Wednesday, April 11, 2012

What Can a Robin Hatch?



What Can a Robin Hatch?

A robin sits in the Rowan tree,
waits for snow to cease,
sings of spring warmth and resurrection.

Robin with breast the colour of blood,
morning’s first singer,
and evening’s last song,  final good night.

You’ll soon be a broody mama,
warm the pale blue eggs
a fortnight,  hatch a clutch of babies.

Next, you’ll be a broody mama,
to hatch death’s virus,
incubate disease and brain fever.

You beauty, and handmaid of illness,
breast the shade of blood,
the colour of mosquito belly,

because it kills you slowly, you live
longer, infection
spreads further.   You generous beauty,


bird of life and death.

NOTE:  Robins can be carriers of West Nile Virus.  The virus kills robins more slowly than blue jays or crows, so robins can spread the virus more widely.  The virus is transferred from robin to mosquito to human.  West Nile Virus can cause fatal inflammation of the brain (encephalitis) or the membranes that cover the brain or spinal cord (meningitis).  Milder reactions to West Nile Virus are not fatal but cause fever, headache, body aches, skin rash and swollen lymph glands.

It seems hard to believe that something as lovely as a robin sitting in a snowstorm has the potential to become a link in a chain of disease, doesn't it?

4 comments:

Jane Tims said...

Hi Carol. Your poem is unusual in its subject matter. I like the 'broody mama'. There are layers and layers to nature. Jane

Crafty Green Poet said...

I didn't realise that! Your poem changes direction very cleverly

Gwen Buchanan said...

I never knew this... makes things brutally real.

Carol Steel 5050 said...

Thanks for all the comments. I felt slightly ill while doing research to write this post. The robins are so beautiful. It's hard to think of them as potential disease carriers. Of course, not all of them are. Nature is full of surprises and cruel twists.