“scruffy sparrows” from Favor of Crows

scruffy sparrows
chatter outside the bakery
raisin scones

Gerald Vizenor, Favor of Crows

Common and perhaps worse-for-wear birds center an outdoor scene. The rumpled sparrows contrast with the sleeker concept of a baker’s shop, while their chatter invites personification. Then, the viewer’s gaze falls on something heartening, perhaps on the other side of the bakery window in a more exclusive space, where all is cozy. Does the chatter of the sparrow center around the scones, maybe a favorite treat of theirs, since they have gathered here before?

By mentioning the human-like “chatter” of the sparrows, the speaker invites the viewer to regard the world through their eyes as, just for a moment, the speaker, and reader, both gaze on the inviting scones.

The briefly-sketched scene evokes empathy in a shared desire for comfort and warmth between human and animals, and tenderness in its charm, while also keeping the desired object at a distance. Will the sparrows have a chance to taste the scones? Will a human hand offer them a bite, or will someone leave a few crumbs behind in a discarded wrapper?


Author: Amanda Monteleone

I am an English graduate student at the University of Texas at Arlington interested in nineteenth-century American and Japanese poetry, contemporary Korean literature, and the literature of Southeast Asia.

2 thoughts on ““scruffy sparrows” from Favor of Crows”

  1. Well, I have scraped a wax paper muffin cup onto the ground for birds (usually sparrows) to eat after I’ve eaten the muffin, but come to think of it, that was a bit stingy, I should’ve left more…😶

    Liked by 1 person

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