The Kittiwake’s Cry

Every Sunday morning on CBS, the news segment ends with a nature video.  The video is not accompanied by music, so the viewer gets to hear the sounds of nature against a silent background.  It’s a little like a minute of meditation, offering the same sense of peace.  One morning Charles Osgood featured the kittiwake, an Arctic bird almost never seen by human beings.  The videographer captured a rare view of these birds in all their beauty and serenity.  I was haunted by their lonely cry and solitary existence.

The Kittiwake’s Cry

Arctic ice crumbles,
chunks fall into heaps
followed by silence.
Then comes the cry of the kittiwakes.

Pure white against the ice
with wings colorwashed blue,
black tail lifted toward the sky,
each bird is part of a solitary community.

Man does not inhabit this place,
rarely views this place,
intrudes now to capture the scene.

(How many other scenes like this are there?
How many spiritual, lonely places,
serene and peaceful, unseen by the human eye,
are invaded by man?)

The beautiful white and powder-blue kittiwake
can live without mankind,
in truth prefers it,
unaware of how this rare intrusion
has enriched our lives.

Enduring their harsh, brittle environment,
warmed by soft feathers,
the kittiwakes live out their existence in solitude
and peace.

© Barbara Flass 2002

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