Bright Wings

There’s a cardinal perched on the locust tree outside my window.  Yes I know, it’s a common sight, but these birds have a built-in surprise quotient, whether seen against the snow (classic Christmas card!) or in deep summer green.  They’re a splash of the tropics in the midwestern bland, a little gasp of surprise flitting along the landscape.   Along with bluebirds (which I don’t see enough of) and goldfinches (which I haven’t seen at all this season) they flash back to Gerald Manley Hopkins:

And though the last light off the black West went

Oh, morning, at the brown brink eastward, springs–

Because the Holy Ghost over the bent

World broods with warm breast andwith ah! bright wings.



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