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Finches at all my feeders flash and bicker
in ritual consternation and all weather,
jangle at me with never-ending want,
need me compliant but omnipotent.
Within the nearby pine, push comes to shove
as the shrill chorus nags me, makes me leave
the cool deck and my chair and drink and book
to fetch seed quickly, fix their rotten luck.
The bounty I bestow with great affection
they apprehend as wanton dereliction,
and no amount of care will bring me love:
their gratitude grows less the more I give.
There’s no end to their petulance and hunger.
Their ceaseless praying always sounds like anger
at me, all-kind, all-generous, all-seeing,
in whom they live and move and have their being.

—Jane Greer

Image by Collin Durfee via Creative Commons. Image cropped