April 27, 2011


Cambodian Dancers, by Auguste Rodin

Birds begin their calls to praise.
And they are right. We stop and listen.
(We, behind masks and in costumes!)
What are they saying? A little report,

a little sorrow and a lot of promise
that chips away at the half-locked future.
And in between we can hear the silence
they break—now healing to our ears.

Uncollected Poems


  1. What would the world be like without birds and birdsong? A poor place - as I said in my post of 8 April.

  2. The birds sing their praise in all honesty, truthfully. We, on the other hand hide our praise under appearances, as we want to present ourselves to our fellows, fearful of our Reality, which is Truth and beauty.

    And the half locked future, not locked at all, but open to any mind which has changed. The beauty of a birdsong can remind us of that if we but listen with an open mind and a generous heart.

  3. i woke to birdsong this morning as i am hopeful did most people in the western hemisphere. their happy, protective, territorial songs welcome back the sun, describe their wishes as plainly as can be, and bring life to the air. steven

  4. This is the season for bird songs. The issue is to open your ears and really listen, not always easy in a big city, especially when it comes to ejoying the silence in between. Fortunately there are some parks.

    You know how much I admire these Rodin drawings / aquarelles. At present there are some tens of them shown at the Matisse museum at Cateau-Cambrésis in the north of France.

    They fit so perfectly here on your blog, considering how Rilke considered them to be the best of Rodin.

  5. Lovely Rodin watercolors.

    Noteworthy that what's healing here is the silence between the birdsong, not the birdsong itself.

    1. The emphasis on silence is beautiful. The few times I have gone bird watching, I have felt that the walking, watching and listening are the real experience. Actually seeing a few birds is a bonus. The journey is the part that leaves me with such peace.

  6. The notion of birdsong chipping away 'at the half-locked future' is wondrously evocative. So, too, the idea that it is the broken silence that heals our ears, as Maureen has observed. Listening to the silence the birds break as the best way of being attentive and open to their song; is that where the healing comes from?

  7. Birds inspire me, for many reasons. When I go out in the meadow and walk, sometimes they are all singing or chattering at once. Some days, they are silent. As a person who writes and thinks of birdsong as a calling, I deeply know that silence is where it begins, and continues, and stops and starts again. It really is something the way he has phrased those words, "the silence they break." The birdsong would be nothing without what has just been before, silently, and is still there in expanse all around, waiting, when it's broken.

  8. I've been thinking about birdsong a lot lately and this post touched my heart. Lovely.

  9. This reminds me of Wallace Stevens in Thirteen Ways to Look at a Blackbird:

    I do not know which to prefer,
    The beauty of inflections
    Or the beauty of innuendoes.
    The blackbird whistling,
    Or just after.


"Everything is blooming most recklessly; if it were voices instead of colors, there would be an unbelievable shrieking into the heart of the night."

~ Rainer Maria Rilke

Go ahead, bloom recklessly!