Tuesday, March 18, 2014


artwork by sunita khedekar


Bluebird said to me, “get up,
my grandchild, it is dawn”.
--Navajo song.

Bluebird was the town,
not found on any map.
“Happiness found here.”
read the sign along the country lane
where one entered, and
“May happiness accompany you
upon leaving; thanks for sharing--
come again.”  read the hand-painted
sign as one exited. 

“What a presumptuous place I thought,”
Why had the blue bird captured the laurel
of happiness, from the Tang Dynasty to
Dorothy warbling about rainbow riding;
why not a red bird, a yellow bird?
B.B. King doesn’t sing about happiness
when he sings the blues.

On the day I visited, there had been
a vicious thunderstorm dogging me
for hours, & yet within the township,
there was only sunshine, warmth,
fellowship, a song on every lip;

Every house & building was painted
in bright cheerful colors, rainbow-drenched,
electric, shimmering, crushing cynicism,
dodging depression; it was like strolling
the streets of Brigadoon.

In a cove, somewhere on a seashore,
built on the banks of a beautiful blue lagoon,
with seafood restaurants, fish shops,
and sailor lore everywhere along the west side,
dozens of fishermen’s dories stacked
in the white sand, yellow-blue fishing nets
drying over racks in the steaming sun--

and everywhere
               there were wonderful
                                blue kites of all sizes, 
all of them winged,
                               like azure eagles, 
                           cobalt hawks, 
                indigo owls, 
drifting in the warm thermals, 
their silken blue tails 

There were three strange blue birds
wandering about town, tame as chickens,
proud as peacocks, part parrot, part jay,
fanning their aquamarine tail feathers 
their voices seductive, 
their songs siren-like; 
rich, syrupy 
& eerie.

After a few stolen hours
I could not bear another moment
of beauteous blue-bliss--
God, I actually missed
my natural negativity,
my sinful sarcasm, so

I zipped up my black slicker
& thrust myself headlong
back into the storm,
back into
the real world,

& oddly as I sped out of Bluebird,
gleefully greeting the grayness,
I felt genuine relief, not remorse;

for one needs the darker shades too
it seems, as day must have night,
in order to be 

Glenn Buttkus

Posted over on dVerse Poets Poetics

Would you like to hear the author read this poem to you?


Claudia said...

haha... i can understand that...too much happiness and sweetness makes me feel uncomfortable...we need everything...the storm and the quiet..the rain and the sun...the colors and the shades... that's how real life feels..

Claudia said...


Brian Miller said...

smiles...i agree...i used to be all rainbows and happy in my writing...but that was not a true picture....shadows give texture...and i guess there is too happy as well when it starts to feel fake....nice little fable sir...

Grace said...

I love how you set the scene rich with colors & those kites of different sizes & tail feathers ~ Yet for all of the beautiful things, we need some shadows & shades of the night to remind us how wonderful light & color are ~ A wonderful tale Glenn ~

Joseph Hesch said...

Looks like we each chose blue birds to set off our first-of-the-week work, Glenn.

I enjoyed the palpable images you've created here. They fly and sing and move down the page like living things. Great job, my friend.

Anonymous said...

Glenn an intricate dichotomy you set up here. >KB

Björn said...

AH.. this was a great lessons.. to much colour can be like living on cotton candy... I really liked the way you describe the various birds... I can see them .. but not a single crow... For me Bluebird always brings a song to mind..
--- in Swedish unfortunately... and I can't find a translation... it's about a boat named "Bluebird"... and how it went down right before coming home... and the realization of the farther that his son was on the boat... hmm

Abhra said...

Absolute agree with you there - the completeness that you talk about

And very interesting treatment with colours too. I once lived in a place where I could see peacocks roaming about, free. Reminded me of those memories.

Victoria said...

This is gorgeous, Glenn, and you make such a good point. We cannot recognize joy without knowing the contrast of pain. Although, right now, I could use a few days in Blue Bird.

Gabriella said...

I guess we appreciate things because they are not always easy and we have (or have had) to fight for them. The real world is one where balance has a place.

Mary said...

Well, yes, I think the bluebird of happiness can be a bit overdone at times. It doesn't ring true when there is so much of it!! I think we all know people who only speak in these rich, syrupy tones!

mrs mediocrity said...

Yes, I so agree... we need the darkness to balance out the light, the shadow to guide us through the night.

Love all the rich detail in this, as always, you make me see it!

Anonymous said...

Oh yes, too much saccharine can be quite oppressive, can't it? We do need the shadows...

Anonymous said...

maybe chaos is our natural state, and halcyon moments are always better as dreams of past comfort.

this was a good read with a fine flow

Bodhirose said...

Oh yes...there has to be a balance...all that Bluebird of Happiness stuff can just be too dang syrupy and unnaturally sweet. What a great story...I hung on every word.

Vandana Sharma said...

A splash of happiness!!!

kkkkaty said...

So true we must know pain to appreciate the happiness; love it when towns have unique names that give them such character and capture one's imagination..nice response to the prompt

Marina Sofia said...

One needs the darker shades too, I agree, but wouldn't it be nice to visit a place like Bluebird just for the day? Nice take on a beautiful image.

kaykuala said...

Everything nice and everything good in Bluebird. One gets drunk with happiness that reality of the real world is necessary to bring back sanity. It is just a step away and that makes it even! Brilliant write Glenn!


Nico said...

Powerful--funny creatures we humans are. We want so much to be happy, yet we also find a dark pleasure in life's sadness. As long as it doesn't get too close to us, that is! Excellent writing, ranging over many complex emotions.

lynndiane said...

You tell an interesting tale here...I enjoyed my visit but somehow BlueBird did seem a place too good to be true in our world. We need to know darkness to seek the light.

RMP said...

ooh, I like how you brought this about in the end. I would imagine too much of anything would make you long for the opposite...it is a delicate balance of life we must navigate. really enjoyable read.

lucychili said...

our blue birds need us to bring them with us into reality, habitats and all =)
the blue wrens here are losing open farmland for close packed housing. i am trying to grow a dense shrubby garden for birds but it is just one garden

nice contrasts in the poem