By Cristina A. Montes
For a few issues during the last season of eBon, I have been running this TweeterVerse column but I failed to give it a proper introduction. With the revival of eBon, I hope to rectify this oversight.
This column was born after I gave an online Kapihan session to WBCP on “Poetry and Birds”, which included a haiku writing workshop. The participants enjoyed so much that afterwards, NikDye messaged me and invited me to do a regular column in eBon about poetry and birds. I said “yes”.
Why poetry? Perhaps some of us have had traumatic experiences involving poetry in English class in school, where we had to memorize the terms referring to figures of speech, meter, and poetic forms and uncover hidden messages in poems in order to pass tests.
But while these things are part of poetry appreciation, poetry appreciation is, first and foremost, falling in love with words the way we bird watchers fell in love with birds at one point in our lives.
Haven’t you noticed that “birds” and “words” rhyme? There is probably no meaning to it, but what is certain is, birds have inspired a lot of poetry. Many poets have engaged in bird watching at one time or another, and vice versa. There is something about birds that trigger ideas, emotions, and insights that beg to be expressed through poetry – which is sometimes the only way to express what needs to be expressed.
For example, take this excerpt from the Wikipedia entry on “eagle”. Just the first paragraph says a lot about eagles:
“Eagles are large, powerfully built birds of prey, with heavy heads and beaks. Even the smallest eagles, such as the booted eagle (Aquila pennata), which is comparable in size to a common buzzard (Buteo buteo) or red-tailed hawk (B. jamaicensis), have relatively longer and more evenly broad wings, and more direct, faster flight – despite the reduced size of aerodynamic feathers. Most eagles are larger than any other raptors apart from some vultures. The smallest species of eagle is the South Nicobar serpent eagle (Spilornis klossi), at 450 g (1 lb) and 40 cm (16 in). The largest species are discussed below. Like all birds of prey, eagles have very large hooked beaks for ripping flesh from their prey, strong, muscular legs, and powerful talons.”
But does it capture the total experience of seeing an eagle? Hardly. To complete the picture, we need poetry, such as “The Eagle” by Alfred Lord Tennyson:
Notice the sheer power of this short poem which captures the majesty of the eagle in just two three-line stanzas and carefully chosen words.
In this column, I hope to share the feelings and insights that poets have expressed inspired by our feathered friends, to show how both birds and words enrich our lives in ways that nothing else can.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eagle, accessed on September 30, 2022
https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/45322/the-eagle-56d224c9a41d1, accessed on September 30, 2022