.......and Reflections

Friday, September 23, 2011

Pishing in the Woods, a poem

for birders
by Larry Richardson

I am a birder,
Which is quite a mystery to most;
And brows are raised as
“it’s my favorite thing!” I boast.

A lot of people
Understand that birds are fun to see;
And that binoculars
Are helpful to find birds high in a tree.

But the mystery builds
As the “non-birders” observe my tricks:
the techniques I use
such as hoots, whistles and clicks.

They struggle mightily
To find a question, framed politely,
To ask why any person would
Gesture to bushes, in a way so unlikely.

“It attracts the birds
Who are as curious as you” I declare
“Oh, I see” they respond
With that “you are an idiot” sort of stare.

Emphatically I begin to “pish”,
And warble  Screech-owl calls.
Now their mild concern is replaced
With visions of asylum walls.

I tell them I am “pishing”:
And I can see confusion in their face
They ask what does fishing have to do
With what you’re doing in this place

“NO. I said I am “PISHING:
a sound that greatly excites the birds.”
Then they leave confused,
Troubled by my actions and my words.

I know that this I do
Doesn’t make a whole lot of sense
To those that struggle
To understand a passion so intense!

Then I turn to the hedge and pish.
And one-by-one they begin to appear
Kinglets, Chickadees, Wrens and Warblers:
Precious friends I love and revere.

Pishing is a peculiar gift
That brings the birds close at hand
An interaction like no other.
Perhaps a relationship that is hard to understand.

Pishing in the woods is an ancient and natural process
That when employed with experience can bring
Birds and avid birders together
Around this simple and effective thing.  

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