Friday, April 30, 2010

the space filled by birds

there are many sensorial
empty spaces in winter.

one that affects me
is the absence of birdsong.
the birds make wise choices
and follow the warmth south.

with them
go many little joys.

i love to watch swallows fly.
the great v's of geese.
trees filled with sparrows.

now they're back
those empty spaces
have been filled once more
with their hurried fluttering
and most especially
and wonderfully
with their song


it was passed from one bird to another,
the whole gift of the day.
the day went from flute to flute,
went dressed in vegetation,
in flights which opened a tunnel
through which the wind would pass
to where birds were breaking open
the dense blue air -
and there, night came in.

woman encircled by the flight of birds

when i returned from so many journeys,
i stayed suspended and green
between sun and geography -
i saw how wings worked,
how perfumes are transmitted
by feathery telegraph,

miro - the beautiful bird

and from above I saw the path,
the springs and the roof tiles,
the fishermen at their trades,
the trousers of the foam;
i saw it all from my green sky.
i had no more alphabet
than the swallows in their courses,
the tiny, shining water
of the small bird on fire
which dances out of the pollen.

pablo neruda

and you know, it was e.e. cummings who said,
"i'd rather learn from one bird how to sing than to teach ten thousand stars how not to dance".

nailed that one sweetly boyo!

miro woman and birds


Bonnie, Original Art Studio said...

Steven - I am running out of superlatives with which to comment on your posts. Thank you for this one.

I, too, bask in the sweet songs of birds and love Neruda's poetry and the amazing paintings you have posted to accompany them.

Pauline said...

ah - silence and song - both beautiful in their own ways

steven said...

pauline i like musician robert fripp's perspective on that very thought: "music is the cup that holds the wine of silence." steven

steven said...

bonnie thankyou very much!! as a montrealler faced with the rrigours of winter i am sure that you also love the return of their song. hence the celebration! steven

Elisabeth said...

We live near tram sheds where the birds nest and each evening at twilight they make a grand cacophony - hardly bird song but wonderful nevertheless. Thanks for reminding me.

Titus said...

Thanks for the Miros and the marvellous words steven. After dinner I sit outside in the garden for a while, which is very populus with avian householders, and they are so used to me at the back door they just perch and sing away. A wonder to hear, and watch. A bit of a contest too, sometimes!

willow said...

Steven + Miro + Neruda = bliss

ellen abbott said...

I'd never make it that far north. No sun, too much snow and no birds.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Steven - I have a blackbird sitting on a post just outside the window as I type - and he is singing all day long.

Meri said...

I love that day each year when spring isn't official yet, but walking outside in early morning, I find the birds are conversing fervently, throwing a hello out to me in the midst of important dialogue. And Neruda -- oh my! "trousers of the foam," and "the tiny, shining water of the small bird on fire which dances out of the pollen." Seduction by language!

Reya Mellicker said...

I never really thought about it - that all the birds would vamoose during your long winters. There are always starlings here, and finches and crows of course, so there's always some birdsong.

Now the landscape is crazy with birdsong.

Have they started coming back to where you are? Hope so. Let the music begin!

steven said...

elsiabeth - for years there was a tall tree about a hundred feet from me that was filled every night with birds. thousands of them. it was loud and wonderful. a song - well not really. then the tree got cut down. now the birds have spread around the nearby trees so it's more of a dissipated presence. i'll take it! steven

steven said...

titus - that's so cool! i love sitting outside in the early morning and listening. they're telling each other about their space and then also singing for friends - or more! steven

steven said...

willow - thankyou very much!! steven

steven said...

ellen - it's amazing what good can come from deprivation. a different appreciation that's for sure. steven

steven said...

weaver - i bet you count your blessings every day! steven

steven said...

meri - neruda's words are so inside the language of a fully experienced moment. i love the bridge between winter and spring also when as you say thr birds are there despite everything. spring is fully happening here now - well pretty much. there are some flowers out. trees have budded and bloomed and leaves are unfurling. (ask my allergies!) beautiful times. steven

steven said...

reya - first birds i really notice are the crows. my friends. they talk to me. i talk right back. castaneda echoes through me. then the geese and then the little birds,. flocks of them singing and flying in curlicues and wriggles. now their songs and squabbles and plump bodies are pure proof of the return of the sun. steven

Delwyn said...

some days I wish I could sing like a sounds so joy filled..

Happy days

steven said...

delwyn i wish i could see what they see and fly like they fly. steven

Richard Jesse Watson said...

Steven, whenever I have to travel, I am greatly settled when I can open a window and hear some birds of the locale. No matter where on earth, if I can hear a birdsong, it speaks freedom and calms my being. Wonderful post. Miro's paintings perfectly capture the tweets and staccato arias of the birds. Neruda and cummings sure go nice together folded into a Steven omelette.

steven said...

hi richard - thanks for this thoghtful comment. it's interesting the small commonplace features of our lives that provide us with comfort. steven

Golden West said...

Hi Steven,

Our town is anchored on each end by bird sanctuary lagoons that are smack dab on the Pacific flyway. The lagoons are fresh water that is flushed by the ocean tides, so we get all manner of bird visitors as they migrate and many decide to stay over. Consequently, we hear birds constantly. We even had a flock of rogue parrots who had escaped captivity and banded together into a flock! Not long ago a group of sparrows who frequent my birdbath had taken in amongst themselves a bright blue parakeet.

I thoroughly enjoyed your post and realize how I've taken bird song for granted.

Bee said...

What a lovely collection, Steven.

The last morning I was in Houston I went for a long walk . . . and for once, all of the leaf blowers were quiet. There was such a splendid pairing of dappled sunshine and the cooing and murmuring of doves.

Karen said...

I had occasion to be up at 5 this morning, and they were having a party out there in the trees here in central Ohio.

This year we have had more crows than I remember in the past. So I have enjoyed listening to their raucous laughter. I often think they're laughing at us humans who think ourselves so busy and important. :)