'The Albino Blackbird': Poem about a True Chance Encounter with a Rare Albino Blackbird
An Enchanted Place
When & Where it Happened
I was helping the houseparents of a school boarding house; actually they were also helping me as I had nowhere to live for six weeks! Lucky students to live in such an enchanted place; a huge mansion, with a rambling garden and paddocks leading down to a river where they could fish and paddle canoes.
Energetic badminton in the garden or relaxing evening strolls down to the river, whatever the activity the place itself was peaceful, even magical in the quiet evenings, a soothing balm after a busy day.
I often took that walk down to the river, sometimes alone. I love watching for the birds; herons playing statues to fool the fish, buntings flying like skipping stones across water, shy blackbirds singing in the hedgerow.
An Unexpected Privilege
I had never seen any albino creature in the wild and never thought I would. One day, I came across such a creature. It seemed to be there just for me, it sang just for me and it became a habit for me to go in search of even just a brief sighting.
So special was this experience that I wanted to record its existence, the effect it had on me; a courageous, bold bird that surely had to fight for its existence far harder than most.
A Graphic Contradiction
An Idyllic Setting
The Albino Blackbird
A paddock leading down to a narrow river
winding through the Somerset Levels,
a solitary woman strolling in the summer evening sun.
A blackbird’s song heard nearby,
the woman’s eyes search the hedges for its origin,
no blackbird discovered in the foliage.
But what is that boldly sat upon the fencepost,
though not black,
singing for all his might the familiar sound?
A blackbird in name, in form but not in colour!
Albino, red-eyed, bold as brass,
defying incredulity with his evening song.
An albino blackbird? A graphic contradiction.
A concrete phantom, living, pulsing, flying
and watching with daring eye.
Daring to exist, daring the woman to believe,
daring to live in its prejudiced world,
the whitebird sang, loud and joyful.
The woman came more often then,
to that calm spot where meadow met meandering river.
She longed to see him again.
Three times he granted her heart-felt wish,
though she dared not hope too much.
The third was when, tearful and sad, she
turned towards the house to leave for ever,
an aching heart to see him no more,
in her mind an urgent chant ‘say goodbye, please...say goodbye!’
Out of the calm silence, as she despaired,
his lifting melody of evening cheer, louder than ever,
just for her, sped across the space
to kiss her heart, to gladden her eye,
leaving a gratefulness, an enchantment which endures,
which will endure longer than he or I.
Facts on Albino or Partial Albino Animals
Albino birds and animals have pink eyes; the colour in the eyes comes from blood vessels behind the eyes and is not pigmentation.
Leucism can be confused with albinism. Leucism occurs when colouring chemicals are present in the body of the bird, though not present in the feathers. The feathers are white but the eyes are still dark.
Partial albinism can occur; you might see blackbirds with a smaller or larger degree of white feathers.
Albino blackbirds are rare.
Copyright annart (AFC) 2014 (No copying without permission; no changing of original hub)
Sightings of Albino Birds/Animals
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