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Ode to a Valley Cottage Woodpecker



At the break of Spring.
Saw this creature pecking.
A Spring woodpecker.
Vested in such bright colors.
Happily pecking away.

At a tall oak tree.
That stands majestically.
Posed in my front yard.
Reaching upwards to the sky.
With its fresh leaves sprouting out.

Woody Woodpecker.
Scouting for carpenter ants.
Pecking at the bark.
Pecking with such diligence.
Hunting for beetle larvae.

Hunting for berries.
And perhaps some sweet acorns.
Welcome to my home.
Enjoy all its benefits.
My oak tree is your harvest.

Woody Woodpecker.
How charming is your red crest.
Matches your black bill.
And your fine coat of feathers.
How handsome is your stature.

Saw your pair-toed feet.
Adaptable for climbing.
And for pecking wood.
Don’t mind if you wish to return.
You are certainly invited.

A true friend of trees.
Our ancestors did call you.
A “Forest Doctor.”
Freeing trees of such insects.
That are harmful to their lives.

Insects like termites.
All insects so destructive.
Others like aphids
Unceasingly hard-working.
You work without much profit.

The doctor of trees.
Protector of our forest trees.
You give us comfort.
We can ignore your loud noise.
While pecking so skillfully.

Please come back again.
Hunting for all those insects.
To save our oak tree.
Infected with tree aphids.
Your visit is important.

As a forest bird.
Employed as Forest Doctor.
You save trees from pests.
Ecological wonder.
Studying trees to save them.

Thanks to Woodpeckers.
Thank you for your thoughtfulness.
Thank you, Tree Doctor.
Ecological wonder.
Studying trees to save them.

About this poem

On early Thursday morning, in Valley Cottage, New York, at the birth of Spring, on March 24, 2022, my daughter Kaleila-Maida Ngwekhin Pufolkes, an artist and a lover of nature, spotted a red-crested, white-breasted woodpecker, with splendid dark feathers, busily pecking away at the bark of an oak tree on our front lawn. About eighteen months before this, a crew of lawn maintenance workers, observing the tree to be apparently infested with insects, because of the stripping exposed bark peeling at its base, suggested that the tree was dying, and should be chopped down. Gracefully adorning our front lawn and giving it shade, we decided to keep the oak tree, to spare its life. That decision pleased all family members — my wife and I, our daughter, and her four sprightly children. More than a year has passed, and now coming to the rescue of our oak tree to assure it a lengthy healthy life, has been that red-crested, white-breasted woodpecker, the “Tree Doctor.” This poem is an ode to all woodpeckers who serve nature ecologically as Tree Doctors. 

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Written on March 24, 2022

Submitted by karlcfolkes on March 24, 2022

1:37 min read
130 Views

Karl Constantine FOLKES

Retired educator of Jamaican ancestry with a lifelong interest in composing poetry dealing particularly with the metaphysics of self-reflection; completed a dissertation in Children’s Literature in 1995 at New York University entitled: An Analysis of Wilhelm Grimm’s “Dear Mili” Employing Von Franzian Methodological Processes. The subject of the dissertation concerned the process of Individuation. more…

All Karl Constantine FOLKES poems | Karl Constantine FOLKES Books

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1 Comment
  • kali_p
    Beautiful ode to the modest “forest doctor”
    LikeReplyReport8 months ago

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"Ode to a Valley Cottage Woodpecker" Poetry.com. STANDS4 LLC, 2022. Web. 6 Dec. 2022. <https://www.poetry.com/poem/123094/ode-to-a-valley-cottage-woodpecker>.

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