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Young Writers Society

A Study of Birds

by Snoink

A Study of Birds

The businesslike crows in their
black suits and black ties
hop from the ground to the sidewalk,
their beady black eyes inspecting the asphalt before they attack
the crack that lies between the
piece of petrified gum and the fallen leaf
that crackles as the wind blows past
in a deafening groan.


The crows don't fear the turkey vulture as it flies by
in a swooping drunken way.
Wearing his drooping red mask, he looks more like a clown--
some hideous creature that was tarred with
musty black feathers
condemned forever to wear his bloodied mask.
Every day he flies, constantly searching for
the rotting carcass of a gopher or the
membrane from a newly-born calf,
until at last, defeated by the cold winter winds,
he stumbles home to his place in the eucalyptus leaves,
Ignoring the laughing caw-ha of his neighbors.


The seagulls flock behind the school's cafeteria
Swarming for bits of
beef gristle and Wonder bread and
potatoes fried in lard.
They have forgotten what their ancestors knew--
the sea thrashing the rocks below them as the
defeated cliffs bleed foam and all that is left are the
scalps of golden mermaids (we call it kelp)
that float endlessly upon the sea as they float upon the air
Angels above the eternal battle.
Now they huddle together and fight for trash
Their wings beating the plastic grocery bag full of bread into the street
until a storm comes up and one solitary seagull looks up to the heavens
and Remembers.
With an echoing cry, he launches up and flies above us,
over the thrashing trees and thrashing humans
Until he finally disappears.

Is this a review?



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165 Reviews

Points: 4908
Reviews: 165

Thu Sep 16, 2010 9:13 am
Miyakko wrote a review...

I love the idea behind this poem! That birds have their own little society upon which they run. I especially loved the last paragraph remembers what his ancestors did! Very clever use of the idea. But I don't think it can be classified as a poem, maybe make up your own little category to place this in...just not poetry. But I loved reading it still! Keep it coming - a very creative and fun idea!

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98 Reviews

Points: 1507
Reviews: 98

Wed Jul 30, 2008 8:54 am
Sophie wrote a review...

Ah Snoink. Usually when i drop in on the site I feel myself bristling with an irritating itch of some kind of anger (which I sometimes fear is actually part envy), and even a little despair. But then I find some work by you, or one of the other classic yws gods, and my faith in writing is restored.

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39 Reviews

Points: 1090
Reviews: 39

Wed Jul 30, 2008 7:31 am
errtu2 wrote a review...

Wonderful work, goddamn wonderful work.

This reminds me in a very small way of Stevens' "Thirteen Ways of Looking at A Blackbird" or some such. Its a fascinating study indeed.

I hope that you don't change a thing, its overwhelming in all the right ways, it has all the echo's of a great poem but without the tiresome morality. It just has the idea that there is something great, and when one bears witness to that one forgets the horrid postmodern constructs we are and flies towards the immaculate light.

This is a singularity. And a good one at that.

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685 Reviews

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Reviews: 685

Sun Jul 27, 2008 11:29 pm
Rei wrote a review...

Piggy, you've come a long way from someone who never used to like poetry. This was excellent. I wish I could give you more constructive criticism, but that's about all I can say. The images were easy to understand and it read very smoothly, though there were some lines that I thought were a bit long for my liking. I wish I could give you more constructive criticism, but that's about all I can say.

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247 Reviews

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Reviews: 247

Sun Jul 27, 2008 10:49 pm
Fangala the Flying Feline wrote a review...

Nice. Very nice. While I read this, I imagined you submitting it to a science magazine, which of course would drive the editors crazy. This is beautiful--the poet's science of birds. You have wonderful imagery in every stanza, and I especially liked the crows attacking the piece of petrified gum. The seagull stanza was my favorite. I've actually had that thought before--that birds forget what their ancestors knew and stuff themselves silly on Wonderbread. Beautiful ending, too. I can't complain. This was amazing.

