Do you, too, rue Smew? Yes I do! Yes I do!

by Luke W. Cole


One bird, two bird, red bird, blue bird...

I do not like to wait all day,
I do not like it, yet I stay

I do not like it in the rain
I do not like it on the plain

I do not like it by the trees
I do not like it while I freeze

I do not like on a log
I do not like by a bog

I do not like it on my feet
I do not like it by the street

I do not like to wait all day,
For a bird that's gone astray

        But I do
        Yes I do
        Just to see
        The little smew

In the rain, on the plain
By the trees, while I freeze
On a log, by a bog
On my feet, by the street

There I wait, for that bird
"Seen here yesterday," so I've heard
Not seen Friday, when I looked
But there through Monday, while I'm booked
Not there Tuesday, when I'm back
There on Wednesday, to thrill the pack

Shouldn't I really be at work?
All those cases I must shirk
Just to spy something white
a little duck, quite a sight
In from Russia, or is it British?
All I know is its mighty skittish

        I do not like to wait all day,
        I do not like it, yet I stay

The crowd in the mud marks the place,
So I find a parking place
"We've been here since dawn!" they all howl
"Best bird yet is the Great Horned Owl!"
Each one drove for miles
Just to endure the locals' smiles
No bird, though, just loose lips
Talking about birds and a thousand trips

So I stand, on the bank
Listening to birders proclaim their rank:
"Nome Nome Barrow Attu Attu"
"Have you seen my falcon tattoo?"
"Peru Ecuador Costa Rica"
"But I've got the new birding sneaker!"

"Murphy's, Manx, Booby, Goose"
"Oh, someone must have let that loose"
"Warbler Oriole Bunting Brambling"
And other inspired birders' rambling...

"Calbird e-mail RBA"
"Oh, I was there that day!"
"Big Day Big Year County Lister"
"I saw the reeve -- oh, you missed her?"
This bird, that bird, the Blue Mocker
This is birding, everyone's a talker

And, I must say
Though I snigger,
I too play,
Mine is bigger

"The albatross," I begin
Watching for their chagrin...

        "There! There! In the river!"
        Each of us gives a shiver
        Something white has just popped up!
        Inevitably, a styrofoam cup

Back to banter, boast and tale
And sometimes a bird -- "kestrel, male"
While we wait beside the slough
Nothing much better we can think to do

        I do not like to wait all day,
        I do not like it, yet I stay

I explore around the spot
Good birds there are, but Smew, not
Rough-leg, Ferruginous, pipit, lark
Nuthatch, magpie, before its dark
Mountain plover in the next county
But I still missed the day's big bounty

The next day at work, I watch the screen
As Calbird tells me the Smew is seen

        It would be another lifer
        Something I should really try for
        Something great, something new
        Something awesome, that little Smew

Shall I go in the morning?
From the wife and boss, a warning
Classes to teach, kids to feed
And this is a job I need...

So I sit, here at home
Writing down this silly poem
Cursing all I have to do
While my friends see the Smew...

I do not like to wait all day,
But I'd rather be there, than here, today!

2000 Luke Cole
(first posted to Calbirds, 28 Jan 2000)


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