Saturday, October 24, 2015

Nestlings and Feathers

When flipping through my summer sketchbook, I came upon my painting of a dead bluejay nestling—a colorful sack of guts. 
I then thought about those other intimate dramas of vulnerable birdlife, often witnessed through dew-soaked remains or simply 
a heap of fluttering feathers. So I chose to create a video using Dan’s poems “Maelstrom” and “Hawk Feather,” mingling our 
responses to those moving encounters.
                                                                                                   — Suzanne 

"Maelstrom" and "Hawk Feather"                                                                          


    (Or Dance of the Fallen Nestlings)

Splayed on the dark
   roadside by a wind
that whirled against
   our screen all night,
tossing sleep into
   strange streaks of
dream, and sucking
   three wet sacks of
bluejay life from
   hemlock boughs into
a ringlet of bright
   dancers, mouthing
cries of ecstasy
   above blue wing-
stubs nearly grasped
   like fragile hands,
still featherless,
   upon an urn in
late May’s icy

Hawk Feather

A tail feather
was all ... breeze-
spun to the wood-
pile.  Fawn-brown
ribbed with touches
of soft black —
stirring the ire
of our backyard
woods, like code,
that balmy noon.
Grackles, crows
shrieked down as
one from linden
boughs.  Demon
guardians of the
heartpulse buried
in each hidden
heap of fluff that
bright spring


“Maelstrom” and “Hawk Feather” first appeared 
in Puerto del Sol and Shenandoah, respectively. 
Then, together, in our collaborative chapbook, 
Field Notes (Rubicon press, Edmonton /
Alberta, Canada, 2007).


  1. The moving, insightful in observations and reactions experienced through the creations in this Red Eft are thought provoking and sensitivity inspiring. Incredible how the viscera of life are experienced by different people, inspiring insight, with our special delight being enhanced by the skill of those with unique perspectives.

  2. “Maelstrom” particularly moves me. I feel troubled when some tragedy in nature strikes me as strangely beautiful.

  3. ". . . guardians of the heartpulse . . . " -- that phrase keeps echoing in my mind. Really fine video.
    Geoffrey Monroe