by Sandra Rippetoe © 2020
for Patricia Rippetoe
Once upon a time in the Land-of-Nature’s-Rhyme-and-Reason
all the birds argued over who was most pleasin’.
“It’s me.” “No, it’s me!” They quipped back and forth,
all through the forest – east, west, south, and north.
Hummingbird buzzed, “I’m really the best.
I am busy and fast. I rarely rest.”
Then mockingbird sang, “You’re definitely wrong.
I am the favorite. I have the best song.”
“I’m friendly, not skittish. At me . . . people peek,”
tweeted the robin. “Now worms I must seek.”
The vulture weighed in declaring his worth,
“I’m most important. I clean up the earth.”
The hawk whooshed down low, “Have you seen me soar?
Why, I can see all – blue sky to green floor.”
“I am the smartest although I look plain,”
cawed the crow loudly. “Don’t call me bird brain.”
One bird was silent taking it all in.
Wise old owl sat there with never a grin.
Then bluebird chirped sweetly, “Well everyone knows.
I’m the prettiest bird from my head to my toes.”
“Oh no you’re not!” crooned elegant swan.
“I’m the most beautiful. Watch me glide on this pond.”
Mourning dove wanted peace. She began to coo,
“I comfort the people when they feel sad, too.”
“Look at me!” cardinal trilled, “People love to stare.
I’m flashy and bright. Check out my red hair.”
Then laying hen clucked, “I’m the useful one.
My eggs feed the people. This argument’s done.”
“Whoop,” peacock quivered. “Now give me some room.
Nothing can compare to my eye-catching plume!”
All the birds now were tired. This had gone on all day.
“Hoo – hoo. Hoo – hoo,” owl had something to say.
“This talk is silly. There’s no point at all
to brag on yourself, and make others feel small.”
“If all birds were alike, there’d be no one to blame.
But you’d not find your mate if you all looked the same.”
“How terribly boring that life would be
with only one type of bird in the tree.”
“Just stop and think. Hoo – hoo. Hear my words.
All of you together make the family of birds.”
“You each have a purpose in this grand web of life.
Please focus on it and let go of this strife.”
“One of you is not better. None of you is the best.
Now quit all this fighting and return to your nest!”
The arguing stopped. Owl was known to be wise.
Her hoo-words made sense. They waved friendly goodbyes.
The next morning at dawn you could hear each bird’s song,
but not one bird was bragging. Now they all get along.