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.



I

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?

II

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

III

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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