Poem: A Friend Indeed

O, the wild constancy
of the brave chickadee
simply changing his tune
like the man in the moon
for the tilt of the sky
as the seasons pass by.

Fitting a snug black cap
feathers all in a flap
it would seem for bad news
like everything to lose
with a cat prowling low
and the winds biting so.

But let’s have no real grief
bother this welcome thief
who’s scolding and chuckling
while squirrels are ducking
aerobatics for need
not insatiable greed.

Taking one sweet kernel
to task with a gurgle
pounding out on a limb
for cracking it open
and easy digestion
enjoyed without question.

I hold out my warm hand
in wonder not command
indeed only hoping
my offer he’s scoping
instead berries so bright
seeming more a delight.

Ah, then he’s looking back
at what I do not lack
listening for his voice
and smiling for his choice
so the touch of his trust
makes our friendship a must.

I have a precious little bird book from 1909 that includes the following description of the Black-Capped Chickadee (native to the Eastern US):

‘The Chickadees are one of the most popular birds that we have, owing to their uniform good nature even in the coldest weather, and their confiding disposition.’

What a lovely characterization of this sociable songbird!

©Artwork and writing, unless otherwise indicated, are the property of Diane M Denton. Please request permission to reproduce or post elsewhere with a link back to bardessdmdenton. Thank you.

42 thoughts on “Poem: A Friend Indeed

  1. The illustration grabbed me, and the poem kept me. Truly lovely. Please check out my blog, rawww.whatbirdisthis.wordpress.com While it is quite different from yours, a chat forum to identify birds, it is important for us to know and understand the beautiful world of birds. If you like my blog, perhaps you would link to it and give me permission to link to yours.


    • Thank you so much! And I have been to your blog, and know I will enjoy following it. I will be happy to put a link to your site on mine, and you certainly have permission to do the same with mine. I appreciate it.


    • ‘They have to keep their place in the pecking order, but are more clever for it, hanging on the bottom of feeders and feeding when others are not.’ I love that, Ethel, and so true. The way they finagle around the squirrels and blue jays is very entertaining…and more than a little inspiring! Thank you! Your appreciation means so much as you are an exquisite poet.


  2. You cannot write a much better poem, and the illustration, like all of your illustrations, is delightful. Chickadees are by far and away Ethel’s favorite bird summer or winter. She’s always on the lookout for them and has written several poems over the years featuring them. The western chickadee is a little different than the ones we saw when we lived in Wisconsin, but still just as wonderful.


    • How very kind–I greatly value your opinion, Thomas. I would love to read Ethel’s poems on these lovely little birds. They are so sweetly resilient. All the birds in the titmouse family are wonderful to observe and have around.


    • I’m glad you picked up on the sing-song style…it was my intention, almost like a little nursery rhyme. Thank you so much for your kind comment and visit. I have a lot of catching up to do on your posts and should be doing so in the next few days.


  3. Your verse captures the little black-cap perfectly, its cheer and “confiding disposition” and lightness of movement and character. But the painting! So very, very lovely. *That*, in its sweetness and delicacy, *caps* the post to perfection!


  4. This chickadee’s trust in you and his “confiding disposition” make me want to fly away with the little charmer! Therefore, a most successful paean here to chickadess–and to your enjoyment of them!


  5. I love this lively, descriptive poem about the chickadee!! Very nicely done. 🙂 The chickadee is one of my favorite birds here in the Pacific Northwest. We have a couple of different species, and the picture looks like one of them. There’s nothing quite like the call of the “chickadee-dee-dee-dee”! 🙂


    • Thanks, Betty! Yes, I see there is a variety of Chickadees around the country and world. Around here you know spring is near when you hear their ‘fee-bee’ call. With the mild winter we’ve been having so far around here, I hope they don’t start too soon…


  6. I feel quite drawn to chickadees even though I’ve never seen one ‘live’ as I’m in the UK, and so this poem and your painting really drew me. Lovely. 🙂


  7. Hi, this is wonderful work, the poem and illustration!

    I am a bit of a birder myself, and am wondering if we have an equivalent species to the Chickadees over here in England. I am not a great expert but it looks a little like a Reed Bunting? Like I said, I’m interested but not an expert!

    Really enjoyed all of this! Thank you.


    • Thank you so much, David. Having lived in England I remember the blue tit, a very similar bird in size and character. So I knew the Black-Cap Chickadee was in the same family.

      Here’s what Wikipedia has to say:
      ‘The tits, chickadees, and titmice constitute Paridae, a large family of small passerine birds which occur in the northern hemisphere and Africa. Most were formerly classified in the genus Parus.

      ‘These birds are called either “chickadees” (onomatopoeic, derived from their distinctive “chick-a dee dee dee” alarm call) or “titmice” in North America, and just “tits” in the rest of the English-speaking world. The name titmouse is recorded from the 14th century, composed of the Old English name for the bird, mase (Proto-Germanic *maison, German Meise) and tit, denoting something small. The spelling was influenced by mouse in the 16th century.’

      I’m so glad you enjoyed. I certainly enjoying paint and writing this one. Happy Bird watching!


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