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June 4, 2007

Still Life with Bird and Poem

Still Life with Bird and Poem

Still Life with Bird and Poem
(c) John Corney
As I was in the bathroom getting ready for work this morning I heard a loud crack against the glass sliding door and my dog starting barking. I knew immediately that it must have been a bird that had flown into the glass, and sure enough, lying there on the deck was a finch (I have subsequently been informed that this bird is in fact a MacGillivray's Warbler). Sometimes they just seem to knock themselves out and after a couple of minutes they get themselves together and fly off. But not this little birdie. From the loudness of the sound I knew this little guy was literally going at "break-neck speed" and that's what he had in fact done. I felt so sad. He was so small and handsome and no doubt so full of the joys of spring. I felt very moved and brought him inside and cupped him in my hands and huffed on him to keep him warm just in case he might come around. After several minutes it was obvious there was no hope for him so I took him back outside and put him on the patio table with a lavender flower for a pillow. As I rode my bike to work I just couldn't stop thinking about him, and riding along the creek where there are so many birds, I composed a poem in his memory. I put the poem on the photograph with him in his honor. Hopefully this guy's made it to heaven by now and is singing with the angels. (Click the photo above for a larger image that will allow you to read the poem).

Just in case you aren't up on world religions sufficiently to know who the Jains are, they are a strict Hindu sect that respects life in all its manifestations to the extent that they wear masks in daily life so as not to inhail even an insect that might be floating on the air. Although I didn't set out to write a poem that is about the Buddhist principal of following the middle path, that's essentially what the poem is about. The invisible glass, albeit inanimate, brought death to the bird; he needed to pay attention to the invisible in life as well as the visible. The moral of the poem is that we should not give all our energy to one thing or belief to the extent that we lose touch with other realities, points of view, etc. I have no idea what might have been going on in my subconscious at the time I composed this poem in my head as I rode to work and to have ended up with this as the outcome of my "meditation" on the death of this bird, but that's in fact where it all led.

This image and poem are copyright. If you are interested in prints, please contact me using the link at the bottom of the page.

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Anonymous said...

Not to take anything away from your photo or poem, but the bird is a Connecticut Warbler, not a finch.

John C said...

Hi Curt,

Thanks for the info. I am no real expert on North American birds not having grown up in the U.S. so I appreciate the correction.

John C said...

Me here again. Actually, Curt, I looked up my "Stokes Field Guide to Birds" and I don't think this could be a Connecticut warbler as its range doesn't extend to Southern California for a start. I'm still thinking it's a gold finch. I'm going to post it to the Flickr group that IDs birds and get an answer from someone there hopeuflly.

John Corney said...

According to coracii at Flickr, this bird is a MacGillivray's Warbler (Oporornis tolmiei).

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