Birches in Winter

May 31, 2012 § Leave a comment

Trees in winter

White      bark and lint-flecked trunks,
branches bare as cello strings to be plucked by the wind.
I sigh into this solitude
vacate the hollowed spaces within
Let them lie fallow      untilled.
The bird      black in the boughs
shivers at the paucity      the brevity of leaves
and I in my wandering      sit on the bank
and throw stones for the thrush to mistake for snails
Hammering      yielding the soft flesh of yesteryear
But today no more
The snails are shells      empty in the blight
like my thoughts,      the sky and the trees.

From ‘Island of Feathers’
A collection of lyric writings by Marie-Claire Colyer

Breaking Free of the Dark – New Zealand Dotterel

May 24, 2012 § Leave a comment

New Zealand Dotterel

Pewter sea stretches tentative fingers onto the shell grit and seaweed strewn sand; still in the haven of dreaming, that secretive and seductive pre-dawn. Wave-debris crunches beneath the chilled soles of my feet as I meander along their undulating lines. The sharp tang of pearl-studded weed, fronds wetly crisp underfoot, mingles with the sifting sounds of distant birds breaking free of the dark and the ceaseless susurration of lapping water.

Like an advance honour guard a blackbird tentatively tunes his instrument before launching into song. Nearby, the Tui waits, biding his time from the Kowhai tree before the strong mana of his singing claims centre stage. Light creeps in on the breeze, imperceptibly lending form, revealing the curve of the shore and the clusters of claw prints marking a diligent foray. I follow the small patterns as they weave up and down the bank and then I see it, so still it seems a trick of my eyes, a Dotterel. I blink to focus the slight form, one foot poised, head sleekly rounded against the silvery sea.

Clouds scud like shoals of Tarakihi over the now subdued stars and with them comes the dawn. Light blooms. Colour seeps from the moist sky, greys feathering to blues and subdued tones. Hue and line become ever clearer; the sharp-edged roof of the nearest house, a twining tangle of weed, a discarded sandal with the buckle pitted with rust. The Dotterel stands motionless. Feathers now etch themselves rank upon rank and the newly-gilt flash of an eye catches upon the brimming avian chorus. It stutters forward, head tilted in alarm at my intrusion and then warily returns to probing the sand.

The ink wash of night bleeds silently into the waves, defining shadows where there were none. Each rising cap throws off its shade and stands proudly in the waxing light. Once silver they now shine burnished; row upon row of gilded motion. As the land sheds the patina of night and the sun, risen to expose the coruscating breadth of its orb, burns down, I cast one last lingering look upon the small bird so intent on survival and ingesting a last deep breath turn away.

From ‘Island of Feathers’ A collection of lyric writings by Marie-Claire Colyer

The New Zealand Dotterel is under severe threat. Human competition for the beaches it relies on has meant a decline in Dotterel numbers to the point of being listed as Endangered on the ICU Red List Nests are scrapes in the sand above the high-tide mark. Birds are therefore easily disturbed or eggs destroyed by unsuspecting people and predators such as hedgehogs.

Visit to read more on this wading bird.

Frosted Flowers

May 16, 2012 § Leave a comment


(song lyrics)

The frost paints flowers upon the grass
fragile patterns that won’t last
more than the morn.
On my own
while my heart lays with yours
waiting for your return.

The bell bird sings in the forest green
The wind whispers of all its seen
in its roaming.
On my own
while my heart lays with yours
waiting for your return.

The lawn is covered in frosted flowers
and I’m on my own.

Life is for living a bird once told me…

May 10, 2012 § 2 Comments

'New Zealand Fantail - Morning Light' painting by Marie-Claire Colyer

‘New Zealand Fantail – Morning Light’ painting by Marie-Claire Colyer

Like the soft fall of snow in the mountains the downy caress of feathers upon the sky invades my consciousness. A flutter at the window brings me to view the being that flits about the pane like some will of the wisp of sunlight. My friend the Piwakawaka is there beckoning me to leave the drudgery of pencil lines and frustrated streaks of rubber to dither about in its domain. I smile at its antics, the strident call disparaging my attempts at living. Life it says is about now, blue sky dripping with honeyed light, manuka bowing to the heavy drapery of fern fronds and the dizzying chirr of cicadas saturating the air. Life is oneness and energy and a belly full of insects of course. I laugh as it pirouettes and dips its head as if taking a bow. Yes, life is for living.

From ‘Island of Feathers’
A collection of lyric writings by Marie-Claire Colyer

For more information on this painting and to view it in progress please go to my Facebook page

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