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By Beth Ann Fennelly

We thought the birds were singing louder. We were almost certain they
were. We spoke of this, when we spoke, if we spoke, on our zoom screens
or in the backyard with our podfolk. Dang, you hear those birds? Don’t
they sound loud? We shouted to the neighbor, and from behind her mask
she agreed. The birds are louder this spring. This summer. I’ve never
heard such loud birds. Listen to ’em sing. But the birds aren’t singing
louder. In fact, the opposite. Ornithologists have recorded lowered
decibel levels of bird song. In the absence of noise pollution—our planes
overhead, our cars rushing past with their motors and horns, our bars
leaking music onto the street corners—the birds don’t need to shout.
So why are we hearing birdsong now, when it is quieter? Because we
need it more. Poetry in the pandemic: birdsong that was there all along.

Source: Poetry (July 2021)

  • Activities
  • Nature
  • Social Commentaries

Poet Bio

Beth Ann Fennelly
Beth Ann Fennelly currently serves as poet laureate of Mississippi and teaches in the MFA Program at the University of Mississippi, where she was named Outstanding Teacher of the Year. She and her husband Tom Franklin live in Oxford with their three children. See More By This Poet

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