Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Passionate Plumage

image from fancyfeathers.com

Passionate Plumage

“Hope is the thing with feathers that perches
in the soul.”--Emily Dickinson.

As much as most of us love birds,
    appreciate birdsong & colorful plumage,
        we must not forget, as my grandfather used 
    to say, “they are just snakes with wings.”
True that--for feathers evolved from
the types of scales on reptiles and
dinosaurs; they developed much
like hair follicles, & are considered
to be the most complex structure in
all vertebrates.

                                  Feathers of all kinds do fascinate
                         those who do not possess them. I can
                       never pass up the inspection of a fallen
                    feather on the beach or in my yard. Eagle
                 & hawk feathers are sacred to the Native
               Americans. In South America they cherish
         Condor feathers, & in India it is the plumage
of the Peacock that they value most.

Although feathers facilitate flight for most birds, we
must not forget that bats, squirrels & insects just use
tissue to catch the air for their form of flight, & they 
seem to fly just fine without feathers.

Personally, I’ve never written with a quill, made mostly 
from goose feathers, but I’ve seen people use them and
I adore the delicious scratching sound it makes when in
contact with paper. Pen comes from the Latin word, penna,
which means feathers. The French word, plume, which can
mean either pen or feather.

Who has not wanted
to soar like a bird, floating
high on hot thermals?

Glenn Buttkus

Posted over on dVerse Poets Pub


brudberg said...

I get the feeling that feathers can almost seem like a folly... flying on skin does make sense for a bat... but the plumage is something more vane, almost like something to brag about.. almost like poetry.

Victoria said...

Love your expose on feathers, Glenn. Not sure I'm crazy about the idea of feathers evolving from the scales of reptiles, but I guess it makes sense considering thos prehistoric raptors. The haiku is a delight. Thanks for playing. Oh, and I've written a second one related to Native American traditions that I will post later tonight.

Toni Spencer said...

The senryu at the end of your poem is delightful. Indeed, who among us has not dreamed of flight? Interesting info piece about feathers and the evolution of birds. Which I knew from my old anthropology days. thanks for the review!

Anonymous said...

lovely piece of writing :)

Frank Hubeny said...

Perhaps it is, as you mentioned, that feathers interest us because we don't have them. They do seem to be an unusual thing to have coming out of one's skin.

Anonymous said...

Such an education, reminding me of things I had learned as a schoolgirl, but had filed away in the farthest recesses of my mind, Thank you for helping me remember, in such an engaging way.

Anonymous said...

I {heart} you for putting "true that" in a poem. :)

Great line break, foreshadowing that your grandfather used women (I see plumb-age inside of "plumage," which I see as being about sex):
we must not forget, as my grandfather used
to say, “they are just snakes with wings.”

So I'm thinking "feathers" represent women here.

Like here:
"I can
never pass up the inspection of a fallen
feather on the beach"

I think you're talking about looking at the "fallen" girls tanning on the sand.

And this makes me think you're saying you've never written with a woman: "I’ve never written with a quill" ... "made mo(i)st/ly"

"but I’ve seen people use them" ... use women, you mean

"I adore the delicious scratching sound it makes when in" ... :)

My favorite line break of all comes after this: "which can" ("witch can" ... you're talking about her butt]

Very sexy piece, Glenn.

Kim Russell said...

Feathers and leaves - how else could dinosaurs have hidden in trees?

R.K. Garon said...


De said...

I love that delicious scratching sound, too, Glenn. ;)

Linda Kruschke said...

Terrific stream of consciousness poem. Love the haiku at the end.

Nan Mykel said...

I'm still imagining a snake covered with feathers flying overhead...Liked your "Insights" para. I have an insights page called "Secrets." Good imaginative and educational job in the poem/posting.

Gayle Walters Rose said...

Snakes with wings...I wonder if I'll ever get that image out of my mind! I've always loved the idea of using a quill to write with and have wondered how the ink gets pulled up into it and I guess just the mechanics of it...will have to Google that... Anyway, I love the fun facts that you put into your haibuns, Glenn.

Rosemarie Gonzales said...

oh wow. it was a delight reading your thoughts about feathers and that haiku is brilliant!

Walt Wojtanik said...

A great feathered treatise, Glenn! Love this in all its descriptions!

Sanaa Rizvi said...

Oh this was an absolute delight to read! 💖

lillianthehomepoet.wordpress.com said...

A great discussion of the lowly and sometimes soaring feather! Your grandfather, like you, had a way with words. Somehow I now have the picture of an anaconda flying in the sky above my head! The 747 of birds? And yes -- that romanticized quill and its scratching sound. Enjoyed this very much with my morning cup -- watching the gulls at the shore's edge here in Provincetown. We return home Saturday and I shall miss the sounds and sights of the water at my door. And....I should add....as always....haiku at the end captures it all.