* * *
Song of a Shama at Dusk
Behind my house
the shama sang greenery light
and blue-note shadow—
as if the burning cities
were only evening news teams.
* * *
Singing with the Shama
Outside my window a shama,
most melodious of Oahu singers,
gurgles his liquid tunes as he cavorts
in the spray of the sprinkler in my yard.
He frequents that fountain,
despite my presence a few feet away—
in my shower, singing, too.
Sometimes, though, as I croon,
“500 miles, 500 miles. . .”
he stops his warble mid note,as if to declare
he does not do duets.
* * *
Our secretary was shocked.
“Why are those birds attacking that other bird!”
On the sidewalk outside the window
two male shamas were poking a female shama
who was prone on the pavement.
The two males, oblivious to foot traffic
as students stepped around them,
were lifting the female again and again with their bills.
After a few minutes, the prostrate female stirred,
rose unsteadily to her feet and flew away
the two males followed.
Then we understood that the fallen bird had,
for the moment, been rescued
by an extraordinary effort
after a collision with a reflection.
* * *
Joseph Stanton‘s Moving Pictures, Things Seen, Imaginary Museum, A Field Guide to the Wildlife of Suburban Oahu, Cardinal Points, and What the Kite Thinks. His other sorts of books include Looking for Edward Gorey, The Important Books, Stan Musial: A Biography, and A Hawaii Anthology. His poems have appeared in Poetry, New Letters, Harvard Review, Antioch Review, New York Quarterly, and many other magazines. He is Professor Emeritus of Art History and American Studies at the University of Hawaii at Manoa.