Upon Finding A Corncrake

 

corncrake

…. Chance on their noisy guest

And wonder what the bird can be

John Clare

 

When I first heard your song

it was not a song but the sound

of a tool. A ratchet

about to tighten or slacken

some aspect of that scene.

 

Then I looked deeper and found

an open- mouthed beak

in the meadow’s palm. Blue

cornflowers matched the blue

around your throat ( an aqua pastel)

 

and again I heard you call

to the wind and sky, or perhaps

a partner. Your body shivered

in the damp grass, speckled

like a cowry shell

concealing its own echo

of origin and change.

 

And somehow I knew

your were signaling me, your song

loosening my need

to stretch my wild shadow

 

along the field. Not the mortal

but the other Centuries before

when I sang at dawn and dusk,

rummaging through the grass

for seeds and roots, ascending

high enough to spark

my gut with salt air – that swept in

from the northern sea,

 

when out of the morning

or evening horizon, the sun

could only carve — my silhouette

as a woman with wings.

2 comments

  1. Wendy,

    I love this poem. In truth I love every poem I’ve read of yours
    but this one is even more special. It is a merging of the souls
    of the bird and the speaker.

    “Your body shivered

    in the damp grass, speckled

    like a cowry shell

    concealing its own echo

    of origin and change.

    And somehow I knew

    your were signaling me, your song

    loosening my need

    to stretch my wild shadow”

    If ever one wonders what magic is, those lines most surely define it.

    Love it!

    Sarah

    Like

  2. Hi Sarah

    Thanks so much for reading and commenting so favorably on this poem! I like it ,too! Anyway, I had been reading the blog essays over at myth and moor ( Terri Wndling’s site) and all last week, this one ,too, it was abut the spiritual and mythical aspects of birds. And in particular was the corncrake or landrail from Scotland. A bird nearly extinct because of modern technology which once had been a prominent part of the fields and the meadows. I connected with the bird and its history and this poem with its mythological elements poured forth. I am so glad you enjoyed this one and could relate. And yes, the bird actually does sound like a ratchet when it sings or calls out into the wind or field.

    Again, thank you,
    Wendy

    Like

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