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A Short Story About Birds

Updated on June 18, 2012


This short story was inspired by the impressionistic piano piece, Oiseaux Tristes by Maurice Ravel (See the video link at the bottom to hear the piece).

Oiseaux Trieste (The Sorrowful Bird)

Bird wakes to the hushed whisper of the morning wind as it gently stirs the vast sea of leaves above her. Slowly, the darkness blooms a deep emerald-green, lit by the stained-glass glow of dawn’s first light shining down through the delicate dance of the leaves. Distantly, she hears the first tentative calls, “Who is there—Who is there?”

Soon she answers, “I am here—I am here.” And then she remembers, feeling the soft curve of the eggs beneath her, “We are here—We are here.”

As the darkness brightens, light brings life: friends and neighbors call to one another, “Good morning—Good morning,” some glide from branch to branch for a chat, while others set off for the morning’s good work. Bird breathes deep, taking in the heat and moisture and deep earthy smell, feeling it cover her like a blanket, keeping her safe for another day of waiting. So very still. She sits and waits. So very still. She dozes.


Something in the air changes.

She senses this before she opens her eyes. It is in the silence. It is in the absence of chatter and the hesitancy of their voices—the intensity of their soft-spoken calls. But the warning comes too late. The crush of understanding falls heavy and sudden and the fangs of terror strike deep. Her eyes flash and dart, like the fluttering of her heart, searching—searching.

Then, an explosion of flight. A churning cloud of fear. Birds surging through the canopy of leaves, fleeing. Bird resists. She fights desperately not to let go and follow. But it is too much. She leaps into the air, joining the flight, leaving the world behind her.

Bird is the first to return, holding hope like a torch, yet knowing it to be the feeblest of candles. She lands lightly, careful not to disturb the silence, and closes her eyes, not wanting to see. Somewhere deep within, her fragile spirit cannot release the candle. It calls, “A moment longer—A moment longer.” Then, her eyes open and she looks into the nest.



The silence is deafening as the emptiness echoes within her. She sits and stares.

Slowly—ever-so-slowly—sound returns. Voices fill the air, “Who is there—Who is there?” Bird hears them distantly, as if they called from the other side of a lifetime. Because they do.

She tries not to hear. But its call is too much: she hears, and she remembers. Bird calls, “I am here—I am here,” looks up, and sees life return to the world above her. Breathing deeply of the heat and the moisture and the rich earthy smell, she says goodbye and rises, flying up.

Manon Hutton-DeWys performs Ravel's Oiseaux Tristes

Visit Hutton-DeWys Website at:

Youtube Link:


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    • wayseeker profile image

      wayseeker 6 years ago from Colorado

      Thanks, Hyph. Having played the music in college some ten years before I wrote the piece, I had an interesting emotional attachment to it as I wrote it. I may try doing something similar again in the interesting cross-modal artistic experience.

      I'm so pleased you enjoyed it. Thanks for taking the time to read!


    • Hyphenbird profile image

      Brenda Barnes 6 years ago from America-Broken But Still Beautiful

      No fair, you made me cry over a fictional bird and the beauty of music. What a wonderful piece you have here!

    • wayseeker profile image

      wayseeker 6 years ago from Colorado

      Thanks. I played this piece in college, and the emotion of it always stuck with me. It was fun to turn it into a piece of writing.

    • thebluestar profile image

      Annette Donaldson 6 years ago from Northern Ireland

      Fantastic, I am sitting in that nest with her chicks. Such vivid and dramatic visions. Thank you for sharing this.