Wednesday, February 22, 2012

The Beauty of Inflections

This post is an updated re-post from 2010, but puts well what I felt when I heard the blackbirds singing last night.

I was doing something as banal as putting a dirty nappy in the wheelie bin last night when my heart and stomach lurched as the sound of a blackbird filled the air. It is only when I hear the melodies after an absence of some time that I realise how much they are a part of the excitement of the renewing year.
Life can be measured by the singing of blackbirds; in February, they start to sing in the darkness of early spring mornings and evenings. As plants start to burst into life, the singing swells up to a crescendo in late spring and early summer. As my birthday approaches, the frequency of the sweet and mellow song starts to decline and on that day I know that the days are getting shorter and winter is on its way. A melancholic day.
Poets seem to have a soft spot for the bird, for example Wallace Stevens (from whom the title of this post comes), Tennyson, and Seamus Heaney.
So, last night I had a burst of spring time, a glimpse of lengthening days and the sound of hope. Perhaps you should too.


Ms B said...

I too love the blackbird. It is the song most common in my urban garden. I also love to hear them in the winter, frequently tucked in the pyracantha in the front garden, burbling (apparently it is properly called the sub-song).

We were lucky last year in that 2 broods of baby blackbirds were hatched & fledged in our wisteria despite our cat & the one next door.

Belated congrats on your own hatching.

Brenda said...

Lovely post (beautiful title)- I feel the same way about the appearance of the whip-poor-will, lovely sounds that all of sudden join in with the chickadees - I hope they are saying spring is here!


Lucy Corrander Now in Halifax! said...

I'm not always happy to hear a blackbird. The song hurts -especially in the morning and the evening. I don't know why but it has always made me feel desperately homesick and sad.

scottweberpdx said...

I agree...lovely post...I had that same sudden rush of emotion a few days ago, when I realized it was still light when I got home from work. Not quite daylight...but just a bit of lingering dusk...still, better than getting home when it's pitch-black. It's those little victories that keep us going :-)

Helen said...

I didn't know this about blackbirds. But it now makes sense of Stevens' lines: The river is flowing./The blackbird must be flying. Great poem and a post worth repeating.

Nutty Gnome said...

The blackbirds have been singing away happily round here too - and I have the added joy of hearing them properly in both ears for the first time in about...oooh, 40 years! I've finally got a hearing aid and the birds now sing at my left hand side...happy, happy, happy!

Hope Thomas is continuing to do well :)

HappyMouffetard said...

Ms B - thank you :)

Brenda - chickadees and whip-poor-wills sounds so much more exotic than blackbirds, but I don't think I'd trade them for the sound of a blackbird.

Scott - absolutely. It is almost light when I get up now 9though I get up a little later these days, because of Thomas) and it is a wonderful feeling to be reaching spring.

Lucy - I understand what you mean. Once summer hits 21st June, the sound of the blackbird makes me sad for the coming winter. But it makes me appreciate it all the more.

Helen - thanks for your comment, and that is a good line.

NG - it must be great to hear them well again :-) Thomas is doing very well, thank you.

One advantage to the early morning feed with Thomas is that I can hear the blackbirds singing at 3:30am - not something I've done for quite a while, since I had a job that involved an early start once a week.