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The Slate Grey Junco
Barbara Crooker

with his immaculate bib, sooty jacket,
bobs in the snow for sunflower seeds.
Caught between two needs, hunger and shelter,
he keeps coming back, even as the arctic wind
which has howled all day shuttles him
like the cock in a badminton game,
wind that rattles the windows, shakes the house,
and blows the snow in great sheets across the yard.
But here he is again, charcoal wings beating hard,
as he skids off the barbecue lid, comes in for another
landing.†What comes back? Memory and desire,
my grandmother, long gone, the empty rooms
in my parentsí house, voices of friends
beyond the reach of wires, white thread in a bobbin,
a chain of stitching, the line of waves along the shore.†
Fugue and variations, the windís refrain.
Snow, folding back on itself, warping
and woofing the scarf of the storm.
From Line Dance (Word Press, 2008.
This poem first appeared in published in The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
Used here with the authorís permission.

Barbara Crooker, is the author of ten chapbooks, three full-length books, and more than 700 poems published in more than 2300 publications. She credits her achievements to perseverance as much as talent, and says, "Writing poetry is not putting down whatever comes into your head, and leaving it at that, never taking it any further. Poetry involves layers, and a lot of revision." Barbara lives in Fogelsville, Pennsylvania, where she will be making gravy for her family that includes two vegetarians, two non-wheat eaters, two non-dairy eaters, and a grandchild who is anaphylactic for nuts (especially peanuts) and eggs. Read more about her


Post New Comment:
I think the first part of the poem exquisite, a litle masterpiece. I'd end the poem with the words--"comes in for another landing."
Posted 03/02/2013 07:20 PM
I love the opening image and the final lines, and the way the bird's "coming back" weaves the poem together, and then the other weaving begins--nice, Barbara.
Posted 02/25/2013 11:39 PM
Yes, as we age, these things come back and back like a Junco in the snow. Thank you
Posted 02/25/2013 06:58 AM
Oh Barbara! Always a fresh approach. Great winter poem.Creative images. Thanks so much.
Posted 02/24/2013 04:52 PM
wendy morton:
What an exquisite poem. The loom of memory.
Posted 02/24/2013 01:17 PM
lisa honecker:
Always a poem emerges when viewing the birds in winter.
Posted 02/24/2013 11:41 AM
A gorgeous poem, Barbara. I love it! Bravo!
Posted 02/24/2013 11:37 AM
Ginny C.:
This poem opens up beautifully, and every line is finely crafted.
Posted 02/24/2013 10:31 AM
Nice! Enjoyed it so!
Posted 02/24/2013 09:50 AM
Wow! Powerful, visual, musical.
Posted 02/24/2013 09:36 AM
ed werstein:
excellent, Barbara
Posted 02/24/2013 09:25 AM
Carol Hauer:
Fantastic images, one more beautiful than the other, like a series of other-worldly boxcars passing in front of my gaze. Very touching. Thank you.
Posted 02/24/2013 08:52 AM
This was wonderful. I also read it to my husband, and we both thought the visualation, sounds, and memories were exquisite.
Posted 02/24/2013 08:21 AM
Terri Kirby Erickson:
Posted 02/24/2013 08:13 AM
Larry Schug:
being a bird lover, I love this poem on that level and being a poet, I appreciate its poetry. I can repeat "warping and woofing the scarf of the storm" like a mantra. Nice!
Posted 02/24/2013 07:30 AM
Wonderful, well-chosen imagery!
Posted 02/24/2013 07:13 AM
ms.crooker is always a breath of fresh air and it is always a pleasure to see her featured.
Posted 02/24/2013 04:35 AM

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