National Poetry Month: Enchantment and Wonder

This month I will be writing poems in response to the ideas, connections and echoes between All We Can Save: Truth, Courage, and Solutions for the Climate Crisis, edited by Ayana Elizabeth Johnson and Katharine K. Wilkinson and Rooted: Life at the Crossroads of Science, Nature, and Spirit, by Lyanda Lynn Haupt.

Lyanda Lynn Haupt includes “Enchantment and Wonder” among the tenets of Rootedness. She explains that the word wonder “derives from the Old English wundrian – to be astonished by the presence of the wondrous.” (p. 27) She also explains that we humans, so preoccupied with our busyness, have to be open to the “visitations” of the wondrous. Sometimes I can be a bit too open to wonder. Although I haven’t driven off the road while gazing at some bird, cloud, or tree yet, I’ve come close. That is what happened one day last November. Driving to work one morning, I noticed something hanging from a tree near the road. As I got closer, I slowed almost to a stop. (So I wouldn’t drive into the tree!) Wonder of wonders, it was a Baltimore oriole’s nest! Sadly, it was too far off the ground to get a good look at, but I’ve been marveling at that nest all winter long. Late last week when I drove by, I was enraged to see that the tree had been cut down! I hope whoever cut it down noticed the sock-sized miracle they destroyed. I decided to write a tanka-ish poem in its honor.

hidden since last spring
among dense, sheltering leaves,
an oriole’s nest,
a beak-woven wonder,
survived the winter

but not humans.

Draft, © Catherine Flynn 2022

From Nests and Eggs of North American Birds, by Oliver Davie, 1900
Internet Archive Book Images, No restrictions, via Wikimedia Commons

Previous NPM Posts:

Day 3: Reciprocity
Day 2: Kith and Kin
Day 1: The Thing Is

9 thoughts on “National Poetry Month: Enchantment and Wonder

  1. Oh, that is so sad. I know the nests are awesome, have never seen one in the wild. I’m so glad you’ve given it a moment in your poem. I am reading a book, albeit fiction, that relates that Hitler had so many trees cut down along the major streets so that people could see the parades of his soldiers better. What have we humans done, with nary a thought? Thanks, Catherine

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Catherine, oh, I am so sorry the tree was cut down. It’s so sad that some people don’t even notice or care about animals that live in trees. Perhaps, the orioles will build another nest and you will find it. I love your tanka poem especially these two lines “a beak-woven wonder, /survived the winter”. After reading your post I had to look up oriole nests! Wow, they are so different than any nests I’ve seen before. I found some pics of nests and watched a video of orioles weaving grass as is their beak was a needle. Fascinating.
    I have never seen an oriole before, but I will keep my eyes open for them now that I know they can come to the Northeast. I have cardinals, house finches, gold finches, nut hatches, tufted titmice, juncos in winter, and bluebirds since I started using real beef lard from the grocery store instead of bird suet. The birds love it! I also have downy woodpeckers, hairy woodpeckers, red-headed woodpeckers, and even sometimes pileated woodpeckers! Those are just the birds that come to the feeder and beef lard. I have seen an owl and heard them. I also have seen hawks, way up in the trees hunting chipmunks since my older cat is now twenty and she isn’t the best hunter anymore. My other cat, Tigress likes to patrol our garden and yards, but she doesn’t live up to her name. Oh my, I have gone on and on. Sorry. Thank you for sharing. If you have a bird feeder, I hope you will have orioles and other birds visit.

    Liked by 1 person

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