David Jones, artist and poet (1895-1974) begins his PREFACE TO THE ANATHEMATA :

'I have made a heap of all that I could find.' (1) So wrote Nennius, or whoever composed the introductory matter to Historia Brittonum. He speaks of an 'inward wound' which was caused by the fear that certain things dear to him 'should be like smoke dissipated'. Further, he says, 'not trusting my own learning, which is none at all, but partly from writings and monuments of the ancient inhabitants of Britain, partly from the annals of the Romans and the chronicles of the sacred fathers, Isidore, Hieronymous, Prosper, Eusebius and from the histories of the Scots and Saxons although our enemies . . . I have lispingly put together this . . . about past transactions, that [this material] might not be trodden under foot'. (2)

(1) The actual words are coacervavi omne quod inveni, and occur in Prologue 2 to the Historia.
(2) Quoted from the translation of Prologue 1. See The Works of Gildas and Nennius, J.A.Giles, London 1841.

25 September 2011

White-faced heron family

The office of bLOGOS/HA HA is in a bush setting shared with a great variety of birds. By size, from silver eyes, pardelottes, robins, fantails, firetails, honey-eaters; blackbirds, thrushes and native pidgeons; many parrots and cockatoos; magpies, crows, currawongs; kookaburras and wattle birds; ducks; owls (usually only heard), hawks and the occasional wedge tailed eagle. (Recently, there was a great bird panic - all alarm calls and fleeing flight - as a wedge-tailed eagle skimmed overhead with a ring-tailed possum in its talons.)

Though not rare in Australia, the white-faced heron or blue crane is not common in this place. The arrival of a pair, then the building of their nest almost immediately above us is like having very special guests.

In recent weeks they have sat through gale-force winds (115 km at Ballarat) and nights down to zero. Our awareness and admiration grows. Currawongs and wattlebirds, regular raiders for blackbird and other chicks, have checked close and attempted to intimidate, but without success.

Three chicks are now being fed by their dutiful parents.

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