Posted in National Poetry Day 2021

National Poetry Day: Animal Choices

Many creatures show amazing discernment choosing nesting sites for safety, or choosing between food sources for superior protein content, or choosing their mate for health, according to their brighter feathers and louder song.

This is the Vogelkop Bowerbird – from Indonesia. He is an unremarkable male, with his plain, brown feathers. A female might disregard him entirely for his attire. But he attracts his mate by dazzling her. He builds the most remarkable bower of all – and decorates by choosing adornments by colour, and shine. He places them just so – stands back and re-adjusts, tries another arrangement and starts all over again until he is satisfied. He is an artist.

Vogelkop Bowerbird

Before his bower,

a pyramid of orchid stems

supported by pillars,

appointed by

blue and plum berries

plucked with delicate precision

and displayed precisely

beside sprays

of pink blossom,

a shiny pile pf

purple-grey beetle wings

and one perfect

crimson petal,

the plainest bowerbird

proudly places


Liz Brownlee

This poem is in Animal Magic, IRON PRESS, 2012