Immigrant Song: In tribute to Sturnus Vulgaris

by Mike Orlock

Mike Orlock, of Sturgeon Bay, submitted this poem after reading Justin Isherwood’s “The Starling for Citizenship” in the Aug. 10 issue of the Pulse. Orlock wrote this poem a couple years ago and reading Isherwood brought it back to his mind.


Starling, drab darling,

immigrant interloper to these woods,

who would think of you

if contemplating the majesty of birds?


Less precious than the thrush,

whose warbling song

is proper rebuke to your wolfish whistle–

you are the drift that darkens skies,

a blight as prickly as thistle.


With stunted tail and too-long legs,

a head that gleams slick

as oil dregs atop a barrel-

breast spangled with pox, you are crudity compiled,

marked as Mortimer for your impudent mimicry,

your imprudent fecundity persistently reviled.


Can the blue-blooded bluebird even compete

when this much vulgarity beats its wings

with such insistent vitality?


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