In the Jersey woods

In the Jersey woods

Home again
           in the Jersey woods
Mornings between eight and nine
           a full concert of birds
from different quarters
           In keeping with the fresh scent
the peace
           the naturalness all around me
I am lately noticing the russet-back
           size of the robin or a trifle less
light breast and shoulders
           with irregular dark stripes
long tail
           these days sits hunched up by the hour
top of a tall bush or some tree
           singing blithely

I often get near and listen
           as he seems tame
I like to watch the working
           of his bill and throat
the quaint sidle of his body
           and flex of his long tail

I hear the woodpecker
           and at night and early morning
the shuttle of the whip-poor-will
           noons
the delicious gurgle of the thrush
           and the meo-o-ow of the cat-bird

Many I cannot name
           but I don’t particularly seek information
You need not be too precise or scientific
           about birds and trees and flowers
and water-craft —
           a certain free margin
even vagueness or ignorance
           helps your enjoyment of these things
and of the sentiment of feathered
           or wooded or river or marine nature

Walt Whitman

(adapted from Specimen Days by John Lyons)

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