|Boat Tailed Grackle|
|Female Grackle foraging|
|Vigilant Male Grackle|
The Grackle's voice is less than mellow,
His heart is black, his eye is yellow,
He bullies more attractive birds
With hoodlum deeds and vulgar words,
And should a human interfere,
Attacks that human in the rear.
I cannot help but deem the grackle
An ornithological debacle.
I like the rhyme, but couldn't disagree more with Mr. Nash's sentiments. How could he know what's in a grackle's heart? And what bird could be more attractive than grackles, with their lustrous rainbow purples?
I think that Robert Penn Warren also liked grackles. In this sad, sweet poem about death and loss, it seems to me that he used the color and sound of the grackle as a familiar comfort touchstone. With their regular migration, the grackles seem to represent the constant passage of time and the promise of the return of spring (life). Despite death and loss, time will not stop and life will go on. Seasons change and the grackles will come again. I think this is beautiful and bitter-sweet, like grackles.
Black of grackles glints purple as, wheeling in sun-glare,
The flock splays away to pepper the blueness of distance.
Soon they are lost in the tracklessness of air.
I watch them go. I stand in my trance.
Another year gone. In trance of realization,
I remember once seeing a first fall leaf, flame-red, release
Bough-grip, and seek, through gold light of the season's sun,
Black gloss of a mountain pool, and there drift in peace.
Another year gone. And once my mother's hand
Held mine while I kicked the piled yellow leaves on the lawn
And laughed, not knowing some yellow-leaf season I'd stand
And see the hole filled. How they spread their obscene fake lawn.
Who needs the undertaker's sick lie
Flung thus in the teeth of Time, and the earth's spin and tilt?
What kind of fool would promote that kind of lie?
Even sunrise and sunset convict the half-wit of guilt.
Grackles, goodbye! The sky will be vacant and lonely
Till again I hear your horde's rusty creak high above,
Confirming the year's turn and the fact that only, only,
In the name of Death do we learn the true name of Love.