First Finch

I'm pretty sure I saw the first house finch today. It was over by the feeder in a spruce tree, but didn't fly down to eat while I was looking. The weather has been awful these first three weeks of April (insert obligatory allusion to T.S. Eliot here), with low gray skies, freezing nights & last weekend a storm of heavy wet snow. That's mostly melted now, but all the plants that stuck shoots up during the few warm days we had at the end of March have only now begun to grow again. With luck, we'll have a few daffodils blooming by the weekend. Just now -- as I was writing this -- I heard one of the terriers growling at the bedroom window. When I looked out, I saw a wild turkey coming across the road to browse under the feeders. I usually see them in flocks of six to twelve individuals, so it was unusual to see a solitary bird. We've seen several the last few weeks & thought for a while they were nesting in our woods by the river. I suspect the bird I saw this evening is a young male kicked out of the flock during breeding season. He even had a feather dangling loose from his breast as if he'd had a dust up with the dominant male. (Any ornithologists reading this who want to correct my speculation are welcome to respond -- I didn't find any information on flock dynamics in a quick internet search.) All this gives me some comfort as the republic reels from the body blows of corruption inflicted by its current leaders. Later: As I was letting the dogs in from the back yard just now, I heard the first spring peepers. Update: Saw an evening grosbeak at the feeder this afternoon, the day following the post above. We have seen them in winter in years past, but not recently.

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.

3 thoughts on “First Finch”


    In the hole of the hole there’s a bridge
    how long you’ve been holding me my angel
    over that space of the mind we embrace
    but life keeps interfering with what’s hidden
    one has to say as just this body weakens
    if you take into account the whole science
    most of its plant and bird apparatus entangled
    in the necessary loss of the world for what
    littleness I start with, are you myself,
    advanced enough to feel the terror yet
    calmly not enough to keep me from it
    barred from exit out or in we wait
    on either side of ourselves pierced through
    little by little with all we fear we are.

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