The Sparrow

over the water

For the sparrows that feature in this week’s gospel reading. This poem was first published by the Collegeville Institute’s Bearings. Coincidentally, today I fly to Collegeville.


Sparrow is packing heat.
He has taken up residence
atop a propane burner on the deck,
building his family into their nest;
an outrageously flammable construct.

We hold our fire,
keep our distance,
while sparrow, careless, kicks back.
Is this bald-faced contingency a design flaw, or
the conceit of a bird-brained genius?


Sparrow’s out foraging.
Tiny unseen beaks sing
improbably loudly
their repetitious repertoire
of faith, hope, and hunger
to the father.


Sparrow stakes his claim to the feeder
which I had bought, and filled, and hung;
beneath his scolding, I beat a retreat.
Unabashed, he faces down the scarlet cardinal;
unchastened by the chattering squirrel,
careless of the black-wigged crow,
the bold, brown ragamuffin knows his place,
beautiful in…

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