“Big Boy”
by Scott Shaffer

“Big Boy’s here!”, we exclaim,
as the Red-bellied Woodpecker
swoops in to grace our backyard feeder.
We marvel as we eat breakfast
on our porch: Regal red crown
bobs swiftly up and down as he demands

sustenance from the cylinder
of nuts and dried mealworms.
His black and white ladder-back bounces
with swagger; the smaller, humbler
Nuthatches and Hairy Woodpeckers
give way while His Majesty feasts.

What Artist has designed his royal
attire, splashed on his deep colors,
programmed his delightful movements?
We compare him to the handsome
drawing in our bird field guide; yes,
accurate, but rendition and real are different:

the still life doesn’t breathe; there’s no life,
no low, short, hoarse call; no rat-a-tat-tat
to dislodge a nut; no persistent tapping
to call in a mate. Big Boy, however, pulsates
with such mysterious life, beauty, and purpose—
a living rhapsody of praise to his Creator.

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