Featured Poetry

Jasmine Marshall Armstrong – Yellow-Headed Blackbirds

Observant and curious, poet Jasmine Marshall Armstrong draws inspiration and lessons from birds in her poem “Yellow-Headed Blackbirds”. With the attention and gratitude in which the late Mary Oliver wrote of birds, Jasmine hits those some notes. Jasmine told The Dewdrop that her poem reflects on how the unexpected sight of Yellow-Headed Blackbirds in the San Joaquin Valley taught her about balance. “The region where I live is often derided as flat, filled with industrial-scale agriculture, and nothing like the beautiful coast to the West of Sierra Nevada to the East,” she explained. “Yet it contains a habitat and refuge for millions of birds. Their beauty teaches me mindfulness and joy.”

Yellow-Headed Blackbirds

They wear heads as though
Bearing the California sunflowers
They’ve gorged on beside highways
Rumbling with trucks that promise
Everything in our limited alphabet—
The one that cannot name
The way they open the rusted box
Buried beneath my bed all winter,
And let me borrow their balance—
Holding the space between reeds.

Jasmine Marshall Armstrong

Jasmine Marshall Armstrong is a poet, teacher, and humanities scholar living in the San Joaquin Valley. She has published poetry in Typishly, America Magazine, Poets Reading the News, In Parenthesis, Sojourners Magazine, Askew, “We Are Beat,” the National Beat Poets Anthology and numerous other anthologies. She holds an MFA in Poetry and an MA in Humanities.

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