beady blue eyes (12/Sept/18)

like swallows or starlings the jackdaws balance on power line in uncomfortable rows as though it’s not quite in their nature to do so, but unlike the swallows and starlings they’re envious of their aerial attires and skill in the air, swallows the acrobats, starlings the dazzlers, both unaware of banquet of envious eyes looking on and wishing, wishing, why they weren’t born a swallow or starling and instead just a jackdaw, the colours of shadows and all too soon sporting tinges of grey as though aging before ones time, though their beady blue eyes are a sight to behold as little they know that blue eyes are rare in this avian world, almost but not quite unique… and they balance quiet well but not quite as deft as swallows or starlings with their delicate claws as opposed to the slightly more wrinkly digits adorning the jackdaws legs… the jack’ is an envious bird as can be heard in their infernal squabbling during the day they crackle away and come the night the gossip on every complaint while they wait and they wait and they wait balanced on power lines, waiting and waiting some more until… well, until none of them knows what happens and drives them back on the air in a race to the rookery (see, it’s not even named after them… o the poor jackdaw!) to play musical branches once again a free-for-all frenzy and made even worse when a headwind’s determined to foil their best-laid plotting and scheming, most unlike the swallows and starlings to whom the jackdaws see have got their collective acts together… or have they?… the swallow who constantly worries about eating enough and not eating too much for a thousand and more miles of migration south through paroxysms of weather, sportsmen with guns, wind determined to blow them off course…. and the starling, safer in numbers than out of their own and suitably small for a sparrowhawks beak, or even a kestrels, a buzzards, a magpie, maybe an occasional crow and even when they find succour among the tall reeds in their hundreds and thousands there’s weasels and ferrets, foxes and cats and even a bittern or heron ready to gobble them up so…… so the jackdaws look on unaware that maybe, just maybe it could be much worse……… but, but why couldn’t they have a nice song to sing!

© 2018 robert greig

jackdaws in the mist (22/August/18)

jackdaws in the mist…. probably for most not quite as romantic-sounding a gorillas but for me all the better… gorillas all good and well and to us exotic but jackdaws, now there’s something I can relate too, common as you like and pretty much everywhere here which is why most people neglect to notice them, even those few who can tell them apart from any other black bird and at best lump all such birds together as crows… their name itself most evocative and poetic methinks, as is even its scientific name, Corvus monedula, which rolls of the tongue and lips like a song-in-waiting…… etymologically a ‘daw’ is tricky but not impossible to glean a sense, usually referring to a small bird, of high- or proto-Germanic origin, perhaps, though no one will stake their reputation on it, more usually a small dark-coloured bird as in black, and may be used referring to starlings or blackbirds though none of these related in any way other than being birds… another sense of the word is onomatopoeic , a word itself a nightmare to spell, in part its call could be said to contain “daw!”, almost… but what about ‘jack’?… I’m glad you asked, or not, as I have no definitive answers… again it could be, and here comes that word again, onomatopoeic, or at least in part, as even more clearly than daw the sound of “jack!” or “chtak!” can be heard in their tuneless cry, incessantly so sometimes, and it’s far from unusual for us to make a name from a sound for something we may previously not had one…… not to mention, Jack itself being intriguing, commonly in human-speak as an affectionate or shortening for John, which in itself seems a little bizarre to my mind, how one gets from John to Jack despite the same initial is puzzling, but it’s here I find a compelling clue as the word, or name jack in English is usually used in context of labour, or labourer, of work, whether it’s mechanical or manual… where it appears its usually suggestive or indicative of such… and this is what I find compelling, as jackdaws, common among the Crow family as it happens, have been known and seen to manipulate objects to their own ends, thus using them as tools, or investigating them as such and are known to be very cunning in figuring their way around things and using foreign objects to achieve their aims, thus, could be seen in their way as industrious and using tools… hence ‘jack’… the small black labourer bird/crow( who happens to go chtak!)…… so yes, give me jackdaws over gorillas any day……

© 2018 robert greig

wreckers and jackdaws (18/July/18)

he watches one of the world’s greatest natural wonders, clouds, in a very loose sense, of g and dealing the air and its unpredictable currents trying their best to be Starlings but they are Jackdaws and know it, and feel it as they are tossed and troughed in random ways that they try their best too look deliberate while trying to stick as close to each other which rarely but sometimes works… but still… most impressive he thinks, as he couldn’t do it anyway not being able to fly… an largely ignored natural wonder as Jackdaws, well, they are just crows aren’t they, common as muck, and nobody cares about them…… he watches and writes, and writes, and writes even more about them and their ways and their wiles but always with an inkling of guilt, that his efforts and focus should be on more pressing matters of the day such as the underlying screams of a world so intent on setting the controls for the heart of the sun with oblivious abandon… a world and its constituents parts laughingly called ‘countries’ sliced and diced by invisible lines, tears, lacerations, incisions increasingly ruled by narcissists, zealots, racists, megalomaniacs, sociopaths, psychopaths, headless chickens spewing delusional grandeur and Right-wing hypocrisy which may be in part why he always wished he was born left-handed when such an innocent innocuous word as ‘right’ get hijacked in such a way, bruised and abused and poisoned with rhetoric unintelligently designed to inspire intolerance, bitterness, violence and fear… they even have flags to wave, or to set alight, depending on which side of the splintered divide you tether your ghettoised hate… just like the wreckers who lure their prey onto the rocks while storm after storm batters sails and hulls, distracting attention, world leaders with lanterns stand on the cliffs waving pretensions of guidance, safe passage, undercover of night hiding malicious intent to scupper and loot and leave the rest for drowned, “collateral damage”, discarded as flotsam…… and all he can do is write about Jackdaws, sit under their wings bothered by wind and watch, and watch…. he feels the weight of yet another shovel of soil………

© 2018 robert greig