Ode to Selassie

acrylic, Masa paper and feather collage on w/c paper

This is an ode to Selassie, my beautiful white rooster who “disappeared” yesterday and whose feathers I collected in great numbers, some of which you see here.

I watched you strut your fine white feathered stuff in sunlight, along with the hens and Phil the cat and the bluejays and hummingbirds and a host of other seen and unseen creatures. . .watched in admiration of such magnificence.  I wanted to memorise each part of you from downy bloomers to green tail feathers to those wings dipped artfully as if in Sumi ink,  to those bright yellow feet festooned with feather boas which even cabaret dancers would covet.  I lingered there awhile, sensing perhaps that this opportunity would soon pass.

And later, I returned from a trip to town to find our driveway and street with a sprinkling like the white of snow before it mixes with the earth.  A breathless purity. . . of feathers freshly shed, and all the way down the street to the fence and across in decreasing numbers to the woods at the bottom of the horse pasture.

Pierced by the beauty of it, of your life’s sacrifise to another creature, surely winter famished, a bobcat (I was told) who caught the scent of dinner and picked out the prize, the cocky one advertising himself with great strutting and feather fluffing, head and tail held aloft for his rapt audience of which I was one.

A lesson in this?  Better to keep ones assets hidden from the predators of this world. . .or. . .enjoy beauty now, because wherever there is beauty there is predation.

My flock is now 5, all girls and all schooled in the lessons of caution, so vital to a chicken as perhaps to us as well.



  1. Susan,your poem is extraordinary! The whole experience of reading the blog, the poem, seeing the art piece and empathizing with the experience loss and life is quite moving indeed. Thank you.


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