Monday, May 17, 2010

Nature Heartbreak Leads to Drafting

67ยบ ~ after last week's heat and thunderstorms, temperatures should return to the normal 70's and 80's this week ~ today, the sky is a thin white cotton sheet

As you may know, dear frequent reader, I have a view of the backyard from the desk of the Kangaroo, and sometimes I read on the deck. Both provide a great vantage for the unfolding natural dramas of our shaggy & wooded backyard. The new bird drama is that yesterday, a fledgling robin fell into the grass and couldn't fly back to the tree. We didn't see it fall and couldn't find the nest, so all we could do was watch it hop and wobble through the grass, making its slow, slow way back to the cover of the ivy at the base of the trees. The day before I'd seen what was probably its sibling, dead on our driveway. We've had some rough winds lately with our storms, and perhaps the nest was not protected enough to keep the young intact.

C. and I are horrible at accepting the laws of nature. Our hearts break and we are sad. We would make poor farmers, although we both come from farming families.

Yesterday, while I was reading on the deck, I had one eye on the poor robin. Gradually, this line came to me: "Cast out by rough winds and a roar louder than his father's voice." Ah, yes, I had in mind Shakespeare's "rough winds" because a FB friend had posted that line from the famous Sonnet 18 about a week ago. As I worked with some more lines, I knew I wasn't writing about the bird, but about a new saint for my series. This one is a boy, orphaned by a tornado, and is called "The Fledgling Saint." The comment I wanted to make about this draft was how what was happening around me made its way into the poem, but in a changed way. The image of the vulnerable baby bird seemed too cliche to work with at the time, but the idea of being shaken from the nest/house by an "act of God," that seemed like something out of which I could make a saint.

I only had a chance to jot down a few lines yesterday, but this morning, they were still vibrating with energy, so I returned to them. While the drafting was not smooth, I was able to conceive of what feels like a complete structure for the poem.

I don't have a strong track record of success with the drafts I write after a period of silence. Time will tell if this boy-saint survives the revision process. Regardless, it feels good to be back at the generative work.

7 comments:

Erin said...

I, too, am terrible at accepting the laws of nature. My uncle has a nest of owls in his backyard and one fell out. I worry about it daily...

Sandy Longhorn said...

Oh, an owl, that would be a big worry.

Jessie Carty said...

the first few things i right after a period of non-writing (i like how you call it silence!) are often quite bad. guess it is like riding a bike after a long absence, a bit wobbly at first but eventually you'll remember how :)

Sandy Longhorn said...

Jessie, great analogy to the bike riding!

Anne said...

Hey, just or the record, the rules from the Cornell Ornithology lab for baby birds on the ground. If they are feathered (fledglings), put them in a solid tree branch or nook near where they are found. Your hand smell will not drive the parents away, and once they hear it calling, the parents will come continue to feed the baby bird. I've done this a couple of times, and it worked both times.

If they don't have feathers, they don't really have much of a chance so either leave them to their fate, or put them somewhere where they can quietly die.

I hate having to do the second, but did it recently--- baby blue jay. Sadly, I was not able to turn it's death into anything yet, although I took a picture of it as it lay there dying. Possibly morbid, but I couldn't help it.

Anne said...

Hey, just or the record, the rules from the Cornell Ornithology lab for baby birds on the ground. If they are feathered (fledglings), put them in a solid tree branch or nook near where they are found. Your hand smell will not drive the parents away, and once they hear it calling, the parents will come continue to feed the baby bird. I've done this a couple of times, and it worked both times.

If they don't have feathers, they don't really have much of a chance so either leave them to their fate, or put them somewhere where they can quietly die.

I hate having to do the second, but did it recently--- baby blue jay. Sadly, I was not able to turn it's death into anything yet, although I took a picture of it as it lay there dying. Possibly morbid, but I couldn't help it.

Sandy Longhorn said...

thanks, Anne!