October 14, 2016

Poetry Friday--Bird Poems from Robert Francis

If you're a regular reader here, you may have picked up on the fact that I love birds (and ironically, cats).

I have two bird poems from Robert Francis. Robert Frost once said Francis was "the best neglected poet." Consider him now un-neglected since we're talking about his work today!


Both of these poems are from Come Out into the Sun: Poems New and Collected by Robert Francis (1965):
The Hawk

Who is the hawk whose squeal
Is like the shivering sound
Of a too tightly wound
Child's toy that slips a reel?

But beyond who is why.
Why any cry at all
Since death knows how to fall
Soundlessly from the sky?


Bluejay

So bandit-eyed, so undovelike a bird
to be my pastoral father's favorite--
skulker and blusterer
whose every arrival is a raid.

Love made the bird no gentler
nor him who loved less gentle.
Still, still the wild blue feather
brings my mild father.

If you're interested, I've posted Robert Francis poems twice before, here and here.

Please check out the poetry happenings being rounded-up by Irene at Live Your Poem.

28 comments:

  1. Love this post. I have a tribute to Robert Francis at my blog today, too. Small world!
    http://cracklesofspeech.blogspot.com/2016/10/poetry-friday-strange-pavement.html

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  2. Diane, the descriptions of these birds is so different than I would expect but that is the beauty and intrigue of poetry. Word choice is so important to draw the reader into the experience of the reading.

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  3. They are delicious poems, Diane. Great find.

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    1. We all should seek out more Robert Francis.

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  4. Had to save that second one. Thanks for bringing Robert Francis to our attention (again)!

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    1. I like that one, too, especially the last two lines with its "wild blue feather" and "mild father."

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  5. They are beautiful, Diane, new ways with words, but exactly who the birds are: "whose every arrival is a raid". Thanks for sharing this poet, someone new to me!

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  6. Francis is new to me. Enjoyed these bird poems -- both contained a little dramatic surprise twist.

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  7. Robert Francis is entirely new to me - thank you for sharing these poems with us!

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    1. I hope you encounter more of his work in the future.

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  8. Even if one isn't a bird person (though, like you, I am), I don't think you can help but admire the character portraits Robert Francis paints in just two stanzas.

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    1. "so undovelike" is a great image for me.

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  9. Diane, I love "Whose every arrival is a raid." I want to take that line and free write and see where it takes me. :) Thank you! xo

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  10. I always love to see how different people perceive and respond to the birds they see. Thanks for sharing his poetry.

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    1. I know someone who hates pigeons and takes every opportunity she can to kick at them and scare them away. That kind of response puzzles me, yet, there must be some frightening story behind the impulse.

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  11. Lovely, diverse poems, Diane. That first keens feather-sharp.

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    1. Reading the last two lines of the first poem makes me shiver!

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  12. You love birds? No. LOL Those little dino descendants, bless their feathered hearts.

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    1. What if dinosaurs were covered in feathers? They might have been, for all we know. Kind of makes it a little less scary to imagine them that way.

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  13. Yep, I love birds as well as kitties, too! Wonderful poems - thank you for sharing. Like Irene, I'm smitten with "whose every arrival is a raid" - so true of those raucous jays!

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  14. Robert Francis is new to me, but I will certainly read more of his work. The first poem is hauntingly powerful, especially those last two lines. I loved the contrast of the bandit bluejay and the mild, gentle father in the second poem. It also struck a chord since I've grown to enjoy the blue jays this past summer. After writing a rebuking poem to them, I did some research and ended up writing an apology poem. They have a bit of a bad rap! Thanks so much for sharing these.

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  15. We saw a hawk in action yesterday - the poem so perfectly describes "death falling from the sky".

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  16. Oh, that bluejay poem! How wonderful. The RF poem I already knew is this baseball one, which I now find is part of a whole "series" of baseball poems.
    http://www.poemhunter.com/poem/catch/

    "skulker and blusterer
    whose every arrival is a raid."
    Love!

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