- Author: Patricia Matteson
A dozen dark shapes silhouetted
in the dawn tracery of our Chinese tallow tree.
As usual a few flickers
yanking fruits but what are those
smaller…? Robins! The first sign of spring
in January already.
but one of those endless clichés.
Poetry Web site oh dear:
robin's egg blue
splashing in the birdbath
Well yes, I love watching robins
flutter-empty the flowerpot saucer
under the Chinese tallow.
Yeah yeah so what else is new?
Worm dried stiff on the sidewalk
must have been dropped around dawn.
No hopping seen and no robin
but she was there.
from trees far and near.
On the front porch in slippers and bathrobe
bathed in cool air
watching the east color red, I hear
another spring's beginning beauty.
William Carlos Williams got me started
about the song:
Speaks the red-breast his behest. Clearly!
Red-breast? Give me a break.
Not possible even for Williams
to escape cliché.
How about others?
Sibley: “often two or three phrases
alternately repeated over and over
plurri, kliwi, plurri, kliwi…”
No cliché, but a bit clinical.
Mom used to tell me “Cheery cheery cheery!” Better.
Hackneyed or what?
 Triadica sebifera
 Northern flicker, Colaptes auratus
 American robin, Turdus migratorius
4 Paterson by William Carlos Williams. Book One (1946), p. 20. New Directions Publishing Co., New York, 1992.
5 The Sibley Guide to Birds by David Allen Sibley, p. 403. National Audubon Society, Alfred A. Knopf, New York, 2000.