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"Awen yn codi o'r cudd ac yn cydio'r cwbl"
- Waldo Williams
(Awen arising from hiding and everything binding)



Goldfinches



Charmed by goldfinches, though aggressive they are
To each other at the seed tray
Rising in a spinning squabble
Of red and yellow before they settle
To wait their turn as others haggle.

2 comments:

  1. Another interesting poem indeed. Some charming imagery, “spinning squabble,” stands out in that regard. The poem’s theme seems unambiguous enough as an observation of nature, but because of that apparent simplicity I find the final line is my favorite, as the description of birds “waiting their turn as others haggle” left me pondering. It’s not clear to me who the hagglers are; haggling seems like an anachronism. I thought perhaps that the line was making a comparison of wild nature to the more historical realities of man, who had to barter amongst themselves for goods and services. Then I wondered if the hagglers could be other goldfinches, or other animals entirely, but what would they barter with? Or the word haggle is a semi-rhyme with the word squabble. I’m stumped, but that’s normal for me. Pro-tip: I’ve found that I can conceal my habitual state of confusion behind a mask of gruff surliness.

    I do enjoy trying to decipher these poems, looking forward to more!

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    Replies
    1. You seem to be quite acute in picking up possibly questionable elements in spite of saying you are confused. I thought 'haggle' was a risk, but took it anyway. You are right to say that the half-rhyme was part of the attraction of the word. The reference is entirely to goldfinches rather than an attempt at wider significance. Two goldfinches competing for a place at the bird table spiral off, while others compete for a chance to take their place. 'Haggle' might not be the best word for this, but they did seem too be negotiating a place, and, although the meaning has shifted, 'haggle' is in origin the same word as 'hackle' (and they did have their hackles up!) and closely related to 'heckle', which some who could not get a place at the bird feeder certainly looked like they were doing from the sidelines.

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