Wallace Stevens found 13 ways of looking at a blackbird; Ishmael Reed's poem "Scrub Jays" imagines the birds looking back at the man glaring at them, finding six stanzas of taunts. This is , in essence, a poem about aging, the gaining of some simple knowledge that was formerly obscured by ego and youthful exuberance. Where a younger man could sustain a good battle in protecting what he perceives to be rightfully and exclusively his, his apple trees and the fruit they bare, running to and from his house with all manner of pesticide, rakes, air horns , convinced that he can make short order of this ordeal and restore the principle of property rights to his personal piece of earth, the body with time grows slower, muscles go soft, bones ache, the awareness arises that no amount of assertion of will can make settle anything permanently. The bird is the old man's inner voice, speaking in mocking tones under remains of the rhetorical veneer that refuses to acknowledge inevitability. It is not this bird, nor even birds in particular that will win this battle.
What good are applesTo old men, anywayYou have lost your biteYou have run out ofLadders to climbYour ultrasonic solar-poweredAnimal repellentThe Honda among dissuadersMight rid your garden ofThe capo cats, butThe bandit raccoonsWithin 48 hours