Midweek Poetry: Jaybird, Songbird by daintydora

This isn't a new poem, but I thought I'd republish it here today. It is short and silly and it rhymes, so it's a perfect midweek pick-me-up.

Jaybird, Songbird sing for me: Midweek Poetry

Jaybird, Songbird,
brown-spotted Thrush.
Jaybird, Songbird -
night-time crush.
Jaybird, Songbird
oh how twee;
Jaybird, Songbird
sing for me.

These lines came to me as I walked home from work one night a few years ago, photographing the broken skeletons of leaves that lay in my path, and pondering a situation I was involved in that had become all-consuming, exhausting and miserable.

The rhythm of my steps seemed to beat out the words, and I was drawn to the idea of repetition as I found it comforting.

I suppose the idea of the birds singing sweetly in the trees - particularly the Songbird - and going about their business as the season changed from summer to autumn, felt uplifting and hopeful.

Possibilities everywhere, in the hedgerows and trees, in the sky, in my own back garden, in my head.

I have a lot of ideas for bird poems, both frivolous and dark.

Watch this space.

St Valentine's: The Wedding Day of Birds by daintydora

Hearts, roses, chocolates, clinking champagne glasses, everything pink and red; all a diabolical confection, commercialisation and converging of ideas and influences that make most people want to vomit. I said most.

Yes, it's St Valentine's Day.

And I wasn't going to mention it, at all, but then I heard something on the radio that I thought was worth sharing.

It seems that the origins of the most popular customs associated with 14th February date back to the Middle Ages, stating that Valentine's Day, (halfway through the second month of the year), was the 'wedding day of birds' as this is when they would choose their mates in time for Spring.

Bird Print Postcards

Chaucer is cited in all this, and in particular his poem, 'Parliament of Fowls', the literal meaning of which is 'Meeting of Birds'.

The poem was apparently penned to honor the grand wedding of Richard II of England to Anne of Bohemia, regarded as one of the most successful and loving royal marriages of the Middle Ages.

Other (bird-related) symbolism and superstitions:

It was once believed that if a woman noticed a robin flying overhead on Valentine's Day, it meant she would marry a sailor.
If the woman saw a sparrow, the would marry a poor man, but be very happy.
If she spied a goldfinch, it was said that her husband would be a man of great wealth.
Lovebirds are so named because they tend to sit closely together in pairs.
Doves, with their distinctive 'cooing' call, symbolize loyalty, fidelity and love since they mate for life. The dove was a bird sacred to Venus and other cultural love deities.

I do adore birds so Happy Wedding Day to all the beautiful birds of the world. May their plumage conjure love!

*This post was originally posted last year, but seeing as it is so topical, I wanted to share it again*


Midweek Moment: when thoughts crowd in by daintydora

I love this image that I snapped quickly, and to be honest, without much thought. I like the angles and the shapes. Not perfect. Not meticulous. But striking. View through the window

What appeals to me most is the stark cut-out shapes of bunting dangling from the window frame; cascading, caught in the bare branches of foraged dead wood from the garden.

These branches in turn point themselves like fingers into the frame, making the image seem more sinister than it really is - just an overcast winter's day.

The sky is washed out, busy processing clouds. This is not a black and white image, but in fact there is little colour so it looks that way.

It makes me think of Matisse - not for its lack of colour, but because each element looks to be cut out in paper - 'drawn with scissors' - then layered together to create this illusion of a crooked window with a tangled dark garden beyond. But there is light in the sky, slipping through gaps in the cloud. Light is always hope.

I like how the branches in the foreground intersect the trees in the background; the dimensions proving playful.

There is a simplicity too. Muted, focused priorities become clear. And that's what I need this week.

Thoughts come into my head, crowding in, more, more, more, and I need to make them line up like birds on a wire, the birds that sit on my washing line, observing the pecking order and waiting their turn. It happens in nature as a matter of life and death.

Know your place. Prioritise. Wait. Be patient.

So much can be learnt from the creatures around us. And windows are always synonymous with perspective.

Look through your window. Take a moment. Stop and pause. What can you see? Can you see the wood for the trees?

Find something beautiful and seek out the light.


'Found' Bird Poetry - The Dawn Chorus by daintydora

A blackbird in full song - April (original book illustration by Peter Partington)April is a month with a loud soundtrack. No male bird with pretensions towards reproduction can keep its mouth shut at this time of year. The atmosphere is always heavy with song, ready to drench any listener who steps outside.

The Dawn Chorus
In the half light,
a company of sopranos
indignantly loud -
again and again.
Throaty and deep,
 large eyes
a five-note coo.
Wild sounding air -
in the half light.

Suburbia sleeps
through rhythmic racket,
again and again.
By half past five
business has been done.

The above poem was constructed using the technique of 'found poetry', whereby words are chosen from a book or magazine (in this case a book - The Secret Lives of Garden Birds by Dominic Couzens and illustrated by Peter Partington).

The book is laid out in sections that detail bird activity and habits for each month of the year. I chose April, drawing a crude bird outline on the page entitled 'The Dawn Chorus'.

I wrote down on a separate piece of paper each word or phrase that the outline crossed, using only these words or phrases to create the poem.

Lines can be repeated; a technique I have used here. There are no real rules - it's about being spontaneous and 'finding' poems in everyday texts from books to street signs to newspaper headlines. Any words, from anywhere.

I love the way this plays into the idea that all the words we have at our disposal have been 'recycled'; used again; re-constructed in another form to piece together a new story and a new rhythm.

I am quite pleased with how this one has turned out. If I had more words, I could have done better, but the point is not to create a masterpiece, but to create something - something different to your usual style or using material that is outwith your expertise - using limited resources - which in this case is words.

A quick and fun exercise in creativity.