We might not always realize it, but our lives are intertwined with the lives of birds. Sometimes in subtle ways, and sometimes directly. Poet Kevin Black explores that relationship in A Swath Uncut, about a Canadian farmer who once depended on the geese he could hunt to feed his family, and who went out of his way to repay the favor.
The Swath Uncut
By Dominic Black
This is BirdNote.
We might not always realize it, but our lives are intertwined with the lives of birds. Sometimes in subtle ways, sometimes directly. Poet Kevin Black explores that relationship in his piece A Swath Uncut.
The reader is Dominic Black.
The Swath Uncut
With a sharp blade, and sharper eye,
Alf split the field
the way he combed his hair,
with a singled swath down the middle.
Alf, who cared about appearances,
with perfectly symmetrical fieldstone piles and his farm implements lined up
like soldiers on parade,
left a swath uncut;
an incongruous strip of "Number One Canada Wheat"
East-West across the field,
a ship's wake on a stubble sea,
a precise line to intersect
the South-flying eye of a lead goose, and draw it down on fluttering wings
like first white winter flakes,
old friends spiraling in
and come again.
What flawed logic in a man who would crop
the very tops of his fence-posts,
to bring in a shower of geese,
and let not man, nor dog raise them,
a man who had killed more geese
in the hungry dry days
than any man alive,
and yet killed not one since…
“The Swath Uncut” written by Kevin Black. Used with the permission of the author.
“The Lament for Limerick” performed by Martin Hayes and Dennis Cahill, from the album “The Lonesome Touch” Green Linnet, 2006
BirdNote’s theme music was composed and played by Nancy Rumbel and John Kessler.
Producer: John Kessler
Executive Producer: Dominic Black
© 2014 Tune In to Nature.org September 2016 Narrator: Mary McCann/Dominic Black
ID# swath-uncut-01-2014-09-25 swath-uncut-01