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Bird City
Richard Greene


When I stepped out the back door this morning
the air was full of birdsong
trills, toots, warbles, snatches of melody,
like an orchestra tuning up.
Birds favor the tall spruce behind our house
sheltering in its tent of needles
from the man-ridden world.
It reminds me of the floors above a concert hall
where artists practice behind closed doors,
a soprano here, a baritone there
a piano, a cello, a violin, a clarinet.
This morning the birds seemed more boisterous than usual
having drunk too deep, perhaps, of the tuneful sky.

© by Richard Greene.
Used with the author’s permission.

Richard Greene began writing poetry in the 8th grade, inspired by the opening lines of Longfellow's “Evangeline”—“This is the forest primeval. The murmuring pines and the hemlocks / Bearded in moss and in garments green, indistinct in the twilight"—which he was required to read in class. In college, after a classmate deemed Richard’s rhyming poem “trite,”  he stopped writing until, a couple of years later, a class with Henry Rago, subsequently editor of Poetry magazine, inspired him to resume his efforts. But poetry fell by the wayside for almost forty years as a busy career in international development consumed his life. As retirement approached, however, Richard’s dedication to poetry returned; he has now self-published a book (Explorations, Antrim House Books), and shares a "poem of the week" (get on the mailing list by requesting it at Richard lives in Nyack, New York; learn more about him at


Post New Comment:
Lori Levy:
Beautiful, especially the last line.
Posted 04/21/2021 02:19 PM
This opens my mind to pay attention to the bird sounds. Perhaps I may hear an orchestra in my own back yard.
Posted 04/21/2021 11:40 AM
We love the vocal powers of the sandhill crane and the Canada goose singing from afar.
Posted 04/21/2021 09:14 AM
Darrell Arnold:
I'm happy you artfully disclosed this event. One time, back in the day, I was sneaking around in a remote Colorado forest, trying to lure a wild Tom turkey in where I could collect him for a later repast. Just as it started to grow light, there in the silent forest, there arose such a symphony of avian adulation, seemingly from every individual of every species of bird out there. For a solid hour, at least, there was no use in trying to call the Tom to me, because I didn't think my scratch-box "cluck-clucking" could be heard above the impressive roar of songs sung in a variety of bird languages. I'll never forget that morning.
Posted 04/21/2021 09:11 AM
Lyrical and lovely too as are the birds he writes of.
Posted 04/21/2021 08:58 AM
I like and relate to the image and sounds of the orchestra warning up before the concert rarally begins. Nice. Randy
Posted 04/21/2021 07:36 AM

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