"Cardinal Grosbeak" by John James Audubon‘For the Birds’ and Other Poetry by Joe Tessitore The Society April 1, 2021 Beauty, Poetry 20 Comments . For the Birds The cardinal in his bold, red cloak; His wife so subtle, so bespoke. In complimentary blues and grays, The raucous jays—they have their ways. And in the trees, the chickadees! Their song is always sure to please! There at the feeder, every morn, Sunflower seed mixed with cracked corn. . . On the Beach I stand by myself on the beach— A lone, Laughing Gull sailing past— Just beyond the immense ocean’s reach, The siren, in the distance, calling All to a watery grave. The setting sun behind me falls And for the briefest moment casts My shadow on a breaking wave— It’s true that nothing really lasts. . . In the Night What flies in the wind In the night? That rattles the panes And spins the vanes And always remains Out of sight? That sings with the owls As a coyote howls At the silvery shroud Of a dark, racing cloud— What a fright! Oh, the tricks of the mind And what demons we find As our reason unwinds In the night. . . Joe Tessitore is a retired New York City resident and poet. NOTE: The Society considers this page, where your poetry resides, to be your residence as well, where you may invite family, friends, and others to visit. Feel free to treat this page as your home and remove anyone here who disrespects you. Simply send an email to email@example.com. Put “Remove Comment” in the subject line and list which comments you would like removed. The Society does not endorse any views expressed in individual poems or comments and reserves the right to remove any comments to maintain the decorum of this website and the integrity of the Society. Please see our Comments Policy here. Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pinterest (Opens in new window) 20 Responses Jeff Eardley April 1, 2021 Joe, that’s some bird feeder you have. Lovely to read and a great picture. Thank you. Reply Joe Tessitore April 1, 2021 You’re obviously a bird guy, Jeff. I shared a marvelous experience with a librarian involving a hummingbird, which I posted at the end of Susan’s most recent poetry. You should take a look. The one thing I forgot to mention was, as I held the little bird in my hand, I kept saying over and over again to myself “Help her, Mary, please.” Reply Joe Tessitore April 1, 2021 A hug ( instead of a shout-out) to my dear cousin Arlene for the first line and the atmospherics of “In the Night”. Reply jd April 1, 2021 All three are lovely, Joe, easily identified with. I hear a Cardinal’s coin-click as I write this. Thank you! Reply C.B. Anderson April 1, 2021 The mascot of my alma mater, Wesleyan University, is the cardinal, so your first poem is especially resonant for me. And I have always liked the female’s coloration the best — so damped down, subtle, and dominated by earth tones. But tell me, Joe, do you really have coyotes in NYC? And owls? I loved the rhyme scheme in that one especially. Reply Joe Tessitore April 1, 2021 C.B. We’re up in the Catskills and we spend more time here than in NYC. Mrs. T wanted a place where she could hear the birds, so we wound up buying a little house on the same farm road where we had one a decade ago. I’m glad you commented. I was thinking of asking you about the punctuation of the first verse of “On the Beach”, which was a total mind-bender for me. Reply C.B. Anderson April 1, 2021 Joe, I’m confused. On the Beach was a novel by Neville Shute about nuclear world destruction — very depressing. Could you be referring to the poem “Dover Beach” by Matthew Arnold? Oh, sorry! I forgot the title of your middle poem. In regard to the punctuation, I would probably have done this: I stand by myself on the beach, A lone, laughing gull sailing past, [no need to put “gull” in caps] Just beyond the immense ocean’s reach — The siren, in the distance, calling All to a watery grave. What you must understand, Joe, is that the purpose of punctuation is to clarify expression; it has no other use that I know of, though there are certain conventions that should be observed, such as commas before and after the name of the addressee, as in sentences such as: Let me tell you, Joe, it’s cold up north. I hope this helps. Margaret Coats April 1, 2021 LA County Museum had an exhibition on “Urban Wildlife,” and coyotes apparently now feature in city life all over the United States, along with feral cats and aggressive pigeons. And Joe’s Laughing Gulls (capitalized as a species name) are nuisances at airports anywhere within many miles of a beach. They seem not to be afraid of plane engine noise, and flocks of them cause damage or even crashes by being sucked in. And Joe, since I already said something about capitalization, I’ll also say that using M-dashes as parentheses, as you did in “On the Beach,” is quite acceptable. Reply Paul Freeman April 1, 2021 I liked them all, but ‘In the Night’ is quite monumental in my humble opinion. Reply Margaret Coats April 1, 2021 I agree with Paul Freeman about “In the Night,” and along with Joe thank Cousin Arlene for suggesting the first line. Notice that Joe goes back to Arlene’s unrhyming “wind” with the eye-rhymes “mind” and “find” in the last stanza, where he finally “unwinds” the thought. I also admire the “shadow on a breaking wave” in “On the Beach.” Can there be a more insubstantial or transient image? It doesn’t prove that “nothing really lasts,” but goes a long way toward leaving that impression. Reply Joe Tessitore April 1, 2021 The inspiration for “On the Beach” was a photo that I took of a breaking wave and inadvertently caught my shadow on it. My reaction to it, Margaret, was the same as yours. Reply Martin Rizley April 1, 2021 Thank you, Joe, for these atmospheric words pictures. I particularly enjoyed the sense of mystery created in the second and third poems. Brief, but effective evocations of mood on a windy night and by the sea at sunset– two magical settings! Reply BRIAN YAPKO April 1, 2021 Each of these three poems is a delight, though I’m partial to the giddy joy of For the Birds, with its internal rhymes. The subtle rhymes and inconspicuous observations of On the Beach are lovely and somehow call to mind an extended, modified haiku. And In the Night is fun, spooky and has a nice psychological twist. I enjoyed all three. Reply Joe Tessitore April 1, 2021 Thanks to all for your very gracious comments. Reply Yael April 1, 2021 All 3 poems are perfectly enjoyable to read, as each one paints a picture and tells an interesting story at the same time. It’s hard to pick a favorite, but if I were to do so I would pick On The Beach, because I, like other commentators, am particularly impressed with the last stanza. Reply Mo April 2, 2021 Joe, your “On the Beach” was my favorite of the three poems here. Your foreshadowing of your shadow really drew me in to the end, which has been a theme that the state of our world reminds me of today. Very moving… Reply Julian D. Woodruff April 2, 2021 Thanks for all 3, Mr. Tessitore. I’ve never tried to write a rhyming poem about birds, but “For the Birds might get me going. “Beach” has an uncanny, disturbing quality that you achieve seemingly without effort. “Night” makes me suppose that you, like me, are waiting for morning. Reply Susan Jarvis Bryant April 2, 2021 Joe, what a beautiful trio of poems! I love every one of them, but, for me “In the Night” is an absolute favorite. I love the aural pleasure of it (great to read aloud) and the thread of dark mystery woven between the admirably crafted lines. Bravo, Mr Tessitore!! Reply Cheryl Corey April 3, 2021 They’re all very nice, but my favorite is In The Night. It has such lightness and freshness. I think it’s something that an average reader can enjoy again and again. Anthology? Reply Joe Tessitore April 4, 2021 Thanks for asking. There’s a search bar not too far below these “Comments” sections. 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