Sharp words

My Chief Michigan Birding Correspondent, who reports the arrival of Rose-breasted Grosbeaks this morning, at his black oil sunflower feeder — a week or more in advance of their usual appearance — also mentions that I have used sharp words in my Idleposts several times recently. A submarine sailor in one of his own past lives, he admits to having thrown off colourful language himself, “especially when overly fatigued by the stupidity of the overall situation.” But perhaps I have been taking the news too seriously.

Naturally, I consult the housefinches on my balconata, who must themselves be well informed, as they persist in maintaining six feet of distance from me, whether I’m proposing to feed them or not. Alas, none of them confess to having read my Idleposts lately, or having an opinion, on anything, really. Others have commented this last week — but these not housefinches but Australians. Canada’s only surviving reactionary poet (now that the other one has migrated to the States) took the contrary view, and cited the comportment of Saint Michael, when debating with the Great Serpent. (His attitude towards e.g. Justin Trudeau is less sympathetic than mine. I did not think that was possible.)

My own view is that one should try always to use the mot juste, and if that happens to be, for instance, “bullshit,” then so it goes. But my Michigander is right. One should not take the news too seriously. More often one should inquire of a grosbeak, or grosbec as the French more elegantly call them, not for his political views, but to hear his song, which has been likened to that of a robin who has taken singing lessons. I, to be honest, have never heard a grosbeak swear. On the other hand, I’ve never met a grosbeak in a submarine.

Many of these grosbeaks wear blackface, incidentally. But none is so low as, say, the Governor of Virginia.