Wednesday, May 11, 2016

The Chickadee

I'm still working on Scene 4 of my verse play, "Thus Ends the World," but I'm hoping it'll be up next week. In the meantime, here's a quick piece of cheery poetastery that I've whipped up for you, reflecting on the way my character is put to shame in comparison to that of a half-ounce bird. (And, by the way, dear reader, if you think that my penchant for combining devotional and ornithological reflections is perhaps a bit odd--see here and here for other examples--I'll have you know I'm in good company--the great evangelical minister John Stott had the very same penchant.) Hope you enjoy it.

The Chickadee 

Today I saw a chickadee,
Bright and plucky, full of vim,
Hard at work among the trees.
It had found itself a hole,
Perfectly shaped,
Wonderfully positioned,
For the raising of its young.
I watched as it zipped
Back and forth from branch to hole,
Back and forth, like a tennis ball,
Tireless and cheery
In its thankless, humdrum task.
On each visit to the hole
It would use its little beak
To grab a tiny clutch of detritus
That had settled thick within.
Then flying to a nearby branch,
The chickadee would shake its head,
Releasing its load to the cleansing breeze.
Then back to hole, then back to branch,
The unending task went on.

I thought about this little bird, sweet Lord,
Of all the spark and bluster that you hid
Within its sprightly soul,
And wished that I could tend as well
To the thankless labors of my day.
The chickadee was willing
To toil, and toil, and toil again
For the sake of bringing beauty,
Bringing order, grace, and life,
Into its simple world.
How often I put off such tasks,
That likewise bring me grace!
How often I’ll give plaint and wait
Instead of carefully, hope-fully,
Gathering up the detritus
Of my disordered life,
And, step by step, moment by moment,
Shaking it out to the wind!

Lord, grant me perseverance
And brightness in my soul,
Just like that little chickadee
That was cleaning out its hole.