Monday 13 May 2013

An Avian Taxonomy

The magpies call, outside the window: a death rattle inside the skull.

An emissary of death even in avian lore, let alone human. If, as has been reckoned, magpies have the capacity for grief- therefore perhaps the capacity for ritual- might they also possess yet other powers? Enact rites our occluded minds fail to comprehend?   

Let alone human. Let alone, human. Let us enter the minds of mags, crows, ‘daws. Transpierce their skulls so their deaths, lives and secrets may rattle the louder inside our own. 
The cackle of the jackdaw, betraying runes of rut so unseemly a libertine would blush. With no moral code to transgress, the ‘daw’s perversity knows no bounds. Would you like to know more? This is neither the time nor the place. Oh, just this tidbit then: there is a single erogenous feather about the male ‘daw’s nether quarters. Locating this feather, the female plucks and the male, sprouting female organs, seeds itself purely for pleasure.        

 By the by. A green-eyed lady, proprietor of a shop brimming over only with woollen things, kept a ‘daw about her person. By day it would perch upon her shoulder, whispering its filthy secrets. Her jumpers a mess of dandruff and dejecta, she would let it its freedom at night, only for it to return ever-faithful in the morning. The green-eyed lady wondered sometimes as to the ‘daw’s twilit whereabouts. She need have feared. Taking woollens from her shop, the jackdaw had secreted these near the scenes of murders far and wide across the land. One day, there was a knock at the green-eyed ladies door...
Crows, shape-shifters all...From egghatch they lay claim to a preternatural grasp of language. Not only of its own kind, nor solely its avian fellows, but of every species it espies. In turn, this gift allows the crow, through incantation, to transmute at will. It thus passes unnoticed among our kind. Look about you: this or that person may be harbouring crow’s wings, and you will never know. 

Seven’s the De’il his ane sel’: In the famine months, the magpies gather together in number. This is not, as is often supposed, a prospective meeting for marriage. Rather, it foretells an untimely ushering into the next life of one unfortunate among them. But not before a feast in their honour: the horror being for this unfortunate one, that he or she will be forced to feast upon themselves. The death rattle of magpies in unison: cruel, necrotic call into the hereafter.   

Barum ware
Spring 2013