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Wednesday, April 15, 2015

National Poetry Month

A murmuration of starlings!  

I've seen other amazing videos like this, but since seeing the birds always reminds me of John Updike's poem, and it is National Poetry Month...

The Great Scarf of Birds -- John Updike

Playing golf on Cape Ann in October,
I saw something to remember.

Ripe apples were caught like red fish in the nets
of their branches. The maples
were colored like apples,
part orange and red, part green.
The elms, already transparent trees,
seemed swaying vases full of sky. The sky
was dramatic with great straggling V’s
of geese streaming south, mare’s-tails above them.
Their trumpeting made us look up and around.
The course sloped into salt marshes,
and this seemed to cause the abundance of birds.

As if out of the Bible
or science fiction,
a cloud appeared, a cloud of dots
like iron fillings which a magnet
underneath the paper undulates.
It dartingly darkened in spots,
paled, pulsed, compressed, distended, yet
held an identity firm: a flock
of starlings, as much one thing as a rock.
One will moved above the tress
the liquid and hesitant drift.

Come nearer, it became less marvelous,
more legible, and merely huge.
“I never saw so many birds!” my friend exclaimed.
We returned our eyes to the game.
Later, as Lot’s wife must have done,
in a pause of walking, not thinking
of calling down a consequence,
I lazily looked around.

The rise of the fairway above was tinted,
so evenly tinted I might not have noticed
but that at the rim of the delicate shadow
the starlings were thicker and outlined the flock
as an inkstain in drying pronounces its edges.
The gradual rise of green was vastly covered;
I had thought nothing in nature could be so broad
but grass.

And as
I watched, one bird,
prompted by accident or will to lead,
ceased resting; and, lifting in a casual billow,
the flock ascended as a lady’s scarf,
transparent, of gray, might be twitched
by one corner, drawn upward and then,
decided against, negligently tossed toward a chair:
the southward cloud withdrew into the air.

Long had it been since my heart
Had been lifted as it was by the lifting of that great

And another video of a starling murmuration....

I'm continuing to work on fidget quilts.  I'm hand quilting # 8, which is taking forever, but these quilts are as much for me as for the eventual recipients, so I do what I enjoy doing.

Fidget quilt #7 was machine quilted and took little time and saved my finger tips from the frequent punctures of hand quilting.  Raw edges will ravel and add a little texture as well.
Some manipulative details


  1. Love the colours and the designs of the quilts!

  2. Thanks, Melody! I've washed the scrap quilt now and trimmed wild threads from raw edges. And I've almost finished the next one!

  3. A murmuration of starlings... Amazing!

    How they "do it" ... can be described... but to just see it, is amazing...

    "Siatica" Tessa

  4. It is amazing to watch, isn't it? And isn't "murmuration" an apt name for the sight!

  5. I've seen that video before and was still amazed as I watched it again!

    Beautiful, beautiful colors in your new fidget quilt!

    1. I've watched several of these videos over the years and almost always watch them twice! Thanks for the sweet comment about my little quilt, Les.