Flock or Not: That’s What It’s All About

Flock or Not: That’s What It’s All About

A Poem

by B. B. Wright


A group of sheep is a herd or flock;

the shepherd is never a flocker.

A volery of birds is a fleet or flight

also a pod, congregation or parcel.

While small birds’ in groups

a dissimulation is called,

a mouthful to remember indeed!

Though these words are few,

soon you’ll learn new,

to describe a flock, congregation or parcel.

A gaggle of geese look up from the ground;

while in flight a skein, a wedge of their kind take notice

of Albatross—feathered giants indeed—

in flock or rookery combined.

“Spectacular!” the geese exclaimed,

in confidence of the sighting just seen.

Until the screech from the ground

where a party of jays

made the whole thing turn upside down.

“What do jays know?” was the harsh, self-assured, raucous reply

from the murder of crows nearby.

“There’s no mystery in this!”

screeched their unison entreat,

“It just simply is.”

A committee of vultures circled the gathering

waiting for the ripe time to come down.

“Look!” alerted the fall of woodcock:

“a wake, a kettle ‘uptown.’

An exaltation of larks

drowned out the woodcocks;

while an unkindness of ravens

on their way to the barn

scared a gulp of swallows in turn.

Grouped in charms, chattering, drums or troubling

—whatever their group is called—

humming wings and twittering squeak,

the hummingbirds’ nectar reply

was to counsel the geese

and give the jays peace

the hardest wisdom to buy.

In the front of the court

a murmuration of starlings and a host of sparrows patiently sit looking on;

while a pitying of turtledoves and a rafter of turkey hope the trial will not last long.

When the learned parliament of owls finally arrived,

with white gowns all newly preened;

before they could “hoo”

a prorogue was ensued

from the charm of warbling finch.

When the bouquet of pheasant nodded support

— simply not expecting a hitch—

that’s when the ostentation of peacock

yelled “Foul play!” and called it “A BITCH!”


when the owls consorted

with a sord of mallards

the tidings of magpies flew away.

Debate and rebuttal and erudite rubble

crumbled the mumble astray;

until egos did stumble

and they did fumble

apparently lost in melee.

An answer came out

—expedient no doubt—

and here’s what they had to say:

“Agreement lies far to the south…there’s simply no other way.”

Askance looks

—filled with doubts—

their dilemma chirped underway.

“Hoo, hoo-hoo, HOOH should go,

mallard or owl this day?”

“That answer is easy,”

quacked the team of ducks,

bunched up with their newly born.

A hush, like hoar-frost,

suddenly settled over

the cacophonous pod that day.

“Hmm!” said the chief owl, glaring down his nose

at the paddling of duck on the pond.

“Hoo-hoo can a bunch of ducks like you

and your brood of duckling know?”

His oppressive eyes and threatening ways

gave the ducks a stuttering blow.


a dole of doves

settled in

to defiantly stand in a row.

“Hoo, hoo-hoo, HOOH!  Okay!” the chief owl yawned,

“If you must. Let’s hear what you have to say.”

A young duckling stepped forth

to firmly take hold

her bold intention precise:

“Your answer is clear! Stay here!” she exclaimed,

stamping her web-foot twice.

“But…” stumbled the owl,

trying to recover

from someone as outspoken as she:

“the… Kingdom of Penguins…

with their waddle on land and their raft in water

have wisdom greatly revered.”

“I don’t give a damn!” the duckling exclaimed

“Look around you silly old owl!”

With a paradoxical look the parliament shook,

and clearly shrugged an answer in vain;

while moans and groans as if in pain

mixed with the congregations’ disdain.

The duckling strode forth

and with her mother’s support

the duckling took center stage.

“Wait!” she cried out,

with a surprising rapport,

for someone as young as she.

With the tip of her wing, she took them all in

especially the parliament to her lee.

“The paradigm shift

is real easy to see

if only you would all listen, please.”

When the siege of herons called out their support,

the volery of birds settled down.

“Here’s my question to you,” she slowly began,

earnestly looking around.

A slight murmur arose

among all the rows

until silence reposed profound.

“How many agree ,”

she preceded her challenge,

“raise a wing if you concur,

that a flock or rockery

of Albatross in flight

is a spectacular sight to see?”

Opinions and thoughts never really sought,

the pods hesitated ever so slight.

A glance to the left,

A glance to the right,

the center led the flight.

All wings raised

—except the jays—

for what they knew was right.

The chief owl humbled,

but still shrewdly insightful,

did not let his goals go astray.

“Answers all, lie within?” He thought,

this scrupulous circumspection could  pay.

His trap now laid

the duckling displayed,

scooped up so the flock could see.

His position without doubt

would now have real clout

sea to sea to sea.

Then laughter broke out

his parliament backed out

screeching pee-hoo-hoo

pee-hoo, pee-hoo at he.

When the chief owl looked down,

it was with a frown,

his white gown was all brown

below where the duckling had peed.

His plans now a shamble

by his selfish gamble

revealed by an innocent duckling like she.

When the duckling got down

she stood her ground

and the pod drew near to hear.

“Our rights are our might

—never surrender—

to someone the likes of he.

Though choices may be slender

your vote must be rendered

to ensure your destiny.”