Connecting people with nature in Ontario's Mississippi Valley

Birds In My Garden

Almonte United Church’s ‘Spirit of the Garden’ event (Apr 2009) featured many speakers. In honour of Poetry Month, the Lanark County Live Poet Society was invited to perform poems as an introduction for each speaker. Tammy MacKenzie, who loves both gardening and birds, wrote and performed the following (posted here with Tammy’s permission) to introduce MVFN member Cliff Bennet’s ‘Birds in the Garden’ talk:

Birds In My Garden

Turning and digging and tilling the soil
I work the earth in loving toil
under the watchful eyes of robins in the dew-bejeweled grass,
their red breasts bright in the morning sun,
hopping ever nearer in hopes of snatching an easy breakfast revealed by my labour.

Having laid out line and row
I gather my seeds and begin to sow,
closely watched by hopeful sparrows
and soon joined by cheery chickadees
chatting their dee-dee-dee as they flit in bobbing flight to the tree
where higher up perches a blackbird adding his musical erk-a-lee.
After I’m done they come down to the ground for a good look around,
but the seeds are well covered and they soon leave, disappointed,
and tired of the brash bullying of brazen blue jays boldly hollering their raucous kwe-kwe.

Time passes and my garden grows green,
lush and full with occasional nibbles from critters unseen.
Hummingbirds visit to sip from each flower
and sometimes when I water, indulge in a shower.
The robins still visit, and the occasional small bird,
in search of worms in the dirt and other juicy morsels on the leaves of the plants,
leaving the aphids to the ladybugs and ants.
It’s nice to see these birds in my garden, tilling the soil and tending the plants.

I smile as I watch them flitting around, now in the air and then on the ground.
their bright colours and energetic antics cheer my day,
their cheeping chatter and sweet song lift my heart.
But I must admit the misleading mimicry of the catbird’s eow brings a frown to my brow
when I hear it coming from my strawberry patch!
I really don’t mind sharing a berry or two, but their wanton pilfering simply won’t do!
They and the waxwings search out the best, always finding the biggest and brightest,
eat about half and just leave the rest!
If you heard me speak then I’d have to beg your pardon,
‘cause I really get vexed by those birds in my garden!

But I know in the end, when all’s said and done,
the garden harvested and earth bare to the sun,
when summer is passed and fall almost ended, the birds will move south or grow quiet.
I’ll feel sad and a little lonely, and miss every one
of the birds in my garden.

Tammy MacKenzie April 2009

For more information on Tammy’s work, or the Live Poets Society (LiPS), contact  or visit the LiPS website at www.lanarkcountylips.com.