April 12, 2016

Thursday, February 12, 2015

2015 Sound Poem Project Days 12 and 13: Mockingbird and Owl

Happy Poetry Friday, everyone. All this month, I am inviting poets to join me in a daily writing workout.

Happy birthday to my 18 year old (what?!), Robbie.
Cathy at Merely Day by Day is hosting
all of the Poetry Friday links today.

Enjoy a slice of poetry cake, then head over there

to read all of the poetry posts.

Today is Day 13 of Author Amok's 2015 poem-a-day project. We are spending February writing in response to sounds. I am posting response poems from Day 12 and Day 13 today. We're going to the birds, with three bird-related prompts in a row.

For a full description of the project and how to participate, please read this post. I hope you'll join us. I'll continue posting poems from Day 12 and 13 as they come in. Thanks to everyone who has sent in poems so far. It's a joy to read all of your responses to these sound prompts!

Our Day 12 prompt was a mockingbird.

Linda Baie of Teacher Dance has a clever rhyme today.


A perfect mime,
This bird called mocking,
sings wordy trills,
nature Ted Talking.

Linda Baie © All Rights Reserved

Mike Ratcliffe's mockingbird is also a metaphor for human nature.

by Mike Ratcliffe

Many-tongued mimic,
you sit outside my window
covering the songs of other birds.
In my bird-call ignorance,
I have no reason to judge.
I sit and enjoy your repertoire.
I wonder:  When standing
at the microphone, if I spoke
only the words of other poets,
would I be mocked?

My mockingbird poem is a triolet. I chose this form because the repeats seemed a good fit for the mockingbird's call.

By Laura Shovan

No song of my own to sing,
I listen, I mimic other birds.
No color to brighten my wing.
No song of my own to sing.
I gather their songs every spring,
a poet who plays with used words.
No song of my own to sing,
I listen, I mimic other birds.

Margaret Simon of Reflections on the Teche writes in: "The mockingbird is a very prevalent bird in the south.  This week we have been talking about optical illusions in my class, so I thought of how the word illusion comes from the Latin that means 'to mock.'   I wanted to try a full onomatopoeia poem."

Auditory Illusion
by Margaret Simon 

Lonely babbler
bra-aka, bra-aka

Twitter-to-twit, twitter
up on the gutter

Chirpy, cheep, sweep
ditty, ditty, peep, peep

In the wide open air
spinning his own tale                                  

Skraww, squawk, squeak
No one is asleep

Terwit, terwit, terwoo
this bird is mocking you.

Charles Waters said that he had Valerie Worth's poetry on his mind while he was writing these two mockingbird poems.

Mockingbird, perched on edge
Of pollen dusted roof,
Chatter whistles
For natures congregation
To sing in universal glory.

(c) Charles Waters 2015 all rights reserved. 

Perched on edge
Of water soaked roof,
Against the roosters
Staccato throated cacophony
In a fight for
Alarm clock supremacy.

(c) Charles Waters 2015 all rights reserved.

Our Day 13 prompt was a Cape Eagle Owl.

First in is Linda Baie. Here is another case of the bird working as a metaphor for human nature.

A Different Kind of Noise

No screech from eagle owls at night,
they do not need such noise,
not quite a hoot, but smallish huffs
while flying with the boys.
They’re on the prowl to dine at dark,
use eagle eyes for spying.
Their talons’ reach proves deadly quick
and means some creature’s dying.
Some fear the eagle owls at night,
and cower with their noise,
not quite a hoot those smallish huffs
while flying with the boys.

Linda Baie © All Rights Reserved

Patricia VanAmburg captures the mystery and appeal of the owl's call in this small poem.

The Owl
 by Patricia VanAmburg

Over and Over
Unanswerable question
Who are you— who—who

Diane Mayr's poem uses the cadence of the owl's call to remind us of the starts and stops of a baby's first steps.

I'm adding my owl poem a little bit late, but I'm finally caught up with my responses. Woo hoo!

Waking before Sunrise
By Laura Shovan

I heard an owl
in Albuquerque.
Sandia dawn,
the sun was lurking
behind the hills,
which threw a shadow
upon the plain.
The darkness flew
away from light,
the owl called,
Goodbye to night.

The shadow of the Sandia Mountains
moving across Albuquerque.
Jen tells me "Sandia" means watermelon seed,
for the pink color of sunset on the mountains
(the seeds are the trees)

Desert sunrise.
I love all of the colors and sensory images Charles Waters worked into his owl poem.

Cape Eagle Owl
Surveys land with his
Tangerine and charcoal
 Dotted peepers. 
Resting on rocks,
Its plump,
Unleashes a sharp,
Guttural hoot
Followed by
A tired follow-up
That trails behind
Like lost ellipses.  

(c) Charles Waters 2015 all rights reserved.

Have fun with this owl dance video sent in by Patricia.

