Gladiator Tracks

Hi everyone,

I haven’t shown you lately our hydrangea wall outside the office window. It might not look like it but I’m on the other side of that glorious plant.

Here’s my view of that welcoming green jungle. Occasionally, birds explore in the leaves and present me with a closeup of their curiosity. During mating season, male cardinals and robins sometimes do battle with their reflections in the window glass. Some battles last off and on for days. Here’s a poem I wrote about one such epic.

March 27, 2012
For the last four days a young robin has been flailing away at my office window. He shows up at 8:00 a.m. sharp, prepared to joust with his image in the glass. It was as though he were reporting to work. I half expected to see him bring a lunch box with maybe a new spring worm sandwich and a sack of ants. He didn’t knock off for the night until 7:00 or so.

Once started, the robin flew against the window many times a minute, twenty times at least. I figured the number of self-attacks during the day at roughly 15,000. Don Quixote could have learned from this young fellow.

At noon on the fourth day, my combative little companion left the scene. I will probably spot him around the yard, trying to figure out how to live with a beak like a pretzel. I salute him.

Gladiator Tracks

Beak tracks across my windowpane,
Testimony to his youthful ardor
Who, determined if he battles harder,
Will win, but all his pecking is in vane.

Staring balefully in the morning sun,
He flogs the interloper to no avail.
It seems equally eager to assail,
At day’s end neither bird has won.

Day two, three, the battle is resumed,
Each combatant staring at the foe,
Feathers puffed, standing toe to toe.
Determined that the challenger is doomed,

He hurls himself again against the glass,
Falls back, blinks, puzzled, dazed,
His enemy mocks, blinks, just as crazed,
Flies at once to block where he would pass.

By day four he fights with waning might,
Vents from either end his weary wrath,
He needs food, rest, he needs a bath.
The battlefield he leaves is painted white.

(c) 2017 David L. Harrison, all rights reserved