To Know the Bobolink

Source: Bird Biographies by Alice E. Ball, via the BHL Flickr 

What makes birding such a great pastime is that new discoveries are a regular occurrence.  Such was the case this past Saturday,  when I saw my first Bobolink.  While hiking the trails at Osgood Hill in North Andover, MA, a sunny meadow revealed at least a dozen of these energetic birds. The moment that you see a new species for the first time is thrilling.   

Emily Dickinson (1830-1886) wrote more than one poem about Bobolinks.  "The Way to Know the Bobolink" captures some of the vibrant essence of this bird's character.  "The bird of birds" strikes me as a pretty apt description:


The Way to Know the Bobolink

The Way to know the Bobolink
From every other Bird
Precisely as the Joy of him —
Obliged to be inferred.

Of impudent Habiliment
Attired to defy,
Impertinence subordinate
At times to Majesty.

Of Sentiments seditious
Amenable to Law —
As Heresies of Transport
Or Puck's Apostacy.

Extrinsic to Attention
Too intimate with Joy —
He compliments existence
Until allured away

By Seasons or his Children —
Adult and urgent grown —
Or unforeseen aggrandizement
Or, happily, Renown —

By Contrast certifying
The Bird of Birds is gone —
How nullified the Meadow —
Her Sorcerer withdrawn!