The Wonderful Boat -- named for the sonnet
"La barca milagrosa" by Uruguayan poet Delmira Agustini.
(my English translation under "Pages" below)

Image: Sunset Fires (Winslow Homer, 1880)

Thursday, October 30, 2014

El hornero/The Ovenbird

El hornero



It's autumn here in Canada, but in Uruguay, it's spring. Primavera. The jasmine are in bloom and the hornero is building her nest -- on tree branches, on telephone poles, on fence posts. God willing, in four weeks' time I'll be in that lovely country, away from the ice and snow of the bleak, frigid Canadian winter.

The Ovenbird

In Uruguay, in spring, I've often heard
lighthearted trills along a country road:
the lively, undiminished ovenbird
sings as she builds her intricate abode.
The wily swallow, with no stringent code
of constancy, surveys the chambered nest,
and knows that, following this episode
of eggs with which the other bird is blessed,
he'll snatch the abdicated space. Hard-pressed
though he may be for time, for love, for will,
too wise to prove an uninvited guest,
he waits it out upon a window sill.
The ovenbird, deemed artless by the swallow,
to practiced eyes is one tough act to follow.


(by Catherine Chandler, first published in Texas Poetry Journal, Spring 2006)