Birds in Home Depot—Journey to The Slowdown
When editor Sara Barkat saw “Birds in Home Depot” in an unpublished poetry manuscript from Rick Maxson, she knew she needed to include it in her anthology: Earth Song: A Nature Poems Experience.
The poem did what she wanted every poem in the collection to do: provide that moment of encounter between humans and nature, where both are fully themselves, and nature is not just an incidental backdrop for human experience.
The poet, Rick Maxson, notes that the inspiration for “Birds in Home Depot” came from a Christmas when he was living in Treasure Island, Florida with his wife Carol. He went to Home Depot to get a pin for a pneumatic door closer. He first heard the sparrows and then tried to locate them, which wasn’t easy against the brown beams of Home Depot’s color scheme. Once he spotted a few, he followed them through the store as they flew and hopped from the beams and occasionally descended onto a display that attracted them. As Rick wandered to the Garden Center he saw even more birds picking over the dried leaves and flowers. The next day, he began thinking about the irony of these birds in a home-improvement/building store.
Now this irony has joined the irony of birds in airports—an irony that poet Major Jackson points out in his marvelous introduction to “Birds in Home Depot” on The Slowdown:
The irony of a small bird trapped in a cavernous airport was not lost on me. Here was the pinnacle triumph of humankind’s efforts to achieve flight, blemished by the entrapment of the very creature who served as its aerodynamic inspiration.
—Major Jackson, host of The Slowdown
Jackson then goes on to consider that perhaps the bird is not as entrapped as he first thought, with the clever avian even taking advantage of this human setting (sometimes in an amusing way).
We encourage you to catch Jackson’s whole reflection, and his beautiful reading of “Birds in Home Depot,” here:
Birds in Home Depot on The Slowdown
And if you’d like to add a reflection of your own, you’re invited to do so in the comment box below.
Poetry Prompt: Birds In…
Where have you seen birds in unlikely places? What were they doing? What were you doing? Was there any irony in the experience? Put your birds (and maybe your experience, too) in a poem and share with the Tweetspeak community!
Photo by Viktor Bystrov, Creative Commons, via Unsplash.
Read a story that features Earth Song
Read a book club beginning on Earth Song
- The Honey Field—6: Scars and All - March 22, 2023
- Earth Song Poem Featured on The Slowdown!—Birds in Home Depot - February 7, 2023
- The Rapping in the Attic—Happy Holidays Fun Video! - December 21, 2022
Rick Maxson says
Thank you for this piece, Will. I agree, Major Jackson did a marvelous introduction to my poem, “Birds In Home Deport—December.”
Thanks also to Sara for her anthology, “Earth Song: A Nature Poems Experience.”
I have always thought deeply about how we humans think of Nature—something apart from us in which we live. It is something we strive to protect. But it is also something we fortuitously harm or destroy. In fact, we are also “nature.” What we gather to build is no less characteristic to Nature than the nests or courting structure birds build, only bigger—if often less instinctively considerate of the Nature we share. Home Depot is such an iconic example of human ambiguity.
Bethany R. says
Such interesting points, Rick. I so enjoyed listening to the intro and your wonderful poem today on The Slowdown.
And what a good eye Sara Barkat has to have included it in Earth Song.