nichepoetryandprose

poetry and prose about place

Posts Tagged ‘Zenaida macroura

Mourning dove

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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/

 

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Copyright 2016 Jane Tims

Written by jane tims

June 29, 2016 at 7:01 am

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