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Points: 762
Reviews: 64

Thu Jul 24, 2008 11:05 pm
Yatta! wrote a review...

It was brilliant, I loved it!

But some critique. The last stanza is a bit...ahh overwhelming, for a better word for it. Try smoothing it out a bit and making it more coherent. There's a lot of explanation, etc. going on in there and you need to do it in an orderly fashion. I don't think I really need to give you a play by play because if you can write I poem like that it shouldn't be a problem for you!

Really, this is my favorite poem so far. I really like when science and literature collide like this. Wonderful, artistic, and creative to a tee. If you want to expand the poem, i think it would be nice to see interaction between the seagulls and the other types of birds. It seems that last stanza/segment was a bit separated from the other two? Why is that? You should put that in the poem, why the seagulls seemed not the care/notice the other two types of birds.


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661 Reviews

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Reviews: 661

Thu Jul 24, 2008 3:05 pm
Jasmine Hart wrote a review...

This gave me shivers up my spine and at the base of my neck...I can't quite explain it, but I figured I'd share it with you anyway!

Your imagery and description are fabulous. I especially enjoyed;

"The businesslike crows in their

black suits and black ties"

"piece of petrified gum",

"in a swooping drunken way.

Wearing his drooping red mask, he looks more like a clown"

They have forgotten what their ancestors knew--

the sea thrashing the rocks below them as the

defeated cliffs bleed foam and all that is left are the

scalps of golden mermaids (we call it kelp)".

It does, however, at times seem to be closer to prose than poetry. I'm not sure if that's a weakness...but I reckon it's worth saying.

I think;
the fallen leaf

that crackles as the wind blows past

in a deafening groan. "

"Until he finally disappears."

were a little weak in comparison to the rest of the poem.

Other than that I loved the theme and imagery, and you express yourself beautifully.


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199 Reviews

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Reviews: 199

Mon Jan 28, 2008 12:59 am
smorgishborg wrote a review...

To me, I'm afraid, it didn't have much to offer.

There is real poetry in the flight and movements of birds, but you made no attempt to tap into this. Instead, you present a deadpan approach which, loses novelty and interest quickly. The poetry reads just as well as prose, in fact, it is prose with line breaks in between.

The seagulls flock behind the school's cafeteria, swarming for bits of beef gristle, and Wonder bread, and potatoes fried in lard.

So, to improve this, you've gotta try and add some humanity (bird-ity?) to this. You tell us what happened in such an artful way, but then you don't even touch the why. And you need both.

To note your title, after you've completed the observations, in any good study you need to draw the conclusions.

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237 Reviews

Points: 1382
Reviews: 237

Sun Jan 27, 2008 3:04 am
Teh Wozzinator wrote a review...

I thought that this was quite good. I liked your imagery and I love the idea! But to me it doesn't seem all that much of a poem.... It seems a bit more like a story with separated lines, because the rhythm was kind of weird. But I did like it, don't get me wrong....

Keep writing!!!!

Teh Wozzinator

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922 Reviews

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Reviews: 922

Sat Jan 26, 2008 3:12 am
GryphonFledgling wrote a review...

Usual disclaimer: I am not much of a poetry writer and certainly not a critic, but I like to read it.

This was really nice. Your imagery was beautiful and all that. It really is an excellent piece of work.

The only thing I had about it was the one use of parenthesis to set off the "we". There is no mention of the first person in any place in the poem until that one spot and the parenthesis are equally jarring. They threw me out of place and look strange among all the other words. I like the language, but that just sticks out. Did you mean it to be that way? If so, ignore my ramblings, but it did bother me a little bit.

But this was a beautiful poem. Crows are my favorite bird, so it was nice to see them in here in a way that wasn't negative. Usually people are nasty about them and all over the ravens. Go crows! You manage nobility, eccentricity and a little mystery all in a few lines to describe the crow. Great job.

Rock on...


Stories don't end because you stopped paying attention.
— SJ Whitby