nichepoetryandprose

poetry and prose about place

Posts Tagged ‘bird song

scribble bird

with 6 comments

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Winter Wren

Troglodytes hiemalis

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How to find

centre of forest.

Joy the objective.

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Tiny tail

shivers as he sings.

Delirious trill.

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Troglodyte

darts into thickets,

creeps into crevasses.

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Lifts an eyebrow,

joins a chime of wrens.

Elusive ripple,

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varied trill,

incoherent whir,

tremble to warble.

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Distinguish

the note, the half-note,

the tone, the tangle.

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Forget where

you once were going,

indecisive

scribble bird.

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All my best,

Jane

Written by jane tims

July 3, 2018 at 9:11 pm

song of the Hermit thrush

with 3 comments

Every morning I listen at my window for the morning bird chorus. This morning, my first Hermit thrush of the year! It is my favorite of the bird songs, melodic and heavenly, phrases repeated in different keys.  A year ago, I heard the song and wrote the following poem. For the process I followed in writing this poem, see this.

Hermit thrush

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Catharus guttatus

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neither visceral nor guttural, ethereal

tip-toe in tree tops

air pulled into taffy thread

a flute in the forest

froth on a wave

~

rain trembles on leaf tips

guttation drops on strawberry

a lifted curtain of mayflower

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I saw you there

hidden in the thicket 

and I followed

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climb the ladder and sing

then step to the rung below

heads up, thoughts of the new day

parting of the beak

pulse at the throat

hairs lift

at the nape

of the neck, fingers

warble the keys

between middle and ring

catharsis

~

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Published at http://www.janetims.com July 1, 2016

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Copyright Jane Tims 2016

Written by jane tims

May 31, 2017 at 7:10 am

Hermit thrush

with 6 comments

Another surprise in the morning bird chorus — a Hermit thrush. I have been listening for it all spring and at last, this morning, the ethereal notes.

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June 24 2016 'thrush ethereal' Jane Tims

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How to describe the song of the Hermit thrush? T.S. Eliot described it in The Waste Land, in V: What the Thunder Said :

 … sound of water over a rock

Where the hermit-thrush sings in the pine trees

Drip drop drip drop drop drop drop …

and

… who is the third who walks always beside you …

and

… In the faint moonlight, the grass is singing

Over the tumbled graves …

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A technical description of the Hermit thrush song is ‘a beginning note, then several descending musical phrases in a minor key, repeated at different pitches.’

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The song is clear, flute-like. To me the essential characteristics are the change in pitch at the beginning of the new phrase and the hint of water within. If you watch the Hermit thrush while she is singing, she stands tall, tilts her head back, looks into the distance with her bright black eye, lifts her feathers ever so slightly and opens her beak. Her throat swells a little but otherwise you are left to wonder, where do those notes begin?

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If her song was another sound, it would be a flute in the forest.

If it was a smell, it would be the sweet scent of mayflowers, as you part the leaves with the back of your hand.

If it was a touch, it would be lifted hairs at the back of your neck.

If it was a taste, it would be syrup drizzled over iced milk.

If it was an image, it would be guttation drops on strawberries.

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IMG377_crop

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What other words describe the song of the Hermit thrush?

clear

precise

covert

alone

sweet

tremolo

pure

hidden

pensive

thoughtful

thicket

froth on a dancing wave

raindrops trembling on the tips of leaves

the step from rung to rung on a ladder

~

If it was a vowel, it would be every vowel

If it was a consonant, it would be ‘c’, ‘l’, ‘r’, or ‘v’

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Hermit thrush

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Catharus guttatus

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neither visceral nor guttural, ethereal

tip-toe in tree tops

air pulled into taffy thread

a flute in the forest

froth on a wave

~

rain trembles on leaf tips

guttation drops on strawberry

a lifted curtain of mayflower

~

I saw you there

hidden in the thicket 

and I followed

~

climb the ladder and sing

then step to the rung below

heads up, thoughts of the new day

parting of the beak

pulse at the throat

hairs lift

at the nape

of the neck, fingers

warble the keys

between middle and ring

catharsis

~

~

Copyright  2016  Jane Tims

 

 

 

Mourning dove

with 10 comments

I woke this morning to another new bird in the mix of the morning bird chorus — a Mourning dove. In this area, the Mourning dove is a common bird, seen pecking at seeds beneath feeders or hanging out on the telephone lines. But I haven’t heard one in our grey woods for a while.

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'two Mourning Doves'

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The call of the Mourning dove gives it its name. It begins with a low question and continues in a descending series of coos.

Oh no, no, no, no, no

Dear me, me, me, me, me, me

I decided to try and capture this sound in words.

