Poetry Friday–Migratory Birds & Songs…

1-redstart bird with hyacinth-3-5-2020

American Redstart and hyacinths, WIP, © 2020 Michelle Kogan, pen & ink, and watercolor.

Happy Poetry Friday!

This weekend we move into Day Light Savings time in the midwest, and welcome more hours of evening light. We are also welcoming all the spring migratory birds, some that stay till fall, and some that visit, fuel up, and then move on. Within the last week, I’ve heard and spotted a few Robins in my neighborhood, and many more birds are making themselves known.  Although I didn’t spot this feathered friend, in my watercolor sketch, an America redstart, they do pass through Chicago, and I’ll keep my eyes peeled for them… I’m letting nature and the birds be my respite guide through the tumult of all around, remember the birds, their song, and music…

redstart’s midwest stop–
assessing life’s leans…

© 2020 Michelle Kogan

by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow


Black shadows fall
From the lindens tall,
That lift aloft their massive wall
Against the southern sky;

And from the realms
Of the shadowy elms
A tide-like darkness overwhelm
The fields that round us lie.

But the night is fair,
And everywhere
A warm, soft vapor fills the air,
And distant sounds seem near;

And above, in the light
Of the star-lit night,
Swift birds of passage wing their flight
Through the dewy atmosphere.

I hear the beat
Of their pinions fleet,
As from the land of snow and sleet
They seek a southern lea.

Read the rest of the poem here.

And now for some light hearted bird songs to lift you to another place…

Rebecca Herzog at her blog Sloth Reads is hosting the Poetry Friday Roundup this week, thanks, Rebecca! She’s sharing poems from Laura Shovan’s February Daily Poem Prompts, which this year focused on water, stop by and check it out!

Visit Renée LaTulippe’s site No Water River to find out more about what Poetry Friday is.


About Michelle Kogan Art, Illustration, & Writing

Michelle Kogan is an artist, illustrator, instructor, and writer, creating colorful allegorical figure, flora and fauna paintings and children's illustrations, which have a sensitivity to endangered species, and the environment. She is an art instructor at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and the Evanston Art Center and offers Plein Air Painting Workshops at nature venues in the Chicago area including the Lincoln Park Conservatory, Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum, and Lurie Gardens at Millennium Park. Visit her online Etsy Shop at: http://www.MichelleKoganFineArt.etsy.com and her website: http://www.michellekogan.com
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8 Responses to Poetry Friday–Migratory Birds & Songs…

  1. haitiruth says:

    I’ve been seeing American redstarts in my yard, here in my southern lea. Thank you for your lovely post! Ruth, thereisnosuchthingasagodforsakentown.blogspot.com

  2. Michelle Heidenrich Barnes says:

    LOVE your illustrated haiku, Michelle! “assessing life’s leans” is wonderful.

  3. kareneastlund4898 says:

    Beautiful illustration and haiku, Michelle. Also enjoyed the Longfellow poem… new to me. Thanks!

  4. Linda Mitchell says:

    What a delightful pairing of your painting to your haiku and then your painting and haiku to Longfellow’s poem, It’s super neat that Ruth sees these birds in the winter. I wonder if they bring you news from her sometimes. And what a unique way of using the word “leans.” You are good teacher, Michelle.

  5. jama says:

    Another gorgeous watercolor-poem pairing. I love welcoming the migratory birds too. The Longfellow poem is lovely (new to me)!

  6. cvarsalona says:

    I’m ready to jump into your illustration for spring has sprung in it. Thanks for the spring haiku and Longfellow poem: But the night is fair,
    And everywhere
    A warm, soft vapor fills the air,
    And distant sounds seem near;
    I am in the mood for spring after listening to the video. Thanks for the spring forward entry, Michelle.

  7. Tabatha says:

    Your “American redstart and hyacinths” is beautiful!
    I appreciate Longfellow’s “They are the throngs
    Of the poet’s songs,
    Murmurs of pleasures, and pains, and wrongs,
    The sound of winged words.”

  8. Love your poem and sketch, Michelle. I’ve had several robins stop over the last few weeks. It’s so nice to see those early signs of spring.

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