Just a birdhouse, that’s all…

not a dream, or a well-researched plan, or even

a creative act that, labored under glaze in an American kiln,

was carried in proud maternal hands

all the way to England.

For three years it hung, ignored and empty,

on my daughter’s cottage wall, where the old

climber rose was pruned and trained to grow around it.

Just a birdhouse, that’s all… until this spring

when visiting my growing family, I sat in the sun beneath the old rose.

Above me, the sound of a baby bird from inside a hollow place, cried for attention.

Excited, expectant, we waited for days, watching the terracotta walls and listening.

Nothing happened until early one morning, a scraping flutter, and cries

that couldn’t be mistaken for anything but a bird in distress.

I rushed to get the camera and sat facing the house on the wall.

A mature Great Tit flew onto the little roof, calling to her chick inside…

Scratching and fluttering emerged in response – audible eagerness to escape the nest.

All morning I waited, watching as worried winged parents entreated and coaxed,

offering fat-grub morsels to their love-raised child – if only he’d fly.

 My daughter took the kids to school, but I sat, camera ready, steady

and still, quiet and hopeful; I wondered, did I make the hole big enough?

For hours I kept the camera aimed, while wings fought to scale the inner walls

then fell in defeated exhaustion only to try again and again.  I worried.

Hope waning, I wanted to remove the birdhouse roof and look inside – but wait –

a face appeared in the little round hole – then a body – and wooosh!

The wild winged child, freed from its clay-hidden nest, took his first flight,

landed on a nearby tree, and praised by his parents, was rewarded with grubs.

I sighed, laughed and cried with relief.


A birdhouse sits empty now on my daughter’s wall in England…

Just a plan that I scribbled in a notebook, and kneaded out of clay

then fired and glazed it, and carried it so many miles to hang beside a rose.

Just a birdhouse, that’s all



Filed under Non-Fiction, Poetry, Uncategorized

8 responses to “Accomplishment

  1. marion and jim Coyne

    Magnificent! The beauty of the handcrafted birdhouse, the unfolding of a new little life, family love on so many levels, the photos, the eloquent description – thank-you for sharing this jewel. We’re so glad that you were at the right time and place for this experience. You do create beauty wherever you go 🙂

  2. carolyn cochran

    Freedom and independence is what we want for our baby birds, but it is fearful and hurtful to watch the transition and lonely when they are gone.

    • I hadn’t thought of it like that, but now you mention it, yes, my fear was that the walls I built were too constricting, and my hurt was the sound of the chick’s desperation when it couldn’t get out. Every scratch of that wing against the clay was like torture. When we apply this to our children, I guess it’s much the same – fearing that we didn’t screw them up with our parenting and pain when we see them struggle. But the reward is always the flight – that was joyful, wonder-ful and awesome.

  3. This is just beautifully gorgeous–and exciting! What a wonderful gift you gave your readers.


  4. Beautiful. I love the pictures too. Thanks for this. Sue

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