When the Jackdaws Clatter

Visual Verse has found another unusual image, this time by an unknown artist, from the Getty Open Content Program, which is the inspiration for a wide range of writing in the May 2020 issue, Vol. 7, Chapter 7.  You can find my poem on page 35 or you can link directly to the poem, entitled ‘When the Jackdaws Clatter‘.

Linking to dVerse Poets Pub Open Link Night.

41 thoughts on “When the Jackdaws Clatter

  1. Jackdaws is just a delicious word; smaller than crows, but in the family–all of which are very inquisitive. We kept a magpie for a few months and it talked like a parrot.

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      1. it’s an Indian child and direct relatives usually shave their head when there is a death … the eldest male for a year, the others just until the cremation. It’s a strong Hindu tradition and a common sight over there.

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      2. Thank you, Kate, that’s interesting. I didn’t know where to look for an explanation of the image, and I never do that with VV’s images in order to keep it completely ekphrastic.

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    1. Have you ever read ‘The Jackdaw of Rheims’ by Richard Harris Barham, from his Ingoldsby collection. We learned it at school. Jackdaws are European birds, I think. although there are Eurasian ones. They’re amazing birds from the corvid family but smaller than crows. Lots of folklore and legends connected to jackdaws.


  2. an interesting take, an Indian poet wrote of Prince Siddhartha’s early life … but yours adds another dimension. The jackdaw is also new to me 🙂

    Do Visual Verse post all the entries? It’s a challenge that interests me …

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    1. They usually post the image for the month on the first day of every month. They have a daily prompt on Instagram too, They usually post about 100, so it’s a good idea to get in quick. They give you an hour to write between 50 and 500 words of poetry or prose.

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  3. Calmkate’s observation about the Hindu ritual of shaving the heads of children after a death got in my head as I re-read. The songs of swans are ones of bereavement following the loss of a life-long mate … That deep sense of isolation harrowed a sense of death in your poem, a person plucked bare of hair and adornment. Made for an exceptionally poignant take. Whatever your intent, good job – Brendan

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  4. Fun original take on this picture. I like the distraction with olive oil – birds love fat- what a great idea. To me the portrait looks very Roman (the olive oil fit right in!). There are lots of interesting ideas about hair – consider Samson and Medusa. Hindus shave heads for several reasons for example a baby’s first haircut is part of a religious rite, with an accompanying celebration.

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