As promised, here’s my “bird in the house” piece presented as a companion to Dave Moore’s episode from yesterday.
I wrote this about a decade ago. I was going through a bit of a rough spot in my life then, and just as the words place the narrator in the piece, I was alone in a house in the wintertime, acutely aware of the sounds in winter. In that house, with no other human sounds but my own, I found myself thinking of my aged father, now widowed, living alone as well. In a somewhat morbid, gloomy mood I thought of unwitnessed death, of my father, or myself, dying alone.
Just as in the dream reported in Dave’s piece “The Bird Dream,” the trapped bird image came to me as I wrote the words for “A Rustle of Feathers.”
Odd that that trapped bird image occurred to both of us thinking of our aged parents. I don’t know if this is a common image or archetype, something that waits in our common human unconsciousness, waiting for a writer’s words to awaken. “A Rustle of Feathers,” with it’s aged narrator in an otherwise empty house acutely alert to sounds, shares a bit of the mise-en-scène of Robert Frost’s “A Old Man’s Winters Night” that was presented here earlier this month. Possibly I had read the Frost poem somewhere in my youth, but I don’t believe it was present in my unconscious as I wrote this; but shortly after I wrote “A Rustle of Feathers,” I did think that Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Raven”—a poem widely known to Americans of my generation—might have been a subliminal influence.
Yes, I am using a plucked feather as a pen—but it’s a goose’s quill—so get out of my house!
Musically I was thinking a bit of a Johnny Cash feel as I composed the music, but I’m not sure that much of that came through in the final result. The guitar sound is a lovely example of a Fender Telecaster using both it’s pickups.
Well the muses keep dancing, and they are hard to keep in our narrow field of vision. The piece got written, and now it’s here for you to listen to. Just click on the gadget that appears below to hear it.