“Now comes the long blue cold. And what shall I say but that some bird in the tree of my heart is singing.” ~ Mary Oliver, Red Bird: Poems
This weekend, bird, bird, bird … bird is the word. Or is it birds are the Words? Is a bird in the hand really worth two in the bush? Birds fly over the rainbow, why can’t I? While we take some time to ponder these questions, make yourself at home and enjoy this weekend’s bird-themed volume. And remember, don’t worry about a thing, ’cause every little thing, gonna be alright, this is our message to you. … See you all soon, Christy and Jennie
If I leave here tomorrow
Would you still remember me?
For I must be traveling on now
‘Cause there’s too many places I’ve got to see.
But if I stayed here with you, girl,
Things just couldn’t be the same.
‘Cause I’m as free as a bird now,
And this bird you can not change . . .
~ “Free Bird” performed by Andre Braugher in Duets
“Atticus said to Jem one day, “I’d rather you shot at tin cans in the backyard, but I know you’ll go after birds. Shoot all the blue jays you want, if you can hit ‘em, but remember it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird.” That was the only time I ever heard Atticus say it was a sin to do something, and I asked Miss Maudie about it. “Your father’s right,” she said. “Mockingbirds don’t do one thing except make music for us to enjoy. They don’t eat up people’s gardens, don’t nest in corn cribs, they don’t do one thing but sing their hearts out for us. That’s why it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird.”
“Once, Picasso was asked what his paintings meant. He said, “Do you ever know what the birds are singing? You don’t. But you listen to them anyway.” So, sometimes with art, it is important just to look.”
“Some birds are not meant to be caged, that’s all. Their feathers are too bright, their songs too sweet and wild. So you let them go, or when you open the cage to feed them they somehow fly out past you. And the part of you that knows it was wrong to imprison them in the first place rejoices, but still, the place where you live is that much more drab and empty for their departure.”
“My sparrow, fly away if you have to
But know that I am coming.
I am low in the grass. I am burning
With patience. I am every song.”
For you, there’ll be no more crying,
For you, the sun will be shining,
And I feel that when I’m with you,
It’s alright, I know it’s right
And the songbirds are singing,
Like they know the score,
And I love you, I love you, I love you,
Like never before.
“Songbird” performed by Eva Cassidy from Songbird
“I’d rather learn from one bird how to sing
than teach ten thousand stars how not to dance”
I heard a song about two birds
and I wanted to feel you flying next to me.
I don’t know why,
but when I think of you, I think of pairs.
How I wrote about two roads
stretching before me and dreaming of you
at the end of each.
by Li-Young Lee
The birds don’t alter space.
They reveal it. The sky
never fills with any
leftover flying. They leave
nothing to trace. It is our own
in chill air. Be glad.
They equal their due
moment never begging,
and enter ours
without parting day. See
how three birds in a winter tree
make the tree barer.
Two fly away, and new rooms
open in December.
Give up what you guessed
about a whirring heart, the little
beaks and claws, their constant hunger.
We’re the nervous ones.
If even one of our violent number
could be gentle
long enough that one of them
found it safe inside
our finally untroubled and untroubling gaze,
who wouldn’t hear
what singing completes us?
— Li-Young Lee, Book of My Nights: Poems
“I have been thinking how the body
is a vulture—all avarice and need.
How longing creeps up, stalking
for days, catches with such force
it leaves you breathless.”
— Carol V. Davis, Need
“A man stands under a tree, looking at a small house not far away. He flaps his arms as if he were a bird, maybe signaling someone we cannot see. He could be yelling, but since we hear nothing, he probably is not. Now the wind sends a shiver through the tree, and flattens the grass. The man falls to his knees and pounds the ground with his fists. A dog comes and sits beside him, and the man stands, once again flapping his arms. What he does has nothing to do with me. His desperation is not my desperation. I do not stand under trees and look at small houses. I have no dog.”
— “Clear In the September Light” by Mark Strand from Almost Invisible
“Thirty years ago my older brother, who was ten years old at the time, was trying to get a report written on birds that he’d had three months to write, which was due the next day. We were out at our family cabin in Bolinas, and he was at the kitchen table close to tears, surrounded by binder paper and pencils and unopened books about birds, immobilized by the hugeness of the task ahead. Then my father sat down beside him put his arm around my brother’s shoulder, and said, “Bird by bird, buddy. Just take it bird by bird.”
by Charles Bukowski
I saw an owl tonight.
I saw my first owl tonight.
he was sitting high on the phone pole.
my wife shined a light upon him.
he didn’t move.
he just sat there
his eyes shining back.
my first owl.
y San Pedro owl.
then the phone rang.
we went inside.
it was somebody who wanted to
then they were finished.
we went outside and the owl
damn the lonely people
I may never see an owl
— “Owl” by Charles Bukowski from Bone Palace Ballet
“I decided a long time ago I would feed on the vultures until a dove came along. A pigeon. The kind of soul that didn’t impede on anyone; just walked around worrying about its own business, trying to get through life without pulling everyone else down. With its own needs and selfish habits. Brave. A communicator. Intelligent. Beautiful. Soft-spoken. A creature that mates for life. Unattainable until she has a reason to trust you.”
Rare, rare bird
Abide with me.
Don’t give yourself
Stand your ground
For all to see.
Rare, rare bird
Abide with me.
Don’t turn away.
Just say the word
And shine your light
For all to see.
A rare, rare bird
You are to me.
–“Rare Bird” by Glen Hansard from Rhythm And Repose (Deluxe Edition)
This week’s playlist features music by Charlie “Bird” Parker, Vic Chesnutt, Blues Traveler and more: