Northern Parula Warbler

I am happy to introduce W. J. Herbert to readers in Maine.  She moved to Portland about a year ago from California via New York. Wendy is a flutist as well as a poet and has published widely.  Her poem makes us all dream of spring and I love the particulars of it, the way it shows us one of the miraculous creatures of nature in language that is compelling. There is great attention here which is a way of loving the world. And it makes me think of how Maine is a destination for migrating warblers, with Evergreen Cemetery in Portland a temporary resting place for these little songsters on their way further north to nesting grounds.

Betsy Sholl, MAJ Poetry Editor


Where do you put your eggs?
              The nest you left is a mess.

There’s no fist of twigs
              for you to set them in, no mud ledge

to keep fledges from falling,
              only lichen, disheveled and shapeless,

as if you’d never seen one
              cupped like the catbird’s, robin’s

or even the chipping sparrow’s lined
              with horse hair from the Mize farm

where Cornelia lifted it
              from a tree. Who would want

yours, Warbler?—
              Someone who loves the way you nest

in flood rubble
              trapped in a black gum’s branches?

Who admires your skein’s
              elusive entrance hidden in the moss

of a tupelo tree? Or someone drunk
              on your trill that sweetens

the canopy?—flash of breast
              we squint to see among the leaves.



[Southern Poetry Review Vol. 55, No. 2]