Thursday, January 07, 2010

Entry #35

The Blackbird and the Hen
by Szelsofa

Just one single walnut, swaying atop the tree,
Should it fell I’d have it, but would it fall on me?

Sometimes walnuts crack open when they land. Sometimes man break walnuts and let the animals have some.

Close friends as they were, the blackbird and the hen shared their food. They both loved walnuts. Also, they were often seen munching on worms they found in the orchard.

One day the Blackbird had a wish.

‘Let’s crack us some nuts’ - he told the Hen.

The Hen was surprised. She looked at the Blackbird with her right eye, and then with her left eye.

Walnuts were a-plenty under the tree.
‘Crack this one’ – said the Blackbird.
The Hen hit it. She hit it hard. The walnut swirled, but remained unopened.
A few more unsuccessful hits later, the Blackbird flew up to the lowest branch.
‘I can not’ – admitted the Hen.
The Blackbird got himself engaged in studying the furrows on the trunk.
‘Hey’ – the Hen called.
The Blackbird was busy observing his own plumage most accurately.
‘Hey’ – the Hen called again.
‘Hm, is there anything out there?’
‘I can not make the walnut open. Are you mad at me?’

The Blackbird dipped with ease to search about in the leaf-litter. Neither of them mentioned the walnut anymore. A deep sadness, thicker than the fog has begun to settle upon the garden.

Just one single walnut, swaying atop the tree,
Should it fell I’d have it, but would it fall on me?


Sarah Laurenson said...

Aw. Poor birds. Can't get at what they desire most. How sad.

Meghan said...

A very moving piece. Great job.

Aniket said...

There are so many little inferences and learnings in this piece.

We humans are not that different are we?

We make big fights with close friends over unreal expectations.

I sure hope they reconcile.

pjd said...

Selfish, vain, wicked blackbird. Poor simple hen.

A lovely fable with a sad lesson about friendship.

Bernita said...

"She looked at the Blackbird with her right eye, and then with her left eye."
"The Blackbird was busy observing his own plumage most accurately."
Now those are wonderful, succinct, characterizations in a single sentence.

SzélsőFa said...

Sarah and pjd,
I aimed at describing an utterly sad situation, a confrontation within a friendship. I'm glad it came through.

your words fights with close friends over unreal expectations.
sum my own thoughts quite correctly.
thank you for your optimistic view about the future of their friendship :)

thank you for your kind words. there are many of these birds around me and I do spend some f my time studying them. :)

JaneyV said...

Oh SzélsőFa, I'm really mad at the Blackbird for being so rotten to his friend. I think (yet again) Bernita has picked exactly the two lines that grabbed me. I love the observation of their mannerisms. A gem.

PS - while I adore Aniket and his optimism I'm of a mind that the Hen should ditch the Blackbird and find a more trustworthy friend.

Preeti said...

Aww. Poor hen. Mean, cold blackbird. Beautifully written. Melancholic.

Leatherdykeuk said...

Oh! Poor mistreated hen!

Four Dinners said...

Sadness and unlikely friendship at that.

This is very original to my poor mind and I truly like it.

Almost puts me in mind of classics like Duncton Wood and Watership Down.

Excellent writing!

Kate said...

Poor hen. This is an excellent fable, and I too love the use of language.

SzélsőFa said...

wow, I'm glad you liked my characters. I appreciate your suggestion :))

Preeti and Leatherdykeuk,
I intended to depict a definite mistreatment. which is indeed, sad.

I had to look up for the works you referred to and although they are not available over here, I can well imagine I'd love to translate them to make them available to more readers.


Craig said...

I enjoyed the fable approach. You pulled it off really well.

adrienne trafford said...

this is beautiful...because there's is so much more to the story - it's not just about the unbreakable nut - it is (to me) about the crow and the hen - my heart ached for the poor of my favorites

Lena said...

I was sure I commented on this one. Anyways, I loved this piece. I believe many of us can relate to it in some way or the other.

Chris Eldin said...

So beautifully written and poetic! Really really strong writing here, Szelsofa. I loved this honest look at life written in your metaphor. Well done. And ditto Bernita.

Amias said...

Without a balance in friendship, it's no friendship at all ... both had wings, but only one could fly.

Kartik said...

Lovely allegory! Don't you just hate self-serving friends?

SzélsőFa said...

a good fable can entertain and educate at the same time. It is my second fable and although the first one had a wider vocabulary, this time I had a stronger theme behind. I keep reading fables :))

this comment warms up my heart. I'm glad the meaning behind the words touched you.

anyone can leave a comment like this as much as s/he wants :))
fun put aside, I trust we all can prosper (learn) from just about anything we find.

thank you, my friend. your words are much appreciated.

in my vocabulary, a balance within a friendship should mean mutual content.
and I don't really think the Blackbird was happy... do you?

thank you! you are right: a selfish friend is not a friend. But hate? No. Avoid, yes. Sometimes it's a sad decision, but one that we have to make.

