Be sure to visit Two Writing Teachers for more slices of life.

Be sure to visit Two Writing Teachers for more slices of life.


I stop my typing,

               look up from the computer,

                            try to determine the source of the haunting sound.


            TV muted,

                      I step to the door,

                              venture outside scanning the limbs of the barren trees.

Evergreen wall encloses the yard,


Low hanging clouds stifle the call,


Cardinal perched high in the maple tree,

Cocks his head to the sound,


Everyday the mourning dove sings

                                            Its haunting tune

                                                                 Outside my window.

Two morning doves resting in the maple tree.

Two morning doves resting in the maple tree.


26 thoughts on “Coo-Ooo-coo

  1. Elsie, this slice appeals to me so much in light of my new hobby – birding! I’m not very good at birding by ear (meaning I’m terrible)… This summer, I am going to have to listen to more birdsong. At a recent birding event at the nature sanctuary near my house, the guide told us about 95% of birding is by ear alone! I’m in trouble unless I learn how to identify some bird calls! I loved how the cardinal also was interested in the mourning dove’s song!

  2. You described this perfectly! As soon as I read the way you wrote “coo-OOH-coo”, I said “mourning dove!” to myself! We have lots of those here in Ohio too!

  3. I love this! Immediately I related to the bird call outside as I’m doing something else. Love your style and the repetition of the call – I was there with you!

  4. Oooh…I love the repeating line of the “coo” throughout the poem. I was guessing pigeon or owl. Shows how well I know birds. Guess I need to get Amy’s new bird book. 🙂 It was fun reading this and guessing what the bird was. Would have been better if I had gotten the bird right, but that’s not your fault. 🙂

  5. They sound so pretty. I just read a book that included a mourning dove in it to the girls, Elsie. It’s Loren Long’s Little Tree. Thanks for sharing the picture too!

  6. lynnedorfman says:

    I did not know that was the sound of a mourning dove! Beautiful poem with effective repetition. Lovely rhythm. I feed birds in multiple feeders. Right now, lots of grackles, red-wing blackbirds, woodpeckers, chicadees, and cardinals with occasional bluejays, and yes…pigeons! Thanks, Elsie!

  7. To me, the mourning dove’s coo is so calming. It always brings me back to my childhood when we had several of them roosting in our backyard. Thanks for so perfectly capturing their call.

  8. When I lived in Lima, Peru, on the tenth floor of an apartment building next to a park ringed with trees, the doves were a constant of our mornings, their song coming in through the almost always-open windows. I still miss them, after 16 years away.

  9. Melanie Roy says:

    I agree that the structure of your poem is amazing and I love the idea of the cardinal cocking his head at the sound as well. You seem so attuned to your natural world!

  10. The structure of this piece is so visually engaging! My favorite part the cardinal with his head cocked. I saw it so vividly among the haunting sound. I felt like he was as curious as you.

  11. Barbara Suter says:

    The sound of mourning doves is one of my absolute favorites. I love how you structured your mystery. We haven’t had a pair in our yard for years thanks to the feral cats in the neighborhood. But this year we do have a new resident pair, and I listen for them around 4 or pm; they tell me it’s time to wind down as evening approaches. I am so fearful about the cats…

  12. We don’t have any morning doves here…at least that I have seen. Thanks for the glimpse into their sound. If I heard it, I would have to investigate as well.

  13. I love the mourning dove’s coo. We had a pair (or more) who made their home in the crow’s nest in our old, old school….it was right above the teachers’ lounge. Sometimes the doves got a bit frisky which was a bit entertaining.

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