Hello and Happy Poetry Friday! Be sure to visit Buffy's Blog
Last month dear friend Jeannine gave me a copy of BIRDS ART LIFE: A Year of Observation
by Kyo Maclea
r (who happens to also create books for children)-- because the book helped her get through a long winter.
Appropriate, right, for 2018, Year of the Bird
And super fitting for me, as our lives have been greatly enhanced by a new bird feeding station outside our bedroom window. Oh my, the birds we've met! House finch and goldfinch and cardinal and tufted titmouse and bald eagles
(not at the feeder, but nearby!) and and and... so many birds! So I thought I would share with you a few of the passages from the book that really spoke to me:
|our bird feeding station|
"Part of being open, I decided, meant
cultivating a better kind of attention. I wanted to achieve the
benevolent and capacious attention that the be-scarfed artist and the
bird-loving musician showed the world."
"My usual (nonmaternal) attention had
three strains. There was the dogged attention I gave my art, the
boxed-in attention I gave to my devices and screens, and the
durational attention I (sometimes) gave to challenging
books/art/films. All these seemingly dissimilar forms of attention
had something in common: they were on their way someplace. They
sought a reward, a product purchase, a narrative connection."
"Poetry captures the elusive nature of
birds, but it is science that allows us to see them with precision
and grace. The best books captured the sweet spot between poetic
not-knowing and scientific knowing."
|our bird identification book|
"A spark bird could be as bold as an
eagle, as colorful as a warbler, or as ordinary as a sparrow, as long
as it triggered the “awakening” that turned someone into a
serious birder. Most birding memoirs begin with a spark bird."
"Our courage comes out in different
ways. We are brave in our willingness to carry on even as our
pounding hearts say, “You will fail and land on your face.” Brave
in our terrific tolerance for making a hundred mistakes. Day after
day. We are brave in our persistence."
"Now when I hear birdsong, I feel an
entry to that understory. When I am feeling too squeezed on the
ground, exhausted by everything in my care, I look for a little sky.
There are always birds flying back and forth, city birds flitting
around our human edges, singing their songs."
"If the wind is going the right way,
some birds like to spread their wings and hang in the air, appearing
not to move a bit. It is a subtle skill, to remain appreciably steady
amid the forces of drift and gravity, to be neither rising nor
"The birders I encountered in books and
in the world shared little except this simple secret: if you listen
to birds, every day will have a song in it."
I do hope you will give this book a read! And of course it brings to mind "bird" poems. Who among us does NOT have a bird poem? Here's one of mine, inspired by grief and loss:
appear just before dawn
ask what it’s like
you. I push through
weight of forest
it presses against my body,
whole country of spruce,
and cedar surrounding me.
don’t want to burden you
what you’ve done,
I say I miss the birds.
there any deeper truth?
wings flashing from
careful nest in the eaves,
graceful, raucous Vs.
loss of song
the part I won’t admit,
matter how tenderly
press your fingers
- Irene Latham
and two more from ARTSPEAK!
Thanks so much for reading! My goal today is to write a new bird poem.... actually the goal was to post it here, but lots going on with son's college orientation, the closing for the sale of our house, and sweet husband's birthday... so I'll have to sneak in some writing time later this afternoon. Wheeee!