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