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Mourning

Melancholy

Monotonous

Sad

Solemn

Hollow, mellow

A reed, the inside walls of a bottle

An emerald bottle, buried to its neck in the sand

Breath across the mouth of a bottle

A child’s feeble attempt at a whistle

Light and shadow inside a vessel of glass

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If the call of a mourning dove were a colour it would be amethyst

If the call of a mourning dove were a sound it would be wind blowing down the stairway of a tower

If the call of a mourning dove were a taste it would be chowder, thick and left too long on the fire

If the call of a mourning dove were a touch it would be a wooden shawl, wrapped round and round until it was no longer warm but strangling

If the call of a mourning dove were a song it would be hesitant, riff-driven, repeated over and over

If the call of a mourning dove were a smell it would be the cloying perfume of lilac

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If it was a vowel, it would be ‘o’ or ‘u’ and sometimes ‘y’

If it was a consonant, it would be ‘m’, ‘n’, ‘r’, or ‘w’

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Heavy or light

Loud or soft

Tall or short

Sad or happy

Bright or dull

Sharp or dull

Nearby or distant

Solemn or joyous

Spacious or confined

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So, from all this, a poem. This is the second draft of a poem about the mourning dove which never mentions the bird except in the title.

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Mourning dove

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Zenaida macroura

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wind wakens, descends the stair

notices shadow, gaps in cladding

the hollow of the tower, breath

across the mouth of a bottle

amethyst, buried in sand

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the reed widened, a solemn song

the riff, the echo, a distant train

expands across the valley

and a child hollows her hand

shapes her lips for a kiss

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tries to whistle, her breath

a sigh, a puff to cool

the chowder, still simmers

on the fire, thick

and needing stirring

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potatoes, corn and onions

curdled cream, a woollen shawl wrapped

round and round, warmth tightened

to struggle, viscous as lilac

unable to breathe

~

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For other posts and poems about the Mourning dove, see https://janetims.com/2012/01/16/keeping-warm/  and  https://janetims.com/2015/01/30/for-the-birds/

 

~

Copyright 2016 Jane Tims

Written by jane tims

June 29, 2016 at 7:01 am

morning chorus

with 11 comments

This morning it began at 5:02. First the relentless delirious Robin.

Cheerio, Cheerie, Cheer-up … Robin

Oh dear Canada, Canada, Canada … White throated sparrow

Whee, whee, whee, wheezie … Black-throated green warbler

Ah-ah-rooo … Local rooster

Teacher, teacher, teacher … Ovenbird

Tweet-terreet-terreet-tereee … Goldfinch

All happy to greet the day.

Now 5:42

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November 3, 2015 'morning fire' Jane Tims

November 3, 2015 ‘morning fire’ Jane Tims

Written by jane tims

June 13, 2016 at 5:57 am

songs in the grey woods – ovenbird, over and over

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This week we had a meeting of our writing group Fictional Friends. We are trying something new – dedicating our whole meeting to one person’s writing. The writer ‘in the spotlight’ talks about writing goals and the problems they encounter.  Then they describe their current project, giving a synopsis. They read and the group provides constructive comments. We found this first session helpful for everyone present and we plan another session, with a focus on another writer’s work. I think each member of the group learned something applicable to his or her own writing.

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This session was held at my house. I left the back screen open, to let in some air. More than air comes in – at a meeting last month, the sound of our next door neighbour’s rooster crowing provided a backdrop to some reading about rural themes. At this week’s meeting, an Ovenbird decided to start singing in the woods behind our house. ‘Teacher, teacher, teacher’ he said, over and over. Perhaps he was making a commentary on our particular way of learning.

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The Ovenbird is a large warbler, olive-brown. He reminds me of a thrust because of his streaked white breast. He has an orange crest, a white ring around each eye, a white throat and a dark line below his cheek. My drawing is from a photo by Ann Gardner, used with permission. http://www.anngardnerphotography.com/

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Scan0007

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Do you belong to a writing group? What methods does your group use to help one another?

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Copyright 2016  Jane Tims 

Written by jane tims

June 10, 2016 at 7:07 am

songs in the grey woods – northern parula

with 6 comments

A friend, a knowledgeable wetland biologist, has been helping me learn some new bird songs. Last week, I identified the song of the Northern Parula. This is a bird I have never seen, though I scan those tree tops with the binoculars until my arms ache. I have heard its song so many times and always wondered what it was. The song is a long whirrrrr, flowed by a short, upward flipWhirrrr -flip. Whirrrr- flip. This morning it was the first song of the morning bird chorus!

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May 20, 2016 'Northern Parula' Jane Tims

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It drives me crazy to hear him sing, be able to find the tree he is perched in, but not see him. My painting is how I think he must look, based on descriptions on the net.

The Parula is a blue-grey bird with a yellow throat, and a yellow and white breast. He has a white crescent above and below his eye and two white wing bars. A bright and beautiful bird! He has an association with a lichen I love, Usnea subfloridana, Old Man’s Beard. He uses the lichen to build his hanging nest.

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Usnea subfloridana on the snow

Usnea subfloridana on the snow – usually found hanging in our maple, spruce and fir trees

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Copyright 2016 Jane Tims

 

Written by jane tims

May 27, 2016 at 7:00 am

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