. I used to watch chickadees in the hemlock outside my bedroom window and hummingbirds in the bee balm in our garden. In middle school I won a guide to North American wildlife in a science competition and I started reading about less familiar birds. During summers in New England you can hear the familiar “teacher, teacher, teacher” call of the Ovenbird but they are notoriously hard to see. I still remember the joy of finding an Ovenbird nest (they build woven nests on the forest floor).
The Oven Bird by Robert Frost
There is a singer everyone has heard,
Loud, a mid-summer and a mid-wood bird,
Who makes the solid tree trunks sound again.
He says that leaves are old and that for flowers
Mid-summer is to spring as one to ten.
He says the early petal-fall is past
When pear and cherry bloom went down in showers
On sunny days a moment overcast;
And comes that other fall we name the fall.
He says the highway dust is over all.
The bird would cease and be as other birds
But that he knows in singing not to sing.
The question that he frames in all but words
Is what to make of a diminished thing.
I love the line “he knows in singing not to sing”. My favorite poems (and books) are those that frame their questions indirectly and beautifully.
Poetry Friday is hosted this week by Violet at Violet Nesdoly/poems. Fly on over.