An English In Kentucky



















March 10th 2009

    I do not think of the House Sparrow as being much of a reader.  I can see him knitting, or struggling with an instruction manual, but I can't see him settling down to a good book.  But I do think of the Field Sparrow as a reader.

    The House Sparrow is the character those Bluebird people worry about.  He is that alien from across the sea who came here to eat caterpillars in the City of New York, and he can now be seen busy all over North America.   The Field Sparrow is a little smaller.   From a distance he can look very much like the House Sparrow.  The Field Sparrow has a red to pink beak, and he is a native in decline.

    The House Sparrow I often think is too busy to look you in the eye.  He decides suddenly that you are up to no good.  The Field Sparrow is slower to make those judgments, and he will sit quite still on the path until he is very certain of his opinion before flying off.   


    In urban places, where there are parks and such things as hotdog vendors for office people, a House Sparrow grows portly on scraps from the human table.  Some will ask why a Field Sparrow might not grow portly on those same scraps.  I will argue, with some vehemence, that Field Sparrows won't eat white bread.

    And of course the Bluebird reads.  Long complex novels from long complex writers.  Bluebirds also enjoy puns, they play charades, they teach their children that tennis is civilized and they are big fans of university, madrigals and chess.

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