Poetry Friday—Common Yellowthroat & Rail

Common Yellowthroat in undergrowth, © 2021 Michelle Kogan, Pen and Watercolor.

Happy Poetry Friday!

I’m sharing two poems that I worked on this week from the #Birdtober challenge, along with some art to accompany them. The Lady Yellowthroat above is brand new and for #Inktober. I’ve been posting any #Birdtober and #Inktober images I create on Facebook and Instagram.

Dear Common Yellowthroat,

Lady of many-habitats—tangled-snarled forests, prairies packed with
deep foliage, and even humble folk backyards…
Was that you stealthily moving round my slightly-embarrassing undergrowth?
It’s kinda wet—which I know you like.
It’s definitely dense–which you also like.
And chockfull of summer’s variegated-vegetation.
I spied you‑but then you flew off in a flash too fast.
I guess you like your skulking hide-away, for I saw you again just yesterday.
But alas, you’re just to furtive a feathered friend for me to truly see,
and finally materialize for me…

Wishing your summer broods success!
Ooo how many one, two–No, you don’t say–three? With two sneaked in dads
that first dad didn’t know. Well, I’ll be…
And hopes for sweet breezes along your southern migrating way.

Until spring, Fair Lady Yellowthroat,
I’ll remember you in a yellowy-winter-slumber dream.

Farewell, xox

Bird-lover Flora Lee

Corncrake in Vienna, © 2009 Michelle Kogan, watercolor and watercolor pencil.


I’m ready to step out of this scene…
You probably won’t find many
Of my corncrake kin in Austria—
Habitat loss–
Our “damp meadows”
destroyed, drained,
over mowed, over planted,
and over fertilized.

I remember our land,
though it feels like a dream—
Perhaps if I close my eyes
our longed for wet field
will reappear and
we’ll find a hidden
spot amongst some
taller grasses
and listen for
my brother
rail crakes

© 2021
 Michelle Kogan

P. S. The Corncrakes are critically endangered and really need our love. Here’s some info about their plight.

Irene Latham at her blog Live Your Poem is hosting this weeks Poetry Friday Roundup, thanks Irene! Be sure to stop by.

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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12 Responses to Poetry Friday—Common Yellowthroat & Rail

  1. Elisabeth says:

    I love your illustrations Michelle! So detailed and vibrant.
    I learned so much about these birds through your poems. I particularly liked the internal rhyme in this line: “I guess you like your skulking hide-away, for I saw you again just yesterday.”

    Thanks for sharing these with us!

  2. Oh I love this address to the Yellowthroat especially, like she is indeed a dear friend. Beautiful. xo

  3. jama says:

    I’m am so loving all your birdie posts, Michelle. I like the intimate, conversational tone of both poems, whether in first person or direct address. Lady Yellowthroat has a lovely touch of whimsy too (and great line work in your painting of her!). Wonderful blend of facts and appreciation for both species.

  4. tee+d says:

    Ooh! Never seen a corncrake, and we on the West Coast don’t have as many brightly colored birds here, so I rather love my “common” yellowthroat. I’m always so amused when their name includes the word “common;” when appreciated and reproduced by someone who lives color and light like you, Michelle, it can never be common. Happy Friday!

  5. As always, Michelle, your illustrations are gorgeous and your poems inspiring. I have never heard of a corncrake but am interested to learn more. Thank you for sharing both.

  6. katswhiskers says:

    Such fabulous voice, Michelle. And I’m learning so much, too. And I’m loving your bird artwork!

  7. mbhmaine says:

    Gorgeous paintings, Michelle, and I love learning about the birds through your accompanying poems. I see the yellow throat around here frequently. That poem is especially full of delightful word choices and alliteration. This line made me grin: “Was that you stealthily moving round my slightly-embarrassing undergrowth?” I’m looking forward to seeing more of your #Birdtober offerings as the month moves along.

  8. lindabaie says:

    Your paintings delight me every time, Michelle. And I love that voice in the first, the conversation with the Yellowthroat, easy ‘listening’ with lovely internal rhymes from “Flora Lee”. I’ve never heard of the Corncrake, and now sad to hear of its plight. Love the setting you’ve placed them in! Have a wonderful weekend!

  9. haitiruth says:

    It makes me happy meeting your Common Yellowthroat today! She is indeed a lady of many habitats, and I love imagining her in all the different places she lives. Ruth, thereisnosuchthingasagodforsakentown.blogspot.com

  10. cvarsalona says:

    Michelle, I am learning so much about birdin from you and other poet friends. I keep seeing your beautiful illustrations popping up on my FB account so keep on sharing your work with all of us.

  11. maryleehahn says:

    Thank you for teaching me about birds through your poetry. I like how your corncrake poem’s shape matches their sad plight.

  12. Denise Krebs says:

    Wow, Michelle, you are busy this month! Artwork, beautiful poetry, and you must have some research going on, as well. These are beautiful. Thank you for shedding light on the corncrake here. 😦

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