Sunday, February 14, 2010

The Woodcock's Courtship

Photo: USFWS

“Peent!” “Peent!”

says he recently returned.

First near, then far,

then near again.

“Peent!” “Peent!”

Is his soul fickle?

This audible advance and retreat,

advance and retreat.


In the misty dusk air he circles.

With his feathered body,

he recites the ancient spiral dance known to all mystics,

He announces the auspicious Truth of who he is.

Suddenly the Cosmos calls him skyward

and he casts himself into the heavens.

Up he launches in body and soul,

outward and inward.


He twitters in the winged voice of ecstasy,

a cascade of emotions released so emphatically

that they collide upon utterance.

His heart becomes frantic as he circles

a hundred meters arisen

above bog or meadow or powerline cut.



The heart must expand or explode.

The heart must expand or explode.

And then, at climax, he chirps.

He chirps a loud vocal, urgent “Yes!” chirp,

signifying his acceptance of

the holy duties of embodiment.

More vocal chirps amidst twittering.

And more.

His heart has expanded beyond reason.

Oh, take note:

The descent that follows is no defiance

of The Great Spirit.

It is instead acknowledgment.

Acknowledgment of his willingness

to pledge himself in service

Of the Great Mother.

Of Creation.

Of Eternity.

Of the destined union of God and Goddess.

Where he lands,

She awaits,

Ready to play Her part.

Ready, like he, to give the Spirits an intimate

flesh form through which to dance

and merge.

“Peent!” “Peent!”

© 2009-2011/Jamie K. Reaser


When woodcocks return from migration in the spring

the males perform an elaborate, aerial courtship dance.

The twittering sound is not a vocalization, but a sound

produced by a special feather in their wings.

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