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THE OWL CRITIC

By James Thomas Fields.

“Courtesy gives it’s owner a passport round the world. It transmutes aliens into trusting friends…..James Thomas Fields.

My sincere thanks to Keven Mueller and Unsplash for this photograph

“Who stuffed that white owl?

No one spoke in the shop,
The barber was busy, and he couldn’t stop;
The customers, waiting their turns, were all reading
The “Daily,” the “Herald,” the “Post,” little heeding
The young man who blurted out such a blunt question;
Not one raised a head, or even made a suggestion;
And the barber kept on shaving.

“Don’t you see, Mr. Brown,”
Cried the youth, with a frown,
“How wrong the whole thing is,
How preposterous each wing is,
How flattened the head is, how jammed down the neck is —
In short, the whole owl, what an ignorant wreck ‘t is!
I make no apology;
I’ve learned owl-eology.

I’ve passed days and nights in a hundred collections,
And cannot be blinded to any deflections
Arising from unskilful fingers that fail
To stuff a bird right, from his beak to his tail.
Mister Brown! Mr. Brown!
Do take that bird down,
Or you’ll soon be the laughingstock all over town!”
And the barber kept on shaving.

“I’ve studied owls,
And other night-fowls,
And I tell you
What I know to be true;
An owl cannot roost
With his limbs so unloosed;
No owl in this world
Ever had his claws curled,
Ever had his legs slanted,
Ever had his bill canted,
Ever had his neck screwed
Into that attitude.
He cant do it, because
‘Tis against all bird-laws.

Anatomy teaches,
Ornithology preaches,
An owl has a toe
That can’t turn out so!
I’ve made the white owl my study for years,
And to see such a job almost moves me to tears!
Mr. Brown, I’m amazed
You should be so gone crazed
As to put up a bird
In that posture absurd!
To look at that owl really brings on a dizziness;
The man who stuffed him don’t half know his business!”
And the barber kept shaving.

“Examine those eyes
I’m filled with surprise
Taxidermists should pass
Off on you such poor glass;
So unnatural they seem
They’d make Audubon scream,
And John Burroughs laugh
To encounter such chaff.
Do take that bird down;
Have him stuffed again, Brown!”
And the barber kept on shaving!

“With some sawdust and bark
I could stuff in the dark
An owl better than that.
I could make an old hat
Look more like an owl
Than that horrid fowl,
Stuck up there so stiff like a side of coarse leather.
In fact, about him there’s not one natural feather.”

Just then, with a wink and a sly normal lurch,
The owl, very gravely, got down from his perch,
Walked around, and regarded his fault-finding critic
(Who thought he was stuffed) with a glance analytic,
And then fairly hooted, as if he should say:
“Your learning’s at fault this time, anyway:
Don’t waste it again on a live bird, I pray.
I’m an owl; you’re another. Sir Critic, good day!”
And the barber kept on shaving.

_________________________________

James Thomas Fields was born in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. His father was a sea captain and died before Fields was three. At the age of 14, Fields took a job at the Old Corner Bookstore in Boston. Afterwards, he wrote for the newspapers, and in 1835, he read an anniversary poem entitled Commerce before the Boston Mercantile Library Association.

Fields wrote the following poems: The Lucky Horseshoe; The Lover’s Peril; Patient Mercy Jones; The Captain’s Daughter; Common Sense; With Wordsworth at Rydal.

As with the first poem posted, I was brought up with this poem, only this time it was recited by my father.

Fair weather to all,

Jimmy Bee

CYCLING with Jimmy Bee

Cleveland Point, Qld., Australia

My ride from Cleveland Point, Qld. to Redland Bay, on 4th June, was for Sarz.

Let me explain – Sara Zelenak lived in the adjoining suburb of Ormiston, Qld. Like a lot of young Australians she headed for London as part of her life’s journey taking her through Europe. Sara was to meet her parents Julie and Mark Wallace at the Eiffel Tower in Paris on the 30th June, 2017. Tragically this meeting did not take place as Sara’s journey was cut short on 3rd June, 2017. She was brutally stabbed to death along with others in the London Bridge & Borough Markets terrorist attack.

Julie and Mark Wallace have since founded the Sarz Sanctuary, a not for profit foundation, in honour of their daughter.

Sarz Sanctuary provides support for those suffering from traumatic grief as a result of a sudden or violent death.

In 2018 Julie and Mark, along with four other riders, cycled from Sara’s place of death, London Bridge and arrived at the Eiffel Tower one year to the day to honour their commitment and meet Sara’s spirit. They decided to make this ride an annual event. Not everyone who wants to be part of this organisation, is able to partake in the actual annual ride, so a virtual ride was formed so that interested riders could register with the organisation and complete 350 km over the month of June. Three riders from our small cycling group “U3A’s (University of the 3rd Age) “Easyriders” signed up to complete the ride.

For further information on SARZ-SANCTUARY.ORG hit the following link https://sarz-sanctuary.org

Cycling Cleveland – Redland Bay, Qld. Australia

I started my ride from Cleveland Point. The above photo is of Raby Bay which looking towards the point is on the left side. It was blowing a gusting head wind of 30 to 40 kmh and as it had been snowing on the Granite Belt to the south west earlier in the morning it was cold and hard going in places. I know, I am being a bit of a drama queen but living in the sub tropics I am much more used to hot weather than cold.

Pt. Halloran conservation area

One of the best features of this ride is that you combine riding through forest areas with riding alongside of the bay

Pt. Halloran, Victoria Point, Qld.

I rode along this path with the bay on my left and looking towards Victoria Point. This ride is one of two on Redland Coast which has an abundance of beautiful seascapes and I never get sick of riding it, because from a photographer’s point of view, it is forever changing depending on the day, the season, the mood. Just another stunning part of our Redland Coast.

Redland Bay – Destination reached. All I have to do now is have a coffee at Pelicans View Cafe and return home. Overall distance 56 km.

Jimmy Bee