I heard the calling of the Robin
The first I’d heard this year
Trilled greeting from the seasons
Summer’s flown and Winter’s near
But was there more?
In that crisp and cheerful,
Sweet, and whistful whistling
From I could not tell from where
Fatigued but loud,
Extremely proud…
The same I’d heard
The same tired bird
This same time last year:
“Hello! Hello! I’m back again!
I’m delighted you’re still here.”

“Welcome, Robin”,  it heard me say
” From another Hemisphere.”

“But Red Breast why,
Take such a risk
To make so long a journey
And fly to North to South
And South to North
Throughout your life continually?

You meet the swallow in his path
But he pursues the sun —
Why is it that
When Winter calls
The Robin makes his run?
Back and Forth and back again
South and North you track again,
Now how can that be fun?”

I heard a silence
And then a trilling
In the Autumn air still chilling
“Twas for me…
A proud ripost
A modicum of Robin-boast
From somewhere near my back-yard post
“Thank you kindly sir, for sure
I’ve not been asked so much before
You ask me why I’m a forever-flapper…
It’s all to do with looking dapper.

“I am the colours of the Winter…
And in that fact I’m trapped
Black and grey and black again
White and black and grey again
Conservatively wrapped.
Except, of course for my indulgence…
The brilliance of my vest!
That’s why I follow winter
With the sun upon my chest!

I flash and trill
In glum and chill
In winter saddn’d fallow field
In misty vale
On frosted hill
Beneath the grey continuum
In rain and snow and rain again
Against the roar of flooding stream
Above the mournful galeful scream

You see, kind sir, you should reflect
On the drollness of the season
And ponder why we Robins fly
It lies in you, the reason
I am the colours of the winter
And the only bird to sing
When all others have deserted you
To abscond from winter’s sting

Your winter, sir, would longer be
If I should lose my zest
To fly from South to North and South again
With the sun upon my chest.”

©P.Tapp, 2003