Snowbound: Filling the Feeder (a new poem by Janet Grace Riehl)

A foot of snow atop our bluff: Evergreen Heights, Jersey Township, SW Illinois.

Animal Tracks in snow

Mother, that which you filled and then emptied,
we fill again as best we can.

Your chair hold us at the wheelhouse hub,
yet a glance windowward unfolds and holds worlds beyond.

This morning’s world insulated in a snowy rug.

Animal Tracks in snow

Cardinal families flit-flash at the new-fangled feeders
Daddy fills in your name.
He bustles in, shakes himself,
like an old dog in a new body:
“I like going out in the cold to feed the birds.
Keeps me in touch with the real world.”

Outside the kitchen window
the floor of the wooden feeder rots.
Old John,
the prettiest woodpecker one could hope to find,
dined under its tin roof.

In those times of regular butchering
we filled suet baskets easily.
Now, with everything shipped under plastic
where could you get suet

Daddy says persistent squirrels
baned the old feeder in later years.
In came the plastic urns.

In his day, the feeder rested
on the other side of the house.
No squirrels climbed there,
but its harder to commune, too.

Titmice pick at their feed outside the window.
Dressed in neutral mix and match,
they fade into place.

Evergreens bough down under the snow weight.

Below our bluffline, River Road traffic.
Beyond the island, power plant rumblings.

Even snowbound and serene
the world and its noise travels to us.

We do our best mother,
to fill again
that which you filled
and then emptied.

Animal Tracks in snow

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  1. Janet,
    You “evoke sensation in the reader” as E.L.Doctorow says we writers should. What a lovely poem of winter, of warm remembrances and present adaptations. I, too, filled feeders today and yesterday…in warm, sunny weather with a hint of cloud cover. Daylight savings time begins Sunday, except maybe in your neck of the woods where the daylight may hide. Arletta

  2. One moment, engrossed in the hectic reel of a California Saturday morning. One click and I’m tracing tracks and titmice on the bluffs of SW Illinois. Thanks, Janet. I needed that!

  3. Janet,
    Your words so tender, so gentle, so full of warmth and comfort. I feel I’m there beside you. Thank you.

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