April is a month with a loud soundtrack. No male bird with pretensions towards reproduction can keep its mouth shut at this time of year. The atmosphere is always heavy with song, ready to drench any listener who steps outside.
The Dawn Chorus
In the half light,
a company of sopranos
indignantly loud –
again and again.
Throaty and deep,
a five-note coo.
Wild sounding air –
in the half light.
through rhythmic racket,
again and again.
By half past five
business has been done.
The above poem was constructed using the technique of ‘found poetry’, whereby words are chosen from a book or magazine (in this case a book – The Secret Lives of Garden Birds by Dominic Couzens and illustrated by Peter Partington).
The book is laid out in sections that detail bird activity and habits for each month of the year. I chose April, drawing a crude bird outline on the page entitled ‘The Dawn Chorus’.
I wrote down on a separate piece of paper each word or phrase that the outline crossed, using only these words or phrases to create the poem.
Lines can be repeated; a technique I have used here. There are no real rules – it’s about being spontaneous and ‘finding’ poems in everyday texts from books to street signs to newspaper headlines. Any words, from anywhere.
I love the way this plays into the idea that all the words we have at our disposal have been ‘recycled’; used again; re-constructed in another form to piece together a new story and a new rhythm.
I am quite pleased with how this one has turned out. If I had more words, I could have done better, but the point is not to create a masterpiece, but to create something – something different to your usual style or using material that is outwith your expertise – using limited resources – which in this case is words.
A quick and fun exercise in creativity.