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Thread subject: Dawn Chorus Bird Blog, VA rail.
Name Date Message
martyc35 08/22/10 01:37 pm Lovely, and with poetry, too. LINK
marty
Nancy L 08/22/10 02:12 pm Loved the poetry....copied one down for my grandchildren.
Shelley 08/22/10 03:27 pm What a lovely diary today. Thanks, Marty. I actually have a few books of bird poetry. Here's one of my all-time favourite poems:

BIRD-LANGUAGE - W.H. Auden

Trying to understand the words
Uttered on all sides by birds,
I recognize in what I hear
Noises that betoken fear.

Though some of them, I'm certain, must
Stand for rage, bravado, lust,
All other notes that birds employ
Sound like synonyms for joy.

Celeste 08/23/10 05:32 am Really nice to read first thing this morning!
Anne 08/23/10 07:21 am This is my favourite:-

Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul,
And sings the tune without the words,
And never stops at all,

And sweetest in the gale is heard;
And sore must be the storm
That could abash the little bird
That kept so many warm.

I've heard it in the chilliest land
And on the strangest sea;
Yet, never, in extremity,
It asked a crumb of me.

Emily Dickinson
Celeste 08/23/10 11:51 am All of the above reminded me of a book I got a few years ago and love. It's called An Exhilaration of Wings, The Literature of Birdwatching. The book is best explained by it's back cover--The author Jen Hill gathered together writings on birdwatching. Some of the writers are John Muir, John James Audubon, Susan Fenimore Cooper and other known writers and amateur ornithologists, many from the late 1800's and early 1900's. For example

"Use your eyes. Use them and have faith in them.
Use your eyes and trust them. And go out and listen to the birds. Oh, if we would listen more often to the singing of the birds!" H.R. Sass, On the Wings of a Bird, 1928

Many species of birds are described or written about in short journal entries. This was written in 1766 about our beloved Osprey. It's "anonymous, Travels Through the Interior Parts of North America 1766"

"This bird receives its name from his food which is generally fish; it skims over the lakes and rivers, and sometimes seems to lie extended on the water, as he hovers so close to it, and having by some attractive power drawn the fish within its reach, darts suddenly upon him.

The charm it makes use of is supposed to be an oil contained in a small bag in the body, and which nature has by some means or other supplied him with the power of using for this purpose; it is however very certain that any bait touched with a drop of the oil collected from this bird is an iresistable lure for all sorts of fish, and insures the angler great success.
martyc35 08/23/10 01:22 pm We'd better hope no one in Salem, MA got hold of that last paragraph, eh? I'll bet the osprey wishes it were that easy!
marty
Pamela 08/23/10 02:32 pm Marty, great edition, thank you!

Shelley and Anne, your poems are among my favorites as well. In fact I had never heard of Bird Language until you mentioned it last year, Shelley. I immediately copied it into a journal, it's perfect.

Celeste, that's a fascinating book you've mentioned and well worth owning.

Another excellent book a friend gave me is BRIGHT WINGS: AN ILLUSTRATED ANTHOLOGY OF POEMS ABOUT BIRDS, ed. Billy Collins and paintings by David Allen Sibley.
It's actually the best of both worlds--birds and poetry. Mary Oliver's/Wild Geese, Linda Pastan's/After Reading Peterson's Guide are but two poems scattered among Emerson, de la mare, Thoreau, Hardy, Dickinson, Herrick, Service, Green and Keats. There are many more poets included in the small volume, some modern and old favorites.

I found Jane Hirshfield's poem, Hope and Love, hard to resist with the conclusion . . . "He slept with his long neck folded, like a letter put away."

Another, On the Marriage of Friends, by Greg Delanty would be perfect to read at a wedding reception.* As it opens. . ."So you have chosen the way of the swan." proceeds to move onto . . ."And there'll be crow black days you'll caw at each other. . .", concluding with "We wish you now many such duet days and sing for you like the red-eyed vireo. . ."
*If the bride and groom were birders!
Shelley 08/23/10 02:49 pm I also have Jen Hill's *Exhilaration of Wings*, and a few books of bird poems aimed at children.

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