Guest Poet John Durler

Love Birds

They chatter and shriek
--sounds like a tropical forest.
They pace back and forth,
complain about the cage,
want to fly, not just stretch
and flutter wings--
really fly, in an open space.
I tell them theyíll get caught
by a cat and be eaten.
They donít want to hear it,
ignore me, and screech.
They never saw a cat
canít imagine it,
even if I growl and hiss,
pounce and claw at them,
show them pictures of cats
birds in mouth.
They continue to complain
until I eat them,
feathers and all
† and pick my teeth with their tiny claws.

September, 1998

John Durler's Questions:

Is my concern for the safety of the birds overcome by their insistence of ignoring all my actions, their only thoughts to fly free displayed here?

Does it come out in these words what most people would like to do with chronic complainers?

Does my last stanza wrap it up and stun you, perhaps to†† the point of gagging?

I am certainly a bird lover, and I wrote this poem as an experiment.† My love birds are escape artists, and constant complainers, screeching their demands.

Correspond with John Durler at
with your ideas about this poem.


Swift is the hawk in indellible blue,
a rocket in flight in the fired eye
of the hare in the field,
A swipe of the claws,
the fury of wings,
the air a spray of bubbly red.
The heart at the stop
in a rapture of fear
in the slack of the rope
in the lifeline of hope.
Tendons at rest
in the calm
of a stopped brain's pulse,
as a feather clings
to a tuft of fur
stuck on the thorn of the thicket.

September, 1998

John Durler's Questions:

1 does the image of the rabbit, seeing the terribleness of the hawk descending come through in my words.

2 Did you see the rabbit as running to the thicket, aware of the Haw'ks descent, too late to hide?

3 Did I display the sudden death of the rabbit?† The instantaneousness of it?† The physical takeover from life to death?

Correspond with John Durler at
with your ideas about this poem.

The Albany Poetry Workshop