Flit: verb

Movement ahead brings my eyes up 
from the stone-strewn path that 
demands my attention 

A red-bellied woodpecker 
moves quickly from tree to tree ahead of me 
flashing grey and red with frenetic bursts of flight

“Flit” is the word, isn’t it, for what I’m seeing?  

That’s always struck me as a written word — 
have I ever heard it said it aloud?  
I’ll do that, I decide, and twice declare it to the trees  

With the bird out of site, I drop my head and
start off once more, not quite flitting 
but with a step clearly lighter than before

26 thoughts on “Flit: verb”

  1. I love this poem! I had an instant picture in my head of a bird flitting around. I loved the line “not quite flitting but with a step clearly lighter than before” as it shows how reflecting on small moments in nature can brighten and lighten our days. Thank you for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I wrote taking one word, too, Tim, and I love your musing about “flit”. Does anyone say it aloud, perhaps with a walking companion? I love that you walked away satisfied with the thoughts and remembering the birds “flitting”. You gave us a piece of your life so beautifully!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Linda, thank you for reading and for your comments. “Flit” is such a common word in “bird literature,” but I honestly don’t think I’ve heard it spoken aloud much. I’m going to start watching for other words like that.


    1. Jan, thanks for reading and for your comments! I don’t know where it was in my past, but I believe I’ve heard of the Flit Bug Spray connection with TG. If you’ve have asked me cold, though, I’d have said it was in one of his stories!

      I was curious about St. Marks, so I looked it up. File this under, “Small World:” My family and I spent a week on the coast just south of Sopchoppy this past October. What a beautiful part of Florida! We didn’t make it to St. Marks, but the birds in the area we were staying were wonderful to see and hear. The great horned owl that serenaded us each evening was a highlight!


  3. It’s a great word, flit, and now I’m thinking about a poem I’m writing that might benefit from that word. I love how your poem shows us the meaning of the word and the moment of recognition experienced by the “I” of the poem.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Janice. In a comment on my previous post (a narrative about this scene), Lainie Levine said flit was “visual onomatopoeia,” and I have to agree with her.


  4. So perfectly captures the moment when someone actually thinks about a familiar word in a new way. I love it when that happens! We saw a downy woodpecker that flitted a bit last weekend. The bald eagle we saw, watching for prey, certainly did not flit! It watched, studied, analyzed, tilted, then dove!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Laura, downy woodpeckers certainly do flit! We have them in our yard on occasion, and I love watching how quickly they can cover a large section of a tree. Bald eagles, though, definitely don’t flit! I work with a few large birds of prey, and watching them fly is always a pleasure, especially if they’re flying to my glove. I’d love to watch a bald eagle hunt–that would be awesome!


  5. ‘Twas a flit that caught my eye yesterday afternoon as I looked out my classroom window after ZOOMing all day. A flit of red in the brambles. My dear cardinal friend stopping by to say It’s Fri-yay! You’ve captured the mood and feeling of that small moment of joy — a SLICE! Here’s to more flit spotting.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I love this, Tim, from start to finish. Those red-bellied woodpeckers are beauties, aren’t they!? You pulled me right into the moment with you and I was delighted when you “twice declared” “flit” to the trees. I sort of wanted to say it out loud myself, right along with you. The woods, the birds, and words all deserve celebration. Thanks for sharing this lovely poem.

    Liked by 1 person

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