Two weeks ago, a ring-necked dove flew into my window and died.  The imprint of it’s wings and body are still on the glass, along with a couple of feathers.  I moved it under the tree.  Over the weeks I have observed another ring-necked dove right beside it, sometimes just sitting, sometimes flapping it’s wings or pecking at it.  I know that doves mate for life, so assume that this is the bird’s partner.

People are often disparaging about birds – think ‘birdbrain’ – and in particular, pigeons and doves are ridiculed because they have successfully carved out an existence alongside humans, despite the ravages to the planet and millions of other species.

Watching this scene made me sad. It also made me think about how astonishing life is.  How little we understand. How everything is connected and part of everything else.  As Paul pointed out – the Buddhist concept of no-self and emptiness – nothing has an inherent essence, everything is made up of, and is dependent on, other things.

Then I read a passage in a story by Jorge Luis Borges and this poem popped into my head.  I wrote it down while watching the birds bathe, flit and feast in the garden around the dead dove.

a bird bath

What’s in a word?


Inside a bird

is a grasshopper

and a worm

or a seed

and ancestors

all filled with

sun and soil

stardust and stories


the lego of life

don’t say bird lightly

the entire universe echoes through this single syllable

a Mpop bird on pole

19 Comments Add yours

  1. Christeen says:

    Dear Friend, this is a truly beautiful poem, I fully relate… So pleased you are exploring this form of writing and look forward to reading more! xxx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much Christeen for the affirmation. I do like this newly discovered form of writing – especially because it is so quick! xxx

      Liked by 1 person

  2. meriel mitchell says:

    such an interesting comment abd beautiful observation Nikki – I am sure Birdlife South Africa will appreciate the last sentence of the quoted poem ….

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Meriel. well you are welcome to share with BLSA if you would like to. xxx


  3. Erica says:

    That is just so beautiful. Thank you.


    Liked by 1 person

    1. I am glad you enjoyed it Erica. Still watching the decomposing bird – slow in the cold. perhaps another poem will pop up out of that!


  4. Osyth says:

    This is absolutely beautiful. The tragic tale of the dove, the forlorn mourning of the mate, your empathy with it and your thought process through the wisdom of the Buddha to that lovely poem. We absolutely should not forget that we are in essence all joined and in not forgetting we should observe nature with eyes that do not disparage but which are open to learning from all the creatures with whom we share this earth place.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Osyth, for your thoughtful comment. Yes, little reminders about our connectedness are always a good thing.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. hazel says:

    what a lovely blog. i love birds and stardust. touched me!


    1. Why thank you Hazel, I am pleased to hear that.


  6. naturebackin says:

    This is sad Nikki, and from what I have witnessed, I also believe that doves (and other birds and animals) grieve and have the capacity to mourn. It is all too easy to disparage where we have no insight or when we are ignorant. We need to sit quietly and watch a lot more than we do. As you have. Your poem (part of the dove’s legacy) reaches far and deep.


    1. Thank you Carol – you inspire me with your careful and considered observations of Nature.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. naturebackin says:

        Thank you Nikki 🙂


  7. Lorraine Greyvenstein says:

    I love your poem thank you for sharing.


    1. Thank you Lorraine, kind of you to post a comment.


  8. Mrs. C. J. King says:

    Dear Nikki,

    Thank you for that; I always enjoy reading your posts. When an otter took my Goose, who was sitting on 9 eggs, the Gander sailed up and down the dam, opposite where she had been nesting, crying for days on end; it made me so sad. Love from, Chris >


    1. Oh Chris, that is such a sad story. Hope all is well beside the dam on these frosty mornings. x


  9. Kim Ward says:

    Oh wow – thanks for sharing this. I love the poem and it is lovely to imagine the story not ending as we stooped to look down at the dove. A good reminder how everything is part of an ongoing interconnected story.
    Did you read it last night at Steampunk? Sorry couldn’t make yesterday – busy time with school holidays and lots of work. I am having fun circulating the adverts we developed. Once again thanks for lifting the social media and adverts to a new level. Now just to tie Darryl down with a programme – in the draft Steampunk poets were down for late Saturday afternoon to melt into evening programme of music and author chatting over snacks…
    Will keep you posted, but just so you know the poets are definitely in.


    1. Fabulous Kim. Yes, I read it at Steampunk last night and it was well received. x


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