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

am (23/June/18)

not one but two, not two but three, three names I have, maybe four, could there be more, how can I be sure I wondered now and then before, not one but two but three but four and maybe more… there’s the name I never was so instead became the compromise I am… there’s the nicknames that’ve dogged me through the years though most left littering the verges of a past misspent, not many though they are, they are and have been and will ever be until…there’s my pseudonyms, surely not my names at all except they are too, become integral to the time, the place, the when and where behind which lay this very same face, some young, some old, some older still onward into footsteps taken… there’s two for my first and not three as some assume and much to my chagrin some do… but am I my name or is my name me?… have I become it or have I made it fit me like a glove, let it burrow into me, wound itself inextricably until the seam is near-invisible, does it grow and age and die just the same as I do?… does it stumble awkwardly from my mouth or from the lips of others?… when I hear it, even after all these years of being me and still am me, it still sounds strange… how often do I use it, this thing, this tag, this label, this flag, what is mine, my own, me, my name?… rarely… and to this day still feels strange to hear myself say it, something I avoid at all costs when possible… am I am who I am who my name tells me I am?… my name, names, the one, the two, the three, the four and even maybe more where the bones are buried underneath the floor…

© 2018 robert greig

aahrrrr (24/Jan/18)

… and the day begins…

with the wind that more than shakes the barley-oh… flattens it I would say in a way not dissimilar to how an detachment of Cornish leprechauns might leave it after raving to kazoo version of Black Sabbath songs…… they could call it St Pirans Dance!…… I wonder if Cornish leprechauns would look different from Irish ones…. they couldn’t be green of course though and might be dressed more like tin-miners….. I’m sure they’d be more than capable of leaving a field of barley worse in a state of disarray should they wish too…… I’m not sure if this storm has a name, which is odd, like the last one seemed to ticked all the boxes from the feel of it, and I’m sure the flattened barley would agree……

… I have a name, though not an interesting one, nor one with an interesting story… my name was a compromise, there, that’s it, not named after a song or a famous person, an astronomical event, a mythical creature or even a saint, nope… I’m a compromise… I wonder if that means I don’t matter or the name doesn’t?… but then again, am I my name or is my name me?…… are we inextricably-bound of can I just say I’m not that anymore, instead I’m going to be… whatever…… or I could become initials, or a single initial… R… which sound like a growl or the sound a cartoon pirate makes, which itself always seems to be a south-west English accent, i.e. Cornish… and here I am back with the leprechauns… unless I drop the ‘ah’ sound from the beginning when saying it and just say ‘rrrrr’, but that then sounds like I’m strangling a Mongolian throat singer……

… I kept the window open a crack again last night, not too much, it was barley-flattening wind after all, if I don’t feel that connection to the outside then it feels like I don’t exist… whatever the weather… if my name wasn’t my name would I exist if I didn’t have a name at all?… people are scared of things without names so they name them just in case with the first thing that comes into their heads usually, like with many folk music tunes, traditionally called the first thing that you see or enters your brain when you first play it……

© 2018 robert greig