Gallery: March Musings – Bird by Bird

Thirty years ago my older brother, who was ten years old at the time, was trying to get a report on birds written that he’d had three months to write. It was due the next day. We were out at our family cabin in Bolinas, and he was at the kitchen table close to tears, surrounded by binder paper and pencils and unopened books on birds, immobilized by the hugeness of the task ahead. Then my father sat down beside him, put his arm around my brother’s shoulder, and said, ‘Bird by bird, buddy. Just take it bird by bird. – Anne Lamott, Bird by Bird

            One of my favorite writing teachers is Anne Lamott.  I do not feel judged when I read Anne Lamott. I feel like writing is within reach.  This March, I’ve decided to take the SOLC sponsored by Two Writing Teachers, and in doing so, I have decided to take it bird by bird – literally.  I will write or draw each day about birds. 

            I have been working on a lot of academic, school-type writing, and I want set aside March for exploration and play. I’m not trying to teach anything; I’m just pondering, playing, and considering the life of birds.  I have always admired birds – both their seeming fragility and their great strength.

March 21

March 20

March 19

March 18

March 17

March 16

March 15

March 14

March 13

March 12

March 11

March 10

March 9


I draw open the heavy drapes 
In my bedroom,
Look out in the early morning
Past the shrubbery and thorny bushes.

There he stands,
A dark-headed sentinel
Staring with black beady eyes,
Quiet and still.

His webbed feet 
Provide sturdy balance.
He looks in my direction
And meets my gaze.

He rustles his sleek feathers,
Moves towards the adjacent patio
To stare intently through the
Sliding door windows.

There the neighbor’s
Orange tabby cat,
Stretches, sunning himself
On the worn blue ottoman.

The goose unmoving watches.
The cat stands, circles,
And shape-shifts -
While his tail twitches.

This interests the goose
And he steps closer to the window.
What creature is this?
What predator behind glass?

The cat pretends not to notice
And turns his back.
The goose returns to his place
Under the cool pine tree.

He stands proud  
lifting his wild wings slightly
Catching the wind
Knowing he is free.

March 8

March 7

March 6

March 5

March 4

March 3

March 2

March Morning

Bare Branches
Fringe the sullen sky
Haunting and motionless

Even the birds are too cold
To venture out 
This March morning

Tufts of grass still green
Poke through a thin layer
Of fresh fallen snow

Golden oak leaves
Lie frozen in a garden puddle
Suspended till spring

The Slate-gray stones 
Which border the garden
Are stamped with lichen

Gray, white, pale green
Like alien snowflakes
Each one different

The earth rests patiently
Settling in under compost,
Mulch, burlap blankets

Though in my mind
I can hear the distant
Buzz of spring

March 1

Thank you to the Slice of Life March Challenge for giving me the idea of writing step-by-step, bird-by-bird. When you write, anything is possible.

19 thoughts on “Gallery: March Musings – Bird by Bird

  1. How funny! (I loved today’s poem) I am writing picture book drafts and many entries have been about birds. I love birds, too. I also love watching them. I like the concept of “bird by bird,” for March’s Slice of Life, too.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I have read Bird by Bird, but now I am thinking I need a reread! Your poems are exquisite. I like today’s poem because of the hope that spring brings to us along with the birdsong.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Oh, Joanne, that is wonderful. Those wings: “her origami wings folded / to precise perfection” Wow! And all the way to that “single shining fish” is just beautiful.

    Liked by 1 person

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