Collins’ rhythmic poem, “Ornithography,” paints a bright, hopeful picture of birds beginning their day in thoughtful, purposeful ways. A light snow that fell in the night does not deter these birds. Instead, this morning offers them renewal, hope, and opportunity. Bright possibilities abound below a high breeze that will soon expose the sun above the dispersing clouds. The birds neither waste this morning nor miss their chance for expression. The various birds are anything but simple as they scurry about and get their work done. Under the feeder, several compose light works as they mix pleasure with sustenance.
While a robin engages in self-reflection, a crow lays down his opinion on current events. Even the young chick is thoughtful and busy with a list. Unlimited by their binary alphabet, they are busy as bees. A captivated observer watches the prolific birds in silence and wonder behind the clear barrier of a pane. She is motionless as she marvels at the sophisticated scribes. Small wings and thin legs move quickly, but much more slowly than their intensely active minds. The girl behind the window realizes that little birds with little brains are capable of expansive thought and expression.
So, she has boundless possibilities for action and expression with her complex mind and an alphabet that contains twenty four more letters. Suddenly, the busy birds took flight. Were they startled by a predator or a canine wail? More likely, these sophisticated little creatures disbanded in unison after agreeing for a change of scene on this glorious morning. The sun breaking through the clouds spurred them to rise toward the high wind. While floating on the zephyr, they could reflect on writings and revisions. And, the girl could watch and wonder about how to put this bright day to its best use.