Birdsong lessons

(Photo: Arjan Stalpers/Unsplash)

What do the birds teach us

in these times of pandemic?

Vocalizing sounds as music

greeting dawn in a universal language

where tweets, cackles, trills, pecks 

are a prayer unto themselves

monovocal melodies from song sparrows

pitch, tempo, beats and whistles

vibrato of feathers, buzzes of warblers


Dialects and tones of plumage

go beyond boundaries 

Is there not an iconography of winged creatures

inviting us to recollect what to feed on?

Swallows forage in the sky

we need manna from the heavens

soul food in times of difficulty.

I come from a lineage 

of Armenian Genocide survivors 

where sustenance from above 

inspired steps to move forward

and once again

consider birdsong.

Celeste Nazeli Snowber
Celeste Nazeli Snowber, PhD is a dancer, writer and award-winning educator who is a professor in the Faculty of Education at Simon Fraser University, outside Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. She has published widely and her books include Embodied Inquiry: Writing, living and being through the body, as well as two collections of poetry. Celeste creates site-specific performances in the natural world exploring ecology and the arts. Celeste is finishing a collection of poetry connected to her Armenian identity which will be accompanied by a one-woman show. Her mom immigrated to Boston right before the Genocide, and Celeste integrates poetry and dance as a way of excavating identity.
Celeste Nazeli Snowber

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