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Birds – Via Negativa

Purveyors of fine poetry since 2003.

Last Build Date: Wed, 21 Feb 2018 03:50:24 +0000


This Cold Ache

Wed, 17 Feb 2016 23:37:19 +0000

So we are not unique in this thing either, and may not have even been the first; the gods from which we stole that fire may well have been birds; clearly, the earth does not need us to manifest this option, does not need our bodies to preserve the DNA of pyromania.

Announcing the Audubon and Igloria pileated woodpecker mug

Sat, 05 Dec 2015 15:25:27 +0000

In commemoration of Luisa A. Igloria's first five years of writing a poem a day at Via Negativa, this mug pairs her first poem in the series, about a pileated woodpecker, with John James Audubon's print of pileateds from Birds of North America.


Fri, 27 Nov 2015 00:21:51 +0000

Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys: "in the customs of larks joy is all the rage // they pierce the heart afire with a news in which I hardly believe"

Society Rag

Thu, 11 Jun 2015 13:05:52 +0000

When the Northern flickers fledge, they dress in flashy uniforms, band performance and they all play drums, take deep-sweep bows mid-flight, shout wacka-wacka!

Night singer

Wed, 14 May 2014 20:08:25 +0000

Every time I go outside to look at the moon, I hear a ghostly twittering in the treetops. Birds, or flying squirrels? I shine a flashlight all around, but don't catch a reflection from any mammalian eyes. I switch it off. My brother's silver truck glows like the belly of a fish.

Midday storm

Sun, 11 May 2014 01:13:10 +0000

Goldfinches gad about in the blossoming crowns of the oaks, brassy as advertising. The clouds draw in. Wood thrushes begin their evening songs at noon. Long feathers of rain on the breeze—a plumage the exact color of the world.

Counting warblers

Thu, 08 May 2014 02:56:06 +0000

Hooded, worm-eating, cerulean, black-throated green. I tick off the names like prayer beads, and later, when a black snake rears up like an instant tree, I remember all the deadly false Edens, the acres of glass.

Graffitied beech

Tue, 06 May 2014 19:46:00 +0000

The beech tree has seven eyes where limbs used to be, each of them gazing upward. Down below, the scars of old, knife-cut graffiti: Smoke Up. Fly High. Manson Lives. A warbler in the crown of a neighboring oak, its shadow crossing my face.

Violet Hill

Mon, 05 May 2014 19:58:25 +0000

The first surveyor—1795— labeled this mountain Violet Hill. Did he study it in the blue distance, or see right at his feet the crowds of violets fluttering under the attention of the rain? A warbler just back from the tropics sings quietly, as if trying to locate all the notes.

Return of the warblers

Fri, 25 Apr 2014 19:29:29 +0000

Mayapples are coming up: green parasols shedding the soil as they open. A coyote trots across the road, looking back over its shoulder. Above the trembling surface of the vernal pond, the first warblers' buzzy songs.