Thursday, 15 May 2014

Indifference and the Practical.

There was an almighty shrieking in the Shire this evening. Blackbirds, no doubt of it. But this wasn’t the usual single bird that’s been startled by something; this sounded like the banshee and all her sisters had come together for a rare reunion and rehearsal. Something had to be up.

I looked into the branches of the two old sycamores which frame the view from my garden, and then I saw what was up. The local Tawny Owl was flying from one tree to the other, and there was something dangling from its talons. It turned to reverse direction, and flew off down the lane with two blackbirds in hot pursuit.

It reminded me again that developing a love for nature can be a hazardous occupation for those even remotely inclined towards the squeamish or the sentimental. Nature is never a cruel mother – the concept is effectively redundant – but she can be a remarkably indifferent one.

2 comments:

Anthropomorphica said...

Very true Jeff. I've seen pigeons trying to save one of their number from the clutches of a hawk. I had to remind myself that it was a matter of survival for the hawk too.

A Barred Owl
By Richard Wilbur

The warping night air having brought the boom
Of an owl’s voice into her darkened room,
We tell the wakened child that all she heard
Was an odd question from a forest bird,
Asking of us, if rightly listened to,
“Who cooks for you?” and then “Who cooks for you?”

Words, which can make our terrors bravely clear,
Can also thus domesticate a fear,
And send a small child back to sleep at night
Not listening for the sound of stealthy flight
Or dreaming of some small thing in a claw
Borne up to some dark branch and eaten raw.


JJ Beazley said...

Thank you. Mel, and what a splendid poem. I am not alone.