Tuesday, November 3, 2009

November 3: Blue Jay

The haiku master Kobayashi Issa (1763-1827) often wrote humorous observations of the animal life around him, like these gems, translated by Robert Hass:

The bedbugs
scatter as I clean,
parents and children.

The mountain cuckoo--
a fine voice,
and proud of it!

(From The Essential Haiku: Versions of Basho, Buson, & Issa, edited by Robert Hass)

In that same vein, I offer up today's haiku, with a short back story: I've stuck a small bird feeder filled with black sunflower seed on the window in front of my office desk. I'm often entertained and pleasantly distracted throughout the work day by the various birds who visit. Regular drop-ins include tufted titmice, chickadees, goldfinches, a white-breasted nuthatch or two, the occasional song sparrow, and, if I'm lucky, a cardinal or rose-breasted grosbeak. Lately, however, the blue jays have figured out how to balance on the tiny feeder to get their share of seed. The cheeky birds look in at me with beady black eyes that shine with sly intelligence. At first I shooed them off, but now I stop what I'm doing to admire them--their color, cleverness, and audacity. They're smart and they get what they want. And as I carry out my work, there are probably lessons I could be learning by following their example, if I could dare to be so brash.

Big greedy blue jay,
you can barely fit yourself
in my bird feeder.

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