The Sparrow

For the sparrows that feature in this week’s gospel reading. This poem was first published by the Collegeville Institute’s Bearings. Coincidentally, today I fly to Collegeville.


Sparrow is packing heat.
He has taken up residence
atop a propane burner on the deck,
building his family into their nest;
an outrageously flammable construct.

We hold our fire,
keep our distance,
while sparrow, careless, kicks back.
Is this bald-faced contingency a design flaw, or
the conceit of a bird-brained genius?


Sparrow’s out foraging.
Tiny unseen beaks sing
improbably loudly
their repetitious repertoire
of faith, hope, and hunger
to the father.


Sparrow stakes his claim to the feeder
which I had bought, and filled, and hung;
beneath his scolding, I beat a retreat.
Unabashed, he faces down the scarlet cardinal;
unchastened by the chattering squirrel,
careless of the black-wigged crow,
the bold, brown ragamuffin knows his place,
beautiful in the eye of the Beholder.


… and then he was gone,
without a word of thanks,
regret, or good riddance;
only the quiet absence
of a watchfulness I had grown
used to turning aside.

About Rosalind C Hughes

Rosalind C Hughes is a priest and author living near the shores of Lake Erie. After growing up in England and Wales, and living briefly in Singapore, she is now settled in Ohio. She serves an Episcopal church just outside Cleveland. Rosalind is the author of A Family Like Mine: Biblical Stories of Love, Loss, and Longing , and Whom Shall I Fear? Urgent Questions for Christians in an Age of Violence, both from Upper Room Books. She loves the lake, misses the ocean, and is finally coming to terms with snow.
This entry was posted in lectionary reflection, poetry, prayer and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to The Sparrow

  1. Bruce Sims says:

    Reblogged this on Call 2 Witness.

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