felled on migration

the clouds in his eyes

Apparently the chestnut color in the tail feathers means this is a great-crested flycatcher and not an eastern wood-pewee as I’d initially assumed. A flycatcher regardless. [Edit] A crack birder is telling me it looks like a catbird to him. I didn’t even think of that! IDing dead birds turns out to be surprisingly difficult, without all the little mannerisms and noises to go off of.

I’m a big believer in “first thought, worst thought,” so I want to share my first attempt here because of how terrible it was:

killed by a fence the migrant flycatcher’s empty claws

So obvious, yet needlessly confusing (Killed how? Do small birds really have claws?). The need for an at least slightly more oblique relationship between image and text is ultimately what led me past my overly clever first impulses.

Deer fences do kill unwary birds who collide with them from time to time — a tragic consequence of trying to save the forest from a super-abundant herbivore in the absence of natural predation.

in the pines

my ration
of moonlight

I originally drafted the ku several weeks ago with a kind of maudlin first line. Revising it to accompany a photo I took yesterday, I thought of the old folk song covered by everyone from Leadbelly to Bill Monroe to Nirvana. I’m hoping it’s widely known enough that at least some readers would understand it as a reference to sleeping outdoors, much like the stock phrase (makurakotoba) “grass for a pillow” in classical Japanese poetry.

My girl, my girl, don’t lie to me
Tell me where did you sleep last night

In the pines, in the pines
Where the sun don’t ever shine
I would shiver the whole night through …