Buried Birds

Where do birds bury their dead?

I know they do…

Walking in woodlands,

Parks, leafy streets

Cross-cut with instant meadow

Inter-lacing gardens, cross-hatched

With secretly nesting winged-wonders

Emerging to eat, scavenge, court,

Talk, endlessly talk..

Now the muffling commune of ice

Has freed blind stores of food

Beyond this killer camp of cold


Where do birds bury their dead?

I know they do…

As elephants tend graveyards

As Homo Sapiens sanctify plots

Birds bury their dead

But where?

If not we should see

Startled Starlings draped listlessly

Over hedgerows or fences

Stunted remains of robins

Slouched, breathless on

Bird tables

Mortified talloned-toes

Clinging aimlessly

‘Southern fruit’ style

Swinging from feeders

Up and down the land

Across the globe

Wherein the well-fed

Global warmers

Seek solace and easy redemption

In feeding their feathered friends…


We should see

Swallows and Swifts plummet

From summer skies

Spattered at our feet

There are not enough

Hungry cats, foraging foxes

Or feral scavengers

To remove all trace of ‘fallen’ birds


So where do birds bury their dead?

I know they do…

In leafy glades

Secreted amongst the longest grasses

In touch-tight hedgerows

Hammocked cruciform

Amongst embracing branches

In leaf-litter

Deep enough to bed them down

To dust

In waterways

Where without a pyre or

Lit lanterns

They depart

To watery depths


As I walk suburban streets

Urban roads

Woodland spaces

I ask, where do birds bury

Their dead?

I know they do…

Do we wake to ‘secret’ ceremonies

Each dawn?

The chorus not simply a squawk

In praise of the returning Sun God

But another day’s ceremonial

In memoriam to the Song Thrush,

Skylark, Robin, Tit or Kingfisher…

Daily waking to funeral song

Commitment, last words,

Eulogy as the ‘secretly’ buried

Early take their rest

◄ Buried Birds

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Cynthia Buell Thomas

Thu 6th Jan 2011 11:17

This is a great poem. I, too, have always wondered. The 'blackbirds' story is horrifying; and the fish washed up on the shoreline. Since you were impelled to write this I'm glad that you chose to share it. Surely there will be answers soon. Somebody must be looking for an explanation for this ghastly happening in air and water - both environments being a very chilling fact.

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Greg Freeman

Tue 4th Jan 2011 23:11

Ah yes, the plummeting blackbirds! Mind you, I think this is a marvellous poem. I like the way you keep returning to the refrain.

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Tue 4th Jan 2011 21:47

OMG!!!! Falling from american skies...apocalyptic happenings?!!!!

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