Poetry Friday: A Note from the Landlord

It’s the first Friday of the month, which means it’s time for another Sunday Night Swagger Challenge. This month, Molly Hogan challenged us to write an epistolary poem. Earlier this week, I discovered Audubon Alaska’s National Poetry Month Bird Poetry Corner, which had a different prompt for each week of the month. The final challenge was to

imagine nature coming indoors: Perhaps a thunderstorm in the attic? A flock of Bohemian Waxwings in the kitchen?

A few years ago, starlings built a nest in our bathroom vent, so I decided to combine these two challenges and write those squatters a note.

To the starlings nesting in the attic:

I kept telling my husband to fix that loose vent cover.
Of course he didn’t. Then you moved in
and it was too late.
You worked hard scavenging grass
and pine needles for your nest.
I’m sure you’re all warm and cozy up there,
right above the shower.

How many nestlings do you have?
Sometimes I can hear them cheeping,
begging for a meal. 

Did you set up housekeeping in the rafters
or in a box of old clothes? I’ve been tempted
to climb up the rickety stairs to peek,
but I don’t want to disturb you.
Please try not to make too much of a mess.
I’ll clean everything up after your babies
have fledged.
Don’t get too comfortable, though. Before
next spring, that vent will be repaired!

Your landlord

Please be sure to visit Elizabeth Steinglass for this week’s Poetry Friday Roundup! Also, find out who my fellow swaggers wrote to at their blogs:

Molly Hogan: Nix the Comfort Zone
Lind Mitchell: A Word Edgewise
Heidi Mordhorst: My Juicy Little Universe
Margaret Simon: Reflections on the Teche

20 thoughts on “Poetry Friday: A Note from the Landlord

  1. Ha! I love it. You are such a softy for those starlings. I’m sure they have no idea how much they are getting away with. I love that you are tempted to peek but don’t want to disturb…and that you tell the birds you will clean up after them. You are a good landlord.


  2. I love how you combined these two prompts to create your poem. (Better starlings in the rafters than a thunderstorm!) I also like the tension of you listening and wanting to peek but hesitating to disturb. Lucky starlings to have found such an accommodating and thoughtful landlord!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. O me O my!
    This letter poem makes me laff out loud.
    Sometimes I worry too much about how I’m intruding on nature. I love the idea that we give shelter, unexpectedly.

    Wishing you all FunTimes with fledging!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. So nice that you let them stay until the babies had flown, Catherine. And hilarious that you heard the cheeping while in the shower! Memories of times not always the best, but bringing smiles are what makes our lives so good. Love your poem from “The Landlord”

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Such a sweet and accommodating landlord you are, Catherine. I had similar feelings when a pair of house wrens made a nest in our front door wreath. An inconvenience to be sure, and they DID make a mess, but would I have shooed them away? Of course not.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Birds don’t always nest where it’s most convenient but for us humans. It’s fun to watch. You captured it with so much voice in this poem.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Yes, “landlord” makes a funny title, but your care and concern put you in the role of mother hen in this poem! “I’ll clean everything up after you’ve fledged.” It makes me want a companion poem in the voice of the mother starling–I’m pretty sure she ended up in her vent because of something HER husband didn’t do!

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Delightful poem. We’ve had the same problem with the dryer vent. Nothing to do but wait till the birdies have fledged. Love that you signed the poem from the landlord. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  9. What a great poem, Catherine. I love your point of view as a landlord-gentle, yet firm about the following year. I also, like Heidi’s thought about another poem from a different POV.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Love it! We have a family of pigeons who have taken up residence in the barn – I’m torn between feeling happy that a family has found a home there and wanting to evict them right away!

    Liked by 1 person

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