WriteOut Blackbird

Daily Create, Writeout, October Doodle, and Poetry

Lately on our walks we’ve noticed the silence — the lack of birdsong in the park and near the lake, where once the air was filled with their song. We’ve notice less and less with each passing season, and it worries us that the birds are lost, gone. Today’s poem reminds us of this.

Blackbird Gone

We’ve noticed
in our hiking
songs unheard,
once striking,
now with silence-
empty coulee-
Gone the blackbirds
from the tules.

10.12.22 287.365.22

So the lovely Audubon Birdsong Project is an important one– saving the songs and the words and music about our flying friends. For the Daily Create [ #clmooc #DS106  @ds106dc   #tdc3925  #writeout #warmup4art #octoberdoodle ] we were to listen to and create from one of the songs. I chose Birdsong Vol V Track 3–St Kevin and the Blackbird by Seamus Heaney and Read by… Liam Neeson. St Kevin is often depicted with a blackbird in his hand, so that’s the picture I illustrated.

illustration of red-winged blackbird  held in a hand
on Flickr

For information on red-winged blackbirds, see the Audubon field guide.

I don’t have a Spotify account so I couldn’t listen to the entire recording. I did, however, find the legend: St Kevin and the Blackbird. I also found the poem, Seamus Heaney’s interpretation of the story and his reading, plus here: Poetry By Heart with a reflection on the poem. I love this video of Seamus Heaney reading the poem, because he stops in a mistake in elocution and re-reads– something we all do, from time to time.

And, of course, I must share prior recordings of our own blackbirds on Banks Lake.

Red Winged Blackbirds on Banks Lake

Blackbirds fly

Banks Lake Quiet

I’ve written many poems over the years about the blackbirds; find them here. And a little index of a few of them:

And– the wonderful songs by artists:

Yusuf / Cat Stevens: Morning Has Broken

Paul McCartney Blackbird

This post is cross posted on two other blogs: https://askwhatelse.blog and Sheri42.net

This post is part of the October WRITEOUT adventure of the National Writing Project and the National Park Service — a STEAM-powered Write Out 2022. Organized as a public invitation to get out and create, supported by a series of free online activities, Write Out invites educators, students, and families to explore national parks and other public spaces. The goal is to connect and learn through place-based writing and sharing. Learn more and sign up: https://writeout.nwp.org