Friday, May 8, 2009

Bird by Bird: A Celebration of New River with Pablo Neruda

to look for birds!

The high iron branches
in the forest,
the dense
fecundity of the soil,
the whole world
is wet,
rain or dew

shines, a tiny
in the leaves:
in the early morning
mother earth is

the air
is like a river
that shakes
the silence,
it smells of rosemary,
of space
and roots.

a wild song,
a waterfall,
it's a bird.

from a throat
smaller than a finger
can the waters
of this song fall?

Luminous grace!
of music
in the leaves,
sacred conversation!

Clean, washed, cool
is this day,
like a green zither,

I bury
my shoes
in the mud,

I leap over springs,
a thorn
nips me and a gust
of air like a crystal
separates on my chest.

are the birds?
Was that one, maybe,
whispering in the foliage
or that fugitive ball
of gray velvet
or that sudden shift
of perfume?

That leaf
which the cinnamon tree let go,
was it a bird? That dust
from the irritated magnolia
or that fruit
which fell resounding,
was that a flight?

O invisible little cretins,
fiendish birds,
to hell
with your twittering,
with your useless feathers!

I just wanted
to stroke them,
to see them glisten,
I don't want
to see their lightning embalmed
in a showcase,

I wanted to see them alive,
I want to touch their gloves
of genuine leather,
which they never forget in the branches,
and to talk with them
on my shoulders
even if they leave me like certain statues
undeservedly whitened.

They can't be touched,
they can be heard
like a heavenly
whisper or movement,
they talk
their observation,

about whatever they're doing,
on whatever exists,
certain sciences
like hydrology
and know for certain
where all the grains
are being harvested.

Well then,
of the forest, of the woods,
of the pure bower,
birds of the acacia
and of the oak,
crazy, amorous,
astonishing birds,
migratory musicians,

one last
I go back
with wet shoes, thorns
and dry leaves
to my home:

I love you
far from the shotgun and the cage,
this is the way
I love you,
united and sonorous
society of the heights,
of the air,
of smoke,

flyers and singers,
aerial, terrestrial,
sailors of the wind,
of the softest nests,
messengers of pollen,
of the flower, uncles
of the seed,

I love you,
I'm going home,
happy to have lived with you
a moment
in the rain.

Ode to Birdwatching
Pablo Neruda

Bird by Bird
We have come to know the earth

at the New River Birding and Nature Festival
Nina from Nature Remains
Barb from My Bird Tales
Kathie from Sycamore Canyon
Lynne from Hasty Brook
Laura from Somewhere in NJ
Kathi from Katdoc's World
Mary from Mary's View
not pictured:
Kathleen from A Glorious Life

What we discovered at New River, Bird by Bird:
(Remember to embiggen the photos)
pictured top to bottom: Ovenbird; New River Gorge; Wake Robin Trillium; Red Eft; Fiddlehead Fern; Black and White Warbler; West Virginia Woodlands; Spring Blooms; Pitcher Plant; Pitcher Plant; Millipede, Lichen, Water Glider Shadows; Pipevine Swallowtails and Nessus Sphinx Moth; New River; Cascade of White Violets; Red Eft; Marsh Marigold; Black-Capped Chickadee; New River Gorge Bridge; and the 2009 New River Nature Bloggers.


Anonymous said...

A visual feast. You are so talented. I love my visits here!

nina at Nature Remains. said...

Wow--that was a perfect match to our week! (I was sure you'd written it!)
The, "I love you ungraspable," for me, makes the birds I missed seeing, the best memories.
Knowing they're in those wonderful woods, buried too deeply to be pulled out.

Lynne at Hasty Brook said...

Again, your vision and creativity leave me gasping. See why I was nervoius to meet you? But from the first smile and hug I new I needn't have worried. Glad to have met you and happy to call you my friend.

coolwaterworks said...

Pic by pic, I scrolled down with much anticipation...

Great post TR...

Congratulations on the success of your activity with the other bird lovers... :)

Dave said...

Great post! Did you happen to take a video camera along, too? This would make a good video poem, too, I think. It's especially effective because most of the photos don't depict birds - there's a subtler interplay.

I am always surprised how few birdwatchers seem aware of the fact that one of the two or three greatest poets of the 20th century was a birdwatcher (and a good all-around naturalist).

Diane AZ said...

Pitcher plants, fiddleheads,and efts are hard for this desert dweller to imagine. But, after taking in this post I feel as though I have been to New River too. What a marvelous world.

jalynn01 said...

The poem was perfect and the pictures were delightful Tim. My favorite words were:
Luminous grace!
of music
in the leaves,
sacred conversation!
and I wanted to say: Glory to God in the Highest!!
I too felt the birds were there but illusive, I didn't get too many good pictures of them, but many of every other natural wonder.... like you sleeping. I apologize if I embarrassed you but after the 'dance with the cowbell' I didn't think anything could make you blush! You made me laugh and laugh. Thank you. And if it is true about the milepede and it's toxins then I will look for more irrational decisions to come! oh My!

Oklahoma Girl said...

A feast for the eyes & the emotions. Such a beautiful poem that speaks to Nature as it should be seen & photos that enhance the experience. I am left feeling like I just took the most wonderful walk in the woods. Thank you for such a lovely experience on a cloudy OK morning.

Blessed be...

Doug Taron said...

I really wish I had been along for the ride this time. Your photos are so evocative of where you were, and the Neruda poem complements the images beautifully. The sphinx moth with the pipeviene swallowtails is a Nessus Sphinx (Amphion floridensis). Safe travels in Argentina.

Anonymous said...

Wow! Very moving, very perfect.

Mary said...

No one does this blog thing better than you, Tim. No one. Every word you write and every photo you share moves me. This one takes the prize.


Susan Gets Native said...

I adore you, Tim.


Kathie Brown said...

Tim, at first I thought you wrote this poem. It is so perfect for this post. Love the photos. I miss you already! You are such a gentleman and a friend. Too bad Doug wasn't along with us!

Dawn Fine said...

Absolutely Loverly!

Wonderful poem and photos...thanks
I am having such a wonderful time reading about the blogger get together in Va. Wish I was there with you all..

Anonymous said...

Amazing photos! Amazing, amazing. Totally lifted my spirit.

"I am so absorbed in the wonder of earth and the life upon it that I cannot think of heaven and angels." ~Pearl S. Buck

Thank you for sharing!

Julie Zickefoose said...

Completely convinced that Neruda's words were yours, I raced through this post, breathless. Then went back to savor the images. Perfection.

Mel said...

Hola Tim,
This is a beautiful post, words, pics and feelings match perfectly.
You did it again :)

p.s. Do you know if there is a version of this in Spanish??

Anonymous said...

Marvellous,simply,Marvellous...and wonderful. Thanks DavidM

Carolina Elizabeth said...

I have to work really hard at maintaining my green-eyed monster at bay when viewing your blog. Your photos are just absolutely beautiful. Thank you so much for continueing to share them with us!

Lana Gramlich said...

Great poem & I LOVE the red eft!

Jennifer Chronicles ( said...

Oh, TR! This is such a gift. It's like a devotional we can return to time and time again. What a timeless post - much appreciated.

You got kind of close to that centipede. You be careful out there in the big, bad world, because Lord knows we need more beautiful souls like you in Oklahoma!

Anonymous said...

I was just following along with the poem when the poet got upset. I laughed out loud truly and enjoyed every minute of it. Thanks.~~Dee

Urban Wilds said...

Great poem! I love birdwatching, but have never read that poem by Neruda.

Bill of the Birds said...

Just. Amazing.


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