Gray Catbird · Lock 39 Trailhead

Gray Catbird on the Nest

by Theresa Brightman

If you hear a mewling cry, between a
human child and a disappointed cat,
in the dense shrubs of your yard,

and see a flash of rust
under a handful-cloud of slate grey,
leave her be.

She is friendly but shy, transitory,
fierce in defense.
If you could ask her,

she would tell you
she does nothing heroic.
It is what her people do.

One thousand miles,
from south to north then south again,
following budding trees in the spring

to a fresh hold of twigs in the undergrowth
where she raises her babies
and fights off blue jays and grackles.

And when the brown-headed cowbird
gets up to the old cuckoo tricks,
her sharp, dark eye watches.

She jabs the intruder’s eggs
and rolls them from the nest.
She knows invasion.

She does not proceed with irrational fury.
Nor does she ignore the threat,
waiting until danger blossoms and fruits.

She acts, protecting
the innocents in her care, and ends
the parasite incursion before it begins.

She would tell you
she does nothing heroic.
It is what her people do.

Continue Reading

American BeaverKatie Daley

Painted TurtleRebekah Ainsworth

Green DarnerMarion Boyer

Eastern Screech-OwlDr. R. Ray Gehani

Spring PeeperBarbara Sabol

Eastern Carpenter BeeSylvia Clark

Jacob's LadderRisha Nicole

Candleflame LichenClara Britton

Eastern NewtElizabeth Ryan

American BullfrogLaura Grace Weldon

American ChestnutCarrie George

American GoldfinchMarybeth Cieplinski

American HornbeamJeff Gundy

Artist’s BracketSusann Moeller

Banded Fishing SpiderCharlie Malone

BluegillOlivia Farina

Common Star-of-BethlehemBrita Alaburda

Common StonefliesKaren Schubert

Eastern ChipmunkNathan Kemp

Firefly BeetleJacquie Peoples Dukes

Gray CatbirdTheresa Brightman

Great MulleinLaurie Kincer

Green HeronPaula J. Lambert

HepaticaAmanda Schuster

Interrupted FernKathleen Cerveny

Jack-in-the-PulpitMichael Buebe

Meadow VoleRoberta Jupin

Monarch ButterflyDeborah Fleming

MuskratCatherine Wing

Pearl CrescentMonica Kaiser

Poison HemlockJon Conley

Star JelliesCameron Gorman

Sugar MapleSteve Brightman

Turkey VultureLaura Grace Weldon

White-footed MouseMichelle Bissell

White-tailed DeerBenjamin Rhodes

Wild CarrotJessica Jones


Traveling Stanzas community arts projects bring poetry to people’s everyday lives through innovative methods and digital platforms.