Poems - Mostly Birds Upstream Interpretaion Home
A few of my poems, selected as examples for the session "Reading and Writing for Interpretation" at National Association for Interpretation Regional workshop, March, 2015.
For NAI Region 5 Workshop Ames, IA, March, 2015
Poems copyright JM Elliott, 2015


Sparrows scatter
over the grass
like the fallen leaves
they pick through,
intent on enough fuel
for the next leg of
a monumental journey -
such small
bits of life.

I could watch all day
I think
searching for a brighter
bulkier fox sparrow
or a boldly patterned white-crowned
or even a Harris's
among the crowd of white-throats
but the sun has gone
behind mid-day clouds
and I have errands
less urgent
than those of sparrows.


An hour still before sunset, short raspy calls and a subdued shriek led me to its perch. From deeper in the pines, mellow, softer answers. Perhaps a young bird, out on an open branch, still calling to a more cautious parent. My slow pace through the trees. Eyes intense, the owl's head bobs, watching me watch, sure of itself.

Not Quite Haiku

Upside down

sandpiper reflections

flying upriver


shadows of geese

fly across trees

The autumn finches

that have lost their gold

are no poorer for it

Leaf in the wind

skating on thin ice

goes for a swim

January day

gray and thick -

the sparrows have plenty to say

A shadow

dancing along the walk

stops to meet the falling leaf

cloud wisps in blue

crows off river’s icy edge -

rain later?

who knows the stories

doves call from dusky rooftops?

another full moon

If words were birds

they would fly

flaunting gaudy colors

singing melodies and choruses,

or uttering rough


primitive squawks.

Or they might chatter

pointlessly from the bushes,

and then hide themselves

deep in leafy camouflage,

daring to be searched out

Oh –


They do

Poems copyright JM Elliott, 2015