Dear all,
I wasn't expecting so much positive feedback either from friends or from people who have never met me and/or my writing before; and I am truly surprised. I'm thankful for everyone commenting here!

laughingwolf said...

who needs a friend like that blackbird?

Terri said...

How sad!
But how lovely, the writing :-)

austere said...

I liked this one for the change of pace.

strugglingwriter said...

Very nice Szelsofa.

I loved "Just one single walnut, swaying atop the tree,
Should it fell I’d have it, but would it fall on me?"

Poetic, as Chris said.


SzélsőFa said...

being friends involves regrets as well. but there has to be a balance.

Terri and austere,
thank you for your words fo appraisal.

i'm so glad that you enjoyed reading this little poem as much as I did, when i framed the prose inside.

Laurel said...

This reads like a lost Aesop. Crisply done and poignant story with a point. Beautiful.

Crafty Green Poet said...

I love the folkloric feel to this one...

catvibe said...

That hen needs to make friends with crows. Crows are so much better at cracking open walnuts than the other birds. They drop them from the telephone lines right in front of cars so the cars will drive over them and break them open. Smart crows. I enjoyed this allegory very much.

Tara said...

This works well on so many levels. Great job!

SzélsőFa said...

Laurel and Juliet,
i like reading tales, mostly folkloric ones. most of them have so many deeper levels of meaning inside. to write one, or a piece that closely resembles one is one of my goals.

they are amazingly well adjusted to urban life, aren't they? I didn't know about this, thank you!!

thank you for your kind words. I worked this one from the inside out. perhaps this shows.

wv: brains :))))

truevoid said...

reminds me of fables and tales. simple yet convey so much and a lot to learn, unlearn as well from these tales

Jean Ann Williams said...

So like people. Couples even.

Jean Ann

Rabid Fox said...

This is the closest to a children's tale I've seen yet. Most, including mine, are so much darker. A tad refreshing, in a way. It played out quite well and I liked the dialogue between the two.

SzélsőFa said...

agree, a good tale can be a guide when in doubt. i don't know if mine's a good one or not, but i'm satisfied that it made so many people think.
i like your expression of 'unlearning'. i think it refers to being able to get rid of one's (unjustified) prejudices. am i right? would you care please elaborate on that? (hm... in a sentence or two, perhaps... this contest has so many great entries, i don't think you'll have the time to return, but if there's a chance, please do...

Jean Ann Williams,
well, yes, unfortunately, you are right. such couples should probably drift apart... :((

Rabid Fox,
thanks for your kind words. i'm off to see your entry!

Karen said...

What a gem this is! The simple style of fable is deceptive - there's nothing simple about this. Great job.

truevoid said...

what i was referring to unlearning was, we form strong opinions right from childhood and on our way as we grow we cultivate good habits but we easily ignore to get rid of bad traits. in the context of the story i was referring to - we continue to have expectations sometimes even after knowing that they unrealistic and its hard to unlearn few habits...

SzélsőFa said...

thank you for your kind and sensitive words and understanding. I've just read your entry at your own blog and liked it a lot.

thank you for taking the time to return and explain :)
it's all clear for me now, and at least, according to my intention, unrealistic expectations (of whatever origin) play an important role in this little story. some others have noted it here as well.
thank you again, truevoid.

McKoala said...

Love the movement and inferences we can take from them!

james r tomlinson said...

Oh to give someone a task that can not be completed is really really cruel. If we're talking layout, if we're speaking of widows & rags, I'd put some white space between those initial sentences.

Deb Smythe said...

Ah, I love the fable-like tone here.

SzélsőFa said...

McKoala, james r tomlinson and Deb Smythe,

thank you for your time and words.
re: space between the initial sentences: do you mean space between the two lines of that little poem? i wanted to keep that poem in one piece.
if space between the first two lines Sometimes walnuts crack open when they land. Sometimes man break walnuts and let the animals have some.
than i think i hear you.

Aerin said...

Dear Entrants #1-105,

I have read your pieces so that I can fairly participate in the Readers' Choice vote. (I read all of them through last week, before I started commenting.) I will be coming back around to offer my keep/tweak comment, but I didn't want anyone to snark.

Aerin (#236)

BTW, it's perfectly fine if you still want to snark, but this way you can choose a more appropriate subject, like the new Starbucks paninis or the people over 35 who are exclusively on MySpace