waitress poems

Thursday, October 20, 2005


Last night on PBS, I saw a crow
with a name (Betty, like my aunt
who paints landscapes and never
forgets my birthday)
demonstrate the intelligence of
birds. She bent a wire to make a tool
so she could retrieve food
from a cylinder. And when
they took her tool away, she made
another! And another!

The scientist who proved
Betty's intelligence was a young
black man. Handsome, too.
But it was ballet that gave him
the discipline to study birds.
Ballet and that school in New York
where they made the movie Fame.

Part of Betty's story involved
actors from the movie,
leaping over banisters and
singing about immortality.

Another part of Betty's story involved
a handsome young scientist
dancing Salsa around a blue living room
with a ceiling as high as the sky.
Dancing and believing
and dreaming about crows
with names like Betty.


  • love the last stanza best, great post 'dreaming about crows with names like Betty'

    By Blogger Sue hardy-Dawson, at 10:14 AM  

  • Me too!

    By Blogger MB, at 3:12 PM  

  • ditto
    i just loved the atmosphere of wonder/bemusal - and i lost myself in itrmei

    By Blogger floots, at 10:30 PM  

  • Crows are certainly not bird-brained.

    Once, when the crow shooters came to our estate, the birds seem to know what's in store for them.They just flew off to other trees, just out of range of the guns, observing the humans.

    By Blogger dsnake1, at 11:47 PM  

  • Ah, another person inspired by PBS science programming!

    One of my favorite episodes of Scientific American Frontiers shows Alan Alda interviewing a woman who specializes in bats and is camped somewhere in South America, I think, gleefully listening to their conversations with each other. Everyone should be this happy with their work; everyone should possess the glee of the bat lady!

    My boyfriend and I now use this to describe people we encounter or see on TV, usually scientists, but sometimes touching a wide range of careers and interests, like a woman who ran a shop near us but recently closed it down to pursue her passion, volunteering to hold babies born drug addicted, abandoned, or with other issues which cause them to need people to come volunteer to hold them. You should have seen her face when she talked about babies. (I think hers are all grown.)

    "Look!" we might say to each other of someone like this, speaking of her work. "That woman has it, the glee of the bat lady!"

    And look, so does the dancing scientist, or so I must believe based on how you wrote about him.

    Lovely. Thank you.

    By Anonymous Sara, at 11:50 AM  

  • Sue: Thank you for choosing a favorite stanza. I always find that interesting.

    moose: And you, too!

    floots: happy I could get you lost. That really didn't sound right, but I think (hope) you know what I mean.

    dsnake1: thank you for sharing your crow story. Betty would be proud!

    sara: I want to be a bat lady! That kind of exuberance is the quality I admire most in people.


    By Blogger Patry Francis, at 12:23 PM  

  • This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    By Blogger Patry Francis, at 12:24 PM  

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