Saturday, January 04, 2014

Mrs. Mallard seems to know who she is

and what she should be doing, I have admired her self-possession as well as her plumage, and her lovely bright orange feet, which show up so beautifully against the snow. I'm missing my Idaho ducks already and plan to go on a birdwalk tomorrow at a local creek and pond with the Santa Clara County Audubon group to see what I can spot here in California. My front yard towhee seems to be in daily residence, also.  

I'm missing my friend, Pat Shelley who died in 1997, soon after the death 
of my beloved brother, Robert. That was a rough time for me.

Pat Shelley sometimes had to work hard for self-confidence, but she was always honest and forthright about her feelings. She was pretty attentive to her plumage, too, and always fixed herself up prettily.

From her book, The Rice Papers, Saratoga Trunk, 1992,
here are two of her short poems. 

Salt cellars on the table
shaped like birds remind me 
it will rain---for the mallards
made a great to-do this morning
and I have been weeping

(page 8)

This sparrow
is indeed a plain bird
alone on the telephone wire
casting eager glances
She reminds me of myself

(page 15)

It interests me to see that in this economical form, Pat chooses to begin with the conventional capital letter, but feels no need of the period, even when she begins another sentence before the end of the poem.

This strikes me as a good set of choices.

I must go now and do my small watercolor. 
I hope to make one I like better than last night's.

Sleep well, and dream of birds, their bright wings and soft feathers.

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