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Birdsong



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The writer Robert Macfarlane recently composed a poem using sounds that imitate its subject: a wren. Listen to Macfarlane reading his wren spell, and then write your own poem using words that imitate or resemble the sound they are describing; words  like “blurt” and “cackle”, or “chirp”, “ping pong”, “zip”, and “zoom” (these words are called onomatopoeias). In Macfarlane’s poem, copied below, notice how many onomatopoeias he uses, as well as how the pacing of the poem (through line length and syllables) matches the subject matter—the way Macfarlane constructs and delivers this poem almost sounds like a wren singing:
 
When wren whirrs from stone to furze
the world around her slows, for wren is
 
quick, so quick, she blurs the air
through which she flows, yes -
 
Rapid wren is needle, rapid wren is
pin — and wren’s song is sharp-song,
 
briar-song, thorn-song, and wren’s
flight is dart-flight, flick-flight,
 
light-flight, yes -
 
Each rent etches, stitches, switches,
glitches, yes -
 
Now you think you see wren, now you know
you don’t.

Need more inspiration? HollyDays, Aspen Gray, and Emily Rice cast their own avian spells with these brilliant birdsongs.