Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Bells / Birds

The Godwits have just arrived back from their winter sojourn in sunny Alaska. Each year they do this, flying 11,000km across the vast Pacific Ocean to spend summer here in the southern lands, until March. They're early this year, by a couple of weeks, but just like evey other year, their arrival is marked with a bell-ringing ritual. The appearance of the first birds on the estuary is announced by the ringing of the bells at Christchurch Cathedral for 30 minutes, a herald of spring, and of ritual of welcome, after their non-stop flight of five to six days, the longest of any bird of passage.

Godwit Bells: Nga Kuaka Hokinga Mai

Mariners of deep space

deep space

feathered with hunger
you all


and fall

with grace
in your blasted flock that faster
and faster

fasted so long//traditional signs of
my NAC DC-3:ah

kuaka! kuaka! kuaka!

potent as Hotere brushing the air
painting the shore

with the landing of feathers
of hair

on blood. & for time
travellers space unravellers hero

they rang the bells
Cathedral bells bells of Old Babel

they rang for you
home! home! brave on the the
estuary shivering

all but
but home.

Jeffrey Paparoa Holman


billoo said...

Jacky, was reminded of this on reading your post:

see the fish
in the sea
deep down
deep down

grey, wild hunger
of the shark

there are mountains
in the sea;
oh, deep down
deep down

--W. Bronk

btw, there was a great article on Sibelius and birds returning home in the new yorker. I think I've posted on it somewhere but can't remember.



jacky bowring said...

Thanks Billoo - wonderful echoes! In sky and sea. I must try and find the Sibelius story, it sounds like a fine resonance for godwits and their own musical moments.
... j...

billoo said...

jacky, couldn't find it but some excerpts are here

jacky bowring said...

Marvellous, thanks! Godwits, Swans, and Wild Geese, the swirling backdrop of Sibelius, and somewhere in the distance, the bells a-ringing!