Bird Song.



there you are,

re-winged and bossy as ever

a flash of white and black

with that same piercing call,

the only bird that’ll do

(when you really think about it)

for that large a spirit

and that memorable a song.


you don’t fool me —

I know how it works.


dibs on that cheeky cactus wren

hopping more than flying,

stealing kibbles from stainless steel

every morning and evening,

and beneath the long and starry hush

until we meet again,

going wherever birds go,

maybe back to God.



(Poem and photos by Emily Murdoch)


13 Responses

  1. Beautiful as always. And now, a bit of magic. Snow in the desert. 🙂

  2. p.s. of course when wordpress takes off the snow feature, future readers will have no idea what I’m talking about. 🙂

  3. Awwww, thank you, Tasha. : )

    I know, isn’t it funny? I pointed that out to my husband yesterday — how, because my blog background is white, instead it looks as if the photos are snowing, lol.

    And yes, it does look odd to see the desert snowing — although, it did one time, in December of 2006. I have a photo, too — I’ll find it and post it.

    I was just off to go look up your Nathan Bransford contest entry, as I finally have a moment of time to play. : )

    I have nervous butterflies today, knowing how many people are scrutinizing my entry.


  4. I know. I know. Butterflies here, too.

    I really wish I could’ve posted the second paragraph. That’s where it gets creepy. The first is setting the scene. Hopefully setting some atmosphere.

    And now I’m stressing whether my comma usage was correct or not. Gawd!

    Have my fingers crossed for ya. I really, really hope one of our group gets the awesome news.

  5. We’re both on the page 601-800. I feel better being on the same page as you. : )

    OMG — Me too! LOL! I’d take out the comma after muzak, personally, lol.

    I loved your entry, too! I like the evocativeness of the atmosphere, and the sound of tree branches scraping window glass is one of my favorite sounds, actually, because of the inherent creepiness. Your first paragraph is like a painting, if that makes sense.

    Well done. It wouldn’t surprise me a bit if you were a finalist. I do hope, too, that one of our group gets picked. We can live the thrill vicariously. : ) And also because we all deserve it. We’re writers, and we work damn hard at our craft.

    On the other hand, it’s very daunting to see so many good writers converging in one place.

    It really is VERY brave for us to enter, all who did. Let’s not forget that — “winning” is only one part of it, and if not today, as long as we keep writing and practicing, our day in the sun will come.

    {{{{{{{{{{{ Tasha }}}}}}}}}}} hugs for luck and crossing everything for you! Hooray!

    Em : )

  6. The contest results are posted, and I didn’t make the list.

    I did love the thrill of entering, though. It was a very thrilling few days and way worth it for that alone. : )

    I think it took a lot of bravery to enter in the first place. Hats off to everyone who had the courage to add their paragraphs to the pile, and shine. There were many, many great paragraphs in the list, and I do believe one day your day will come.

    Congrats to the winners.


  7. So I voted for one of the finalists, though it was hard because I didn’t really care for any of them 😛 LOL.

    I thought paragraphs were supposed to be relatively short and most of them were not. Oh well–didn’t much think I’d finalize but I did think there were better written paragraphs on there. But I’m not an agent or the judge so who am I to say? 😛

  8. Hey Dara!

    If it were me, I would’ve picked yours and Tasha’s.

    Most of all, I think it’s a very clear lesson in what Nathan Bransford is looking for, with that being subjective, or, “his thing”, if you will, amongst a pool of good writing. It’s the same way it works when you send an agent your query.

    So, does one write like the paragraphs Nathan chose? If so, query him with your work. If not, find the agent that fits your writing style or who likes your kind of subject matter, aka repped books like yours in the past.

    Not an easy thing to do, perhaps, but it’s why you can’t give up. Everyone likes different kinds of books — taste is a factor. Agents are no different than us readers, along with looking for what they think will sell.

    Anyway, I’m preaching to the choir, lol!

    The paragraphs he’s chosen are a different kind of writing than I write or read, myself. But I’m definitely going to vote for one, in honor of the finalists. I bet they’re thrilled!

    p.s. It sure was fun doing the contest all of us together!


  9. Em,


    Even though I’m disappointed at not making the cut, your words just lifted me right up. “Evocativeness”, inherent creepiness, and painting a scene was exactly what I was going for! Especially with the bit about the tree scraping against the glass.

    I actually read every single entry. I wrote down 36 picks. Both yours and Dara’s made the list. And no, not because your my buddies. Dara’s was written in show (rather than tell) and had great feeling to it. Yours, as I’ve already noted, pulled me in with its wonderful, quirky voice. i want to see more of the heaven she’s in.

    Only one of his finalists made my list of 36. So that’s who I voted for just now.

    I was very surprised by the finalists. This is no insult to them. Just shows how subjective it all is.

    And I do wish them well.

    And yes- we all deserve a round of applause for trying! 🙂

  10. Well thanks for the vote! It’s nice to know I have one prospective reader out there. 🙂

    The paragraphs chosen may not be my taste but agents have their prefrences too, like you said, so I understand completely. Of course I won’t be giving up anytime soon–I still have to complete the novel! It may take some time but the end result will be worth waiting for.

  11. I would buy both your books, Tasha and Dara — or I should say, I WILL buy both of your novels.

    Not because you guys are my buddies, either, but because I admire your writing talent and your paragraphs pulled me in and were beautifully done.

    I voted for Steve’s first paragraph. I think it, too, was wonderful.


  12. Hey there just to let you know, I’ve changed my blog address–it’s sort of similar to the title of yours, only I didn’t really realize it until I made the new URL…:oops: Anyway, the title is way different. Anyway, you’ll have to change it in the blogroll; my name should take you to the new site (which looks exactly the same as the other one, lol).

    Thanks again for all the support!!

  13. You’re welcome, Dara!

    I’ll be sure to update the link and name on my blogroll. : )


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