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Blue Jay Poems

Table of Contents

  1. The Blue Jay by Emily Dickinson
  2. The Blue Jay by Hamlin Garland
  3. The Blue Jay by Frank Bolles
  4. O Jay by George Parsons Lathrop

Poems About Blue Jays

  1. The Blue Jay

    by Emily Dickinson

    No brigadier throughout the year
    So civic as the jay.
    A neighbor and a warrior too,
    With shrill felicity

    Pursuing winds that censure us
    A February day,
    The brother of the universe
    Was never blown away.

    The snow and he are intimate;
    I 've often seen them play
    When heaven looked upon us all
    With such severity,

    I felt apology were due
    To an insulted sky,
    Whose pompous frown was nutriment
    To their temerity.

    The pillow of this daring head
    Is pungent evergreens;
    His larder — terse and militant —
    Unknown, refreshing things;

    His character a tonic,
    His future a dispute;
    Unfair an immortality
    That leaves this neighbor out.

  2. The Blue Jay

    by Hamlin Garland

    His eye is bright as burnished steel,
    His note a quick defiant cry;
    Harsh as a hinge his grating squeal
    Sounds from the keen wind sweeping by.

    Rain never dims his smooth blue coat,
    The winter never troubles him.
    No fog puts hoarseness in his throat
    Or makes his merry eyes grow dim.
    His cry at morning is a shout. —
    His wing is subject to his heart.
    Of fear he knows not—doubt
    Did not draw his sailing-chart.

    He is an universal emigre;
    His foot is set in every land.
    He greets me by gray Casco bay,
    And laughs across the Texas sand.
    In heat or cold, in storm or sun
    He lives unfearingly, and when he dies
    He folds his feet up one by one
    And turns his last look at the skies.

    He is the true American! He fears
    No journey and no wood or wall
    And in the desert, toiling voyagers
    Take heart of courage from his call.

  3. The Blue Jay

    by Frank Bolles

    From among Chocorua's tenants,
    From among the birds of Crowlands,
    One in all eyes is a villain.
    Loathed, detested, hated, dreaded,
    Known to be a thief and ruffian,
    Known to be a foul assassin,
    Known to be a sneak and coward,
    Hated doubly for his beauty.

    Crows are open in marauding,
    Crows are black and bold and bragging;
    Owls confine their crimes to twilight
    Or the hours of moonlit silence;
    Hawks in highest heaven hover,
    Soar in sight of all their victims:
    None can charge them with deception,
    All their crimes are deeds of daring.

    Clad in blue with snow-white trimmings,
    Clean and smooth in every feather,
    Plumed and crested like a dandy,
    Keen of vision, strong of muscle,
    Shrewd in mimicry and dodging,
    Knowing every copse and thicket,
    Warm in snow and cool in summer,
    Is the blue jay still a villain?
    Outlawed by all bird tribunals,
    As a wretch disguised, he's branded,
    Shunned by every feathered creature;
    Yet he prospers, man admires him.

    Through the tedious months of winter
    Round the com-barn's step he lingers,
    Boldly down among the poultry
    Comes he to secure their kernels;
    Through the barb'ries, through the cedars,
    Prowls he searching for their berries,
    In the spruces, in the hemlocks,
    Cocoons from the bark detaching.

    But so soon as in the Maytime
    Eggs are laid and young are hatching,
    Berries, buds, and worms rejecting,
    Turns this scourge to sweeter morsels;
    Woe awaits the early songster
    Whose uncovered nest he chances
    To discover as he's sneaking
    Through the forest seeking plunder;
    Wise the nuthatch and the titmouse
    Wise the bluebird and the downy,
    To conceal their nests in tree-trunks
    Where this monster cannot find them;
    Ask the vireo what happens,
    Ask the junco where her eggs are,
    Ask the thrush and ask the robin
    What assassin slew their young ones.

    Hundreds perish in the season,
    Egg and young of birds as useful
    As their slayer is unfriendly
    To the ways and plans of farmers.
    Retribution sometimes follows
    On the footsteps of this monster.
    Crows will fly among the savins,
    Search among the bristling branches,
    Find the nests of roots and bark strips
    Armed with barbs and twined with brambles,
    Full of eggs or young just gaping —
    Dainty morsels those for crows tongues.
    Harsh the clamor when the robber
    Comes to find his own home wasted,
    Wild the screams and fierce the anger,
    Vain the flights around the nesting.
    Man admires him for his feathers,
    Loves to watch him in the winter
    Boldly fly among the poultry,
    Snatching golden kernels from them,
    But his peers alone can judge him
    Justly, clearly, on his merits.
    One and all they call him outlaw,
    Hate him, loathe him, fear him, spurn him.

    Be his plumage light and dainty
    He is cousin to the raven,
    Near of kin is he to Corvus,
    Black his heart, and black his kindred,
    False his colors, false his nature.
    All his beauty is delusion,
    All his tricks are tricks of darkness;
    Grim Chocorua through his cloud veil
    Ever looks askance upon him.

  4. O Jay

    by George Parsons Lathrop

    O jay —
    Blue-jay! —
    What are you trying to say?
    I remember, in the spring
    You pretended you could sing;
    But your voice is now still queerer,
    And as yet you've come no nearer
    To a song.
    In fact, to sum the matter,
    I never heard a flatter
    Failure than your doleful clatter.
    Don't you think it's wrong?
    It was sweet to hear your note,
    I'll not deny,
    When April set pale clouds afloat
    O'er the blue tides of sky,
    And 'mid the wind's triumphant drums
    You, in your white and azure coat,
    A herald proud, came forth to cry,
    "The royal summer comes!"

    But now that autumn's here,
    And the leaves curl up in sheer
    Disgust,
    And the cold rains fringe the pine,
    You really must
    Stop that supercilious whine —
    Or you'll be shot, by some mephitic
    Angry critic.

    You don't fulfill your early promise:
    You're not the smartest
    Kind of artist,
    Any more than poor Blind Tom is.
    Yet somehow, still,
    There's meaning in your screaming bill.
    What are you trying to say?

    Sometimes your piping is delicious,
    And then again it's simply vicious;
    Though on the whole the varying jangle
    Weaves round me an entrancing tangle
    Of memories grave or joyous:
    Things to weep or laugh at;
    Love that lived at a hint, or
    Days so sweet, they'd cloy us;
    Nights I have spent with friends; —
    Glistening groves of winter,
    And the sound of vanished feet
    That walked by the ripening wheat;
    With other things.... Not the half that
    Your cry familiar blends
    Can I name, for it is mostly
    Very ghostly; —
    Such mixed-up things your voice recalls,
    With its peculiar quirks and falls.

    Possibly, then, your meaning, plain,
    Is that your harsh and broken strain
    Tallies best with a world of pain.

    Well, I'll admit
    There's merit in a voice that's truthful:
    Yours is not honey-sweet nor youthful,
    But querulously fit.
    And if we cannot sing, we'll say
    Something to the purpose, jay!