On the lawns I anticipate
a mewing catbird perhaps
or a worm-hunting robin;
thus this is not the bird I expected,
the bronze of Baird, the naturalist,
overtowering lush tropical foliage
--a stern, upright long-
bearded visage encountered
on my trek this damp morning
to another hard day of editing.
I sniff a rain-drenched gardenia
step over flooded paths to study
Spencer Fullerton Baird, rendered
aloof in the artist's conception
of an uptight Victorian prof; and I squint
closer at the plinth, read:
"Opus Baskin 1976." Yes! The artist for Ted
Hughes' Crow! But somehow
like the stuffed avians Baird collected
not the trickster ruffian Crow, still--
O Baird! Welcome this damp work-
day amid the jungle of palms and frangipani!
Christopher T. George
second Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution,
in its original location when unveiled in 1978.
What inspires you? Tell me in a poem of thirty lines or less, any form. Send your entries to me at email@example.com by midnight on Thursday, August 31, Eastern time. Winners will be published here and first prize winner also receives a copy of the CD of the Charlotte production of highlights from the musical by composer Erik Sitbon and myself, "Jack The Musical: The Ripper Pursued." Good luck!