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Here Are the Grackles!
by Catherine Hathaway

In a tiny verdant clearing
deep within the wood
where birds and squirrels nested,
Big Mama's cottage stood.

Built of wood and crumbled stone
the cottage seemed to quake:
it tilted rumbled and breathed alone
when Big Mama was awake.

"Oh! Home of mine, oh house of me,
why do you shake so violently?"
Big Mama's cries, they went unheard,
except for Grackle, the baby bird.

Now Grackle was a kind boy,
and Grackle was quite sweet,
but most unlike Big Mama,
one cannot measure him in feet.

"Dearest little Grackle,"
sighed Big Mama through her nose,
"Why my house will not stand still,
goodness only knows!"

It went on like this, for days and days
until the summer waned,
and after all the rumbling,
Big Mama's heart was strained.

"Dearest little Grackle,
you are my only friend,
I know that you can help me bring
this shaking to an end!"

So Grackle put his courage on
and flew down the gutter pipe:
it was not easy for him,
he's not the athletic type.

"Strange," thought Grackle absently,
"The pipe seems not to end."
He maneuvered through an S-curve,
and landed in a bend.

"OUCH!!" cried Grackle angrily,
and rubbed his aching head.
He wished he'd stayed above the ground,
and spent the day in bed.

Upstairs, he heard Big Mama
"I can't be far away!"
Grackle thought he might go home,
but chose instead to stay.

Giving up on flying,
Grackle walked the tin.
He wondered how much trouble
Big Mama got him in.

"It's dark in here,"
thought Grack, "...and cold!
And now I've put my claws in
some kind of stinky, germy mold!"

Suddenly Grackle remembered
why he'd come so far--
the rumbling was so loud now
the gutter sounded like a car!

Stumbling a little bit,
tiny Grackle held his ground.
Light flooded in the gutter,
and Grackle looked around.

Eyes wide and disbelieving,
Grackle had to blink.
What he saw there left him wondering
if he should see a shrink.

A hundred thousand Grackles,
all lined up row by row.
The whole time they were practicing
for their annual Springtime Show!

Grackle squeaked a silly sound,
and rather sounded like a duck,
No wonder Mama's living room
was like the cabin of a truck!

The gutter pipe had led him down
where even Mama'd never seen--
here he found the Grackle Court,
Grackle Princess, King and Queen.

The tiny room hid underneath
Mama's old foundation
housed an entire Royal Jestership
(for every celebration.)

The dancing singing flapping birds
explained all of Mama's trouble
and apologized many, many times
for dusting her with rubble.

Amazed but thrilled, our Hero said,
"You should come outside!
Surely the King and Queen and child
would like to freely glide!"

So of the Grackle kingdom,
our Friend the Hero is a one.
He and they flapped all their wings
'til Mama's dusting was all done.

At length the Jesters practiced
for the up-and-coming show:
they asked Big Mama to be EmCee,
and invited Kingdom Crow.

And so Big Mama in her nicest dress,
could barely conceal her cackles:
"Welcome, Friends and Bugs and Crows-- and now--


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