lördag 12 juli 2014

Poetry of Blue Birds

Det blev lördagspublicering för fågeldikterna igen. Den här gången handlar de om pelikanfamiljen och sulor.

Först ut en humoristisk dikt om pelikanen.

The Beak of the Pelican, by J. Patrick Lewis (f. 1942)
(From A Hippopotamusn’t. New York : Dial Press, 1990.)

She looks for wiggly fishes,
At least so it appears,
To stuff inside the suitcase
That's swinging from her ears.

And though she's very graceful
When flying round and round,
How does she get that faceful
Of luggage off the ground?


Vi fortsätter med den ökända fregattfågeln. Ryktet (och sitt namn) har fågeln fått för att den rövar föda från andra fåglar istället för att fånga egen. Deras fångsteknik är annars rätt begränsad och kräver flera år för att lära sig. Walt Whitman har diktat så här om fregattfågeln. Den har ett smeknamn "The man-of-war bird" i engelskspråkiga länder.

The Man-of-war bird, by Walt Whitman (1819-1892)
(From Leaves of Grass, Boston, J. R. Osgood and company, 1881-82.)

THOU who hast slept all night upon the storm,
Waking renew'd on thy prodigious pinions,
(Burst the wild storm! above it thou ascendedst,
And restedst on the sky, thy slave that cradled thee;)
Now, a blue point, far, far in heaven floating,
As, to the light emerging, here on deck I watch thee,
(Myself a speck, a point on the world's floating vast.)

Far, far at sea,
After the night's fierce drifts have strewn the shore
      with wrecks,
With reappearing day, as now, so happy and serene,
The rosy and elastic dawn, the flashing sun,
The limpid spread of air cerulean,
Thou also reappearest.

Thou, born to match the gale! (thou art all wings;)
To cope with heaven and earth, and sea and hurricane;
Thou ship of air that never furl'st thy sails,
Days, even weeks, untired and onward, through
      spaces,—realms gyrating.
At dusk that look'st on Senegal, at morn America,
That sport'st amid the lightning-flash and thunder-
In them—in thy experiences—hadst thou my soul,
What joys! what joys were thine!


Dagens fågeltrio avslutas med havssulan, som kallas Booby på engelska. Dikten handlar om den rara blåfotade sulan som samlar på blå föremål åt sin partner.

The Blue Booby, by James Tate (f. 1943)
(From Selected poems. Middletown, Conn. : Wesleyan University Press ; 1991.)

The blue booby lives
on the bare rocks
of Galápagos
and fears nothing.
It is a simple life:
they live on fish,
and there are few predators.   
Also, the males do not   
make fools of themselves   
chasing after the young   
ladies. Rather,
they gather the blue
objects of the world
and construct from them

a nest—an occasional   
Gaulois package,
a string of beads,
a piece of cloth from   
a sailor’s suit. This   
replaces the need for   
dazzling plumage;   
in fact, in the past   
fifty million years
the male has grown
considerably duller,   
nor can he sing well.   
The female, though,

asks little of him—
the blue satisfies her   
completely, has   
a magical effect
on her. When she returns
from her day of
gossip and shopping,
she sees he has found her   
a new shred of blue foil:   
for this she rewards him   
with her dark body,
the stars turn slowly
in the blue foil beside them   
like the eyes of a mild savior.

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