Here are all of the sound prompts for the second week of February:

The Sound of Waves

A Bubbling Cauldron


Classic Typewriter


Cape Eagle Owl

If you'd like some poem-starters to wake up your muse, you'll find them at the bottom of this post. Drop in any time with a poem. I’ll continue to post your work throughout the month, no matter which sound you are writing in response to.

I will post next week's sound-prompts tomorrow. Look for a few sounds inspired by my recent trip to Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Would you like to read what we’ve written so far? Here are links to the week 1 poems:

Read Water Wheel Poems by Laura Shovan, Margaret Simon, Diane Mayr, Linda Baie, Patricia VanAmburg, and Charles Waters.

Read Angel Chimes Poems by Diane Mayr, Margaret Simon, Laura Shovan, Linda Baie, Patricia VanAmburg, and Charles Waters. 

Read Knife Sharpening Poems by Diane Mayr, Linda Baie, Margaret Simon, Laura Shovan, Charles Waters, and Patricia VanAmburg.

Read Thunderstorm Poems by Margaret Simon, Diane Mayr, Patricia VanAmburg, Laura Shovan, Linda Baie, and Charles Waters.

Read Ballet poems by Diane Mayr, Margaret Simon, Laura Shovan, Patricia VanAmburg, and Charles Waters.

Read Theremin Poems by Matt Forrest Esenwine, Charles Waters, Patricia VanAmburg, Margaret Simon, Diane Mayr, Laura Shovan, and Buffy Silverman.

Read Endangered Sounds poems by Patricia VanAmburg, Diane Mayr, Linda Baie, Margaret Simon, and Charles Waters.


Robyn Hood Black said...

Well, as we say here in the South where we have all those mockingbirds Margaret mentions, I'm in awe of ALL Y'ALL!
What a talented passel of poets.

Linda B said...

Very nice, all. Happy Birthday to Robbie, too!

Diane Mayr said...

I just want to take a second to thank you, Laura, for organizing this sound poem extravaganza! It's helping me through this month of endless cold and snow. There's more on the way starting tomorrow!

Author Amok said...

Hey, everyone. I'm glad you're enjoying the project, whether it's as a reader or as a writer. Diane -- stay safe and warm!

Carol Varsalona said...

Laura, this is an impressive collection. The fabulous offerings remind me that I have not sent in my attempts to your intriguing challenge. Thank you for sharing.

Author Amok said...

Thanks, Carol. Any time is fine. I took a quick count -- 67 poems so far this month!

Cathy said...

Oh this is such fun! What an interesting and inspiring project.


jama said...

Enjoyed these birdie poems :). We have a lot of mockingbirds here; love Margaret's auditory illusions especially.

And Happy Birthday to Robbie!

Jen said...

I love reading through all the sound-inspired poetry! Laura, I just adore your owl poem!

Anonymous said...

I know this will be hard to believe but today I have had multiple mockingbirds in my yard--along with a flock of robins. I don't know where they are coming from or going to because it is cold here and getting colder.
Hey Jen.

Irene Latham said...

Happy Birthday to Robbie! (Our middle son recently turned 18 as well.. we were totally having babies at the same times, weren't we??) Love all this gorgeous music y'all are creating... amazing! xo

Margaret Simon said...

Oh, I missed the owl. I had a busy week with few breaks for writing. Thanks again for keeping us going. All the variety of form is so inspiring. Makes me want to try a triolet.

Tabatha said...

I like the trills, the "Many-tongued mimic," the gathering of songs, the "terwit, terwoo this bird is mocking you." Your sounds are really sparking creativity -- 67 poems already!?? Wow!
I feel like there should be a special celebration for parents when their children turn 18 -- something to say, "You Did It!"

Michael Ratcliffe said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Michael Ratcliffe said...


Here's my entry for Day 14 (Woodcock).



The Woodhen Mocks

Yeah, I see you over there,
struttin’ around all stiff-legged.
You think you’re somethin’
but I saw you up there in the air.
You call that a dance?
I’ve seen turkeys spiral up better than you.
Hey, I’m gonna call you "Rock,"
’cuz that’s how you fell.
You’re suppose to fall like a leaf,
all graceful and floatin’ gently,
but the way you came down—Rock.
No wonder you’re walkin’ so stiff.
Yeah, you may have the call down,
mimicking one of them fine woodcocks,
but honey, you ain’t foolin’ none of us girls.

Donna Smith said...

This sounds like a really fun project...Lots of birthdays this month - my brother's and niece's, too - the 14th and 15th.

Author Amok said...

Mike -- Thanks, I'll get your poem posted with tomorrow's set.

Patricia, that's serendipitous. The mockingbirds must have heard us writing about them.

Mary Lee said...

You all are having so much fun! I wish I had room in my brain and my life to join you!

Michelle Heidenrich Barnes said...

I echo Mary Lee's comment. So many wonderful poems running amok this month!

Loved your mockingbird triolet, Laura. The form was a terrific choice! Also loved Diane's creative leap from owl hoot to baby's first steps. Fabulous.