“why i feed the birds” by Richard Vargas

i saw my grandmother hold out
her hand cupping a small offering
of seed to one of the wild sparrows
that frequented the bird bath she
filled with fresh water every day

she stood still
maybe stopped breathing
while the sparrow looked
at her, then the seed
then back as if he was
judging her character

he jumped into her hand
began to eat
she smiled

a woman holding
a small god

“why i feed the birds” by Richard Vargas from Guernica, Revisited. © Press 53, 2014.


*for my grandmother, who loved to feed the birds and who passed that love to me

8 thoughts on ““why i feed the birds” by Richard Vargas

  1. I SO love this poem. It makes me think of a dear friend who is writing a book with a character referred to as the Bird Man because he feeds sparrows the same way. He teaches a young boy, in the same way the grandmother in this poem teaches the poet, to feed the birds. Lovely, lovely, lovely!!

    In fact, I think I’ll reblog this, if you don’t mind, because my friend subscribes to my blog and I’d love for her to see it.



    1. I never mind, Mary, and never will. So happy you shared with your readers and followers.

      My grandmother died 11 years ago. Feeding the birds is one way I honor her memory. I went around and filled all the feeders yesterday, and boy oh boy, I’ve already seen birds of all shapes, sizes and colors this morning. In fact, I just returned from walking the dog, where I witnessed 5 little birds in a mini tornado chirping and squawking at each other, having an all out brawl. Their little tornado came two feet from me and I noticed they were just flapping and squawking in unison. It was strange and majestic. Then they twirled away, each going in its own separate direction.

      Birds are small gods indeed.

      Love to you! c-


  2. Reblogged this on A Wilderness of Words and commented:
    Sharing this especially for my dear friend Jeanne who will know why this particular poem is so special, and that I am thinking of her. Also, Christina at Words for the Year is awesome and posts WORDS that are always worthy of reading.

    Today is Earth Day, people. Go out and feed a bird or two!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. emiliamueller

        I don’t even what to think about how hard it is but the good part is that some people live forever in our hearts. 🙂
        Warm hugs 🙂


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