|Kingfisher male, Folly Cove|
|Kingfisher female, Halibut Point|
In its plumage and brassy voice the kingfisher resembles a blue jay re-molded into a square, its crest teased into a shag. Its stretched bill, cupped wings, and truncated tail all suit its adroitness to hover and plunge into the quarry.
The kingfisher rises out of the black wave
like a blue flower, in his beak
he carries a silver leaf. I think this is
the prettiest world--so long as you don't mind
a little dying, how could there be a day in your whole life
that doesn't have its splash of happiness?
There are more fish than there are leaves
on a thousand trees, and anyway the kingfisher
wasn't born to think about it, or anything else.
When the wave snaps shut over his blue head, the water
remains water--hunger is the only story
he has ever heard in his life that he could believe.
I don't say he's right. Neither
do I say he's wrong. Religiously he swallows the silver leaf
with its broken red river, and with a rough and easy cry
I couldn't rouse out of my thoughtful body
if my life depended on it, he swings back
over the bright sea to do the same thing, to do it
(as I long to do something, anything) perfectly.
* * *
In a fortuitous moment this afternoon I encountered Dianne Sampson at the Cape Ann Museum carrying a sculpture of her favorite bird, the kingfisher.
Kingfisher, commissioned by Dianne Sampson|
Brad Story, sculptor
Erik Ronnberg photo