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Tuesday, 22 June 2010



File:070530 4855 wiki.jpg

Here for just a
while the wind still
whistles, repeating
its name to itself
as killdeer do


Killdeer (Charadrius vociferus), Long Island, New York: photo by ShutterGlow, 2007
Killdeer (Charadrius vociferus), Albert Head Lagoon, Metchosin, near Victoria, British Columbia: photo by Alan D. Wilson, 2007


TC said...

Killdeer being killdeer.



Thanks for bringing us the killdeer calling its name (maybe all birds do that?) and the whistling of wind this morning. . . .


grey whiteness of fog against invisible
ridge, song sparrow calling from branch
in foreground, sound of wave in channel

may act on sensory apparatus,
perception of objective

comparable phenomena as such,
before parallel, yellow

silver of sunlight reflected in channel,
whiteness of gull flapping toward point

TC said...

Thank you Steve, the killdeer should feel at home, with gull and song sparrow, in the frame of your morning landscape.

Curtis Roberts said...

Thanks for this and for the "Killdeer being killdeer" clip, which we've just watched in fascination and admiration.

TC said...

Brave, resourceful and selfless parenting -- with the happy results as a sort of epilogue.

Plot construction made in heaven, wouldn't you say, Curtis?

John B-R said...

Thanks for this, Tom. Good stuff. And thanks to Stephen for posting his "6.22".

These thinks help me keep reminded that not ALL is lost, ...

Do you think that we humans are just calling our name, too??

TC said...

And thank you, John.

Oft seems each one of us has just her/his own note/name to call. (With the dark closing in & c.)

But then, remarkably, at times, we hear each other's; and at most fortunate of times maybe these do echo, or play off one another, or sound almost as one.

Or something.

Curtis Roberts said...

It IS wonderful plot construction, which I think could be supplemented for killdeer situation-comedy purposes (because these guys are definitely stars) by a comic "post-epilogue" involving rebellious teenage killdeer (or simply slacker killdeer) informing their parents that: a) the decision to improvise the deceptive broken wing act was entirely their own and therefore irrelevant to the adolescents' lives; and b) they did not ask to be born. Or something lighter and/or different than that. (Suggestions are hereby respectfully solicited.)

Anyway, the killdeer performance on display is one case where seeing almost isn't believing. Yesterday we attended a very moving theatrical performance in NYC by a San Francisco actress/acting teacher named Shelley Mitchell in a piece called Talking With Angels. Ms. Mitchell was unbelievably good. The killdeer was much, much better.



Yes, the darkness (or fog) closing in, but then light comes back into it -- killdeer calling its name, song sparrows calling, and quails and hawks and. . . .


first grey light in fog against invisible
ridge, song sparrows calling from branch
in foreground, wave sounding in channel

perspective, that everything
related to the physical

or, actual, speed of showing
accompanied by a number

whiteness of wave breaking across channel,
grey of fog against top of ridge above it

TC said...


The rebellious teenager killdeer may turn out to be litigious. Uh-oh.


Thank you for bringing the light back. I believe religions once had this sort of diurnal provision as their basis. We are grateful.

Robb said...

Usually, it's your endings that I roll around in my head. This time it's your beginning.

TC said...


This came in one of those sic(k) transit moments.

D. Luckins said...

Beautiful shots! You've got a male and a female there.

David Graham said...

Just wondering if what appears to be a Stevens allusion here was conscious or not.

The Load of Sugar Cane

The going of the glade-boat
Is like water flowing;

Like water flowing
Through the green saw-grass,
Under the rainbows;

Under the rainbows
That are like birds,
Turning, bedizened,

While the wind still whistles
As kildeer do,

When the rise
At the red turban
Of the boatman.
—Wallace Stevens

Love your blog, which I visit reguarly. And your poetry, needless to say.

David Graham

TC said...

Thanks very much for the good knowledge, David. The killdeer inhabit the shorelines here for much of the year, just as they do in Florida, where it seems Stevens may have encountered one, on one of his Southern vacations, lo these more than 100 years ago now. How time flies for poetry and killdeer. Anyway, hearing that sharp piping call of the killdeer, I got to thinking about the Stevens poem, and wondering fancifully whether one might imagine the bird was whistling on the wind, or with the wind, or simply identifying itself to the universe by announcing its own name -- all poetic fancies, as I say. Anyway the poem is more about the bird, and about the transitoriness of beauty ("Here for just a/while" was meant to be saying either "just stopped in for a visit", or, perhaps, "here to bless us and the earth with its existence for no more than just a little while"), than about the prior poem or these several fancies, in this great metatextual echo-chamber of words repeating words no bird could or would in any case ever care about, written on the wind.

David Graham said...

We've got plenty of killdeer in Wisconsin, too. I saw one perform the wounded dance a year or so ago when my dog got too close to her nest. Thanks for "the metatextual echo-chamber of words." I wrote a poem once titled "Honey in the Hive of Language," about walking past a building full of classrooms in session and listening to all the different voices & subjects blending beautifully in the air.