HOUSING FOR WRENS
In April when forsythia explodes
overnight in yellow fireworks
like fresh popcorn along arcing branches,
and the goldfinch abandons olive drab
plumage to emulate forsythias’ hue,
his stark ebony cap and wings a hat trick,
along comes the plain-brown-wrappered wren,
focused as a meter reader, from yard
to yard appraising birdhouses for nesting.
He darts between a brush pile and a gourd
I hung beyond reach in a redbud tree––
in and out a door hole the width of my thumb.
This friend of gardeners is a connoisseur
of bugs, his warbling song lasts into summer,
and lots of people want him for a neighbor.
Voice vibrations pulsate from chin through tall throat
and halfway down the chest. Such breath control!
What long, loud peals for such a little bell.
He shows off for peers when he calls a mate
or announces his territory, saying
to other wrens in earshot: “Stay away.”
Once he finds a few properties, the female
arrives, the pair will tour them, and the one
she likes best is where they’ll make their nest.
Being a landlord to wrens requires
going along with the jenny. She churrs
insistently for a house that’s clean.
I’ve scrubbed away detritus left from last year’s
brood to make home pleasant for a new family.
No soggy mush on the floor will breed bird lice.
The small door well above the nesting cushion
keeps out blue jays. Cats kill, and scolding wrens
bray up a din to drive away those hazards.
If wrens choose to nest in my yard this year,
I’ll keep my cats indoors, watch parent wrens
fly day-long insect brigades home, and hear
the feathered divo on a blossoming branch
belt out an energetic ode to joy
a quarter mile into the neighborhood.
Originally published in Peninsula Poets, copyright © 2015 by Edward Morin
Edward Morin has had poems in Prairie Schooner, Ploughshares and in two collections–– Labor Day at Walden Pond and The Dust of Our City. A chapbook of his will be published this year by Cervena Barva Press. He lives in Ann Arbor, MI.