Bird Song and Truck Horns

Slept for twelve hours and now feel much more human. The sun is just coming up in Hanoi and I can hear birds singing in the trees below my hotel window and the first tentative truck horns of the morning. Vietnam is full of wonderful birds, big singers with wild plumage to dun little sparrow-like birds who flicker among the leaves like animated shadows. The Vietnamese love bird and bird song--so much so that they catch and cage them--you see lovely bamboo cages everywhere. The birds are typically pampered and moved in and out of doors as the weather permits, so it is probably sentimental that when I see them caged, I wish the birds free.

Author: jd

Joseph Duemer is Professor of Literature Emeritus at Clarkson University in northern New York state. His most recent book of poems is Magical Thinking from Ohio State University Press. Since the mid-1990s he has spent a good deal of time in Vietnam, mostly Hanoi. He lives with his wife Carole & five terriers (four Jack Russells & one Patterdale) on the stony bank of the Raquette River in South Colton.

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