Jill W Holder


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Good afternoon ladies and gentlemen.

My name is Jill Holder and this is Eric Glynn.


The piece we have for you today is the story of what happened when we found a small paper bird lying on the pavement over there.  It is a story about how small things can grow and spread, and how the things that we do in each and every moment of our lives cause waves of effect that we are rarely aware of – both good and bad.


Today….we’ll have succeeded in what we are doing if we can,

in some small measure,

…promote the truth

that the essence of a little art project,

….like this bird,

whether it was dropped by mistake, or on purpose,

...That its very existence,

    its having been crafted in the first place

will often reverberate

and grow into more creativity,

Something we think is very important.


We would very much love to meet whoever made this bird, and return it to them ….. if that's what they would wish....

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This poem is about a bird,

Who sadly went astray,

These rhymings are our poor attempt,

To save the day.


For one fine eve in April time,

Whilst bombs flew in Iraq,

A bird fell fowl upon the floor

And was not taken back.


And what of the child, so sad and wretched

Who lost such a darling friend?

Did she lie awake in the shadowy night?

With a heart no-one could mend?


Did she hunt in the playground and all round the gate?

Then under the hawthorn hedge?

Did she check out the verges, look under the bench?

Forgetting that birdies may fledge?


For two windy days that chick swung where we hung it,

‘Til tattered and raggedy torn

We carried it home and patted it dry,

And made it a bit less forlorn.


So if anyone here has heard of a child

Who is fixed with a terrible sorrow,

Who is looking depressed,

Or mournful at best,

We will make it all better tomorrow!



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Excuse …our wanton wings of verse?


The late lark lingers

Trilling in triumph

Task accomplished


The late lark descending

Wages taken

At sparrowfall


The gentle cock

Reports the sunrise on the shoulder of the dew

On a glassy pear tree


Here is Paradise Parrot

Daintily dieted with divers delicate spices

Fond of an almond, the date, or peerless pomegranates


The dappled dew-drawn falcon on wimpling wing

Daylight dauphin.


The nine headed phoenix, starred with jewels

Licks his wings and tells of the end of all affliction

Wandering by lakes and rivers, at odds with life.


Ducks and drakes bathe side by side in the chickweed

Jostling their wings in parted fens

Posing a question ...to heaven


A goose ...walks on the grass sucking the cherry flowers


The scented swallow hurries the moonrise


Migrant geese, splashing in the rushes, proclaim the spring

As blossom drips in the gentle breeze

And the sparrows play amongst the roses, with moon beams for toys


The purple phoenix strikes a pose

Weeping jades of fat

Green flames in his nest

In the pain of spring

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Here in Abbey Street today,

All gathered to pay homage,

A hundred hungry birds and more,

All breakfasted on porridge.


Each found himself a cosy branch,

Then twittered, chirped and chirruped,

And read the daily Telegraph,

And passed around the syrup.


These birds all flew to this greensome spot,

To offer their support,

A wing of friendship to a friend,

Who was lost, or so they thought.


Let us take a closer look,

At our little urban orchard,

Yesterday t’was pear petite

Today it looks more tortured.


All shapes and sorts of winged things,

Are tweeting in the bluesome

All have come with one intent

To re unite that sorrowful twosome.



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Swallows, after the rain feast,

Are sighing in the rafters

Kingfishers are threaded with gold


Twigs tremble in the dawn

Disclosing the oriole

Who sings for a 1000 miles

In the misty rain


Vultures hover outside my window


The ostrich could not fly

But walked the desert, feathers flowing

With only a small cloud

In a dusty sky


The blue bird hailed a yellow taxi

And headed down the Hudson River

Past the shipyards, in the cold



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Thinking is useful; it tells us why things are so,

But it can never reveal anything truly fundamental.

Only consciousness itself is sacred

In fact consciousness is sacredness, - divinity- and all the rest…

That the world can perceive itself is the ultimate wonder and mystery.


The nightingale lets his languid siftings fall

Warbling at eve, when all the woods are still

Deceiving elf in the embalmed darkness

Under the moonbeams chill


The death defying royal swan, bell-beat,

Climbs the air and treads the clouds….

Wings veer with the high wind

Which roams without design,

Sifting the weight of earthly offerings.


The crow, once white

Decided the sun to attack

But the sun fought back

And charred him black…

And down the gangplank he went

.....Into the volcano


Blackbird…. singing in the dead of night

Song whirling in the autumn wind

In lucid, inescapable rhythms


It was snowing

and it was going to snow.


The bodies of all living creatures have disappeared into dust

And the seagull mourns his life, wearing black

Eating nothing but rye bread in his attic


Skylark, pilgrim of the sky

Quivering wings in its privacy of light.



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The jackdaw left Rheims in a hurry,

His raincoat bedraggled and wet,

He put the ring back in the cardinal’s hat,

And whisked back on Air France’s jet.


The Oozlum bird flew backwards

Over the silvery sea,

It could only see where it had come from,

Not here, where it wanted to be.


The Blue Nork flew the Atlantic,

What a sight to see,

Out t’ward freedom, o’er the swell,

Away from Liberteee.


Wild swans left their Eastern Palace

Crossed the Urals on their way,

Out of repression and into free speech,

To be with us, today.


The penguin sent us a message,

Via the albatross,

He’s sorry he couldn’t be here,

But flying just makes him so cross.


The ostrich ran to the Cape,

But now he has boarded a liner,

And is headed this way, soon passing Biscay,

With the black headed talkative minah.


The emu (aeronautically challenged)

Crossed most of Oz in a day,

But now he’s held up, in a terrible huff,

With much too much sea in the way.



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And the owl sailed….

Clear in the moonless morn

Bearing the farm away, under a single star


The soul birds of the prophet

Arriving in the final valley of their king

Found only their own reflections, in the royal lake


The soul inhabits the body

The spirit emboldens the soul

Two mysteries enfolded



The cuckoo at once far off and near

Longed for

Never seen…

…Visionary darling of the spring


The skylark’s happy wings winnow the air

And she builds on nothing but a passing cloud


The nightingale, lost in the wilderness of listening leaves,

Promotes her luscious strain….Melody hidden in every flower



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There’s a murder of crows in the valley,

And a siege of cranes by the Creek,

A bouquet of pheasant croaks in the field,

And a party of jays have flown in as we speak.


So many wild fowl have flown in to see us,

The harlequin duck and the muscovy too,

A mallard, a shoveller, a red headed pochard,

And a golden crowned widgeon who was just passing through.


And then we have game birds risking their necks,

A partridge, a pheasant and sweet rufus grouse,

A ptarmigan dropped in from wild bonny Scotland,

And a great golden eagle carrying a mouse.


They’ve tried sackcloth and ashes,

And beating their downy breasts,

They’ve flapped their wings and fluffered their tails

And shuffled their feathery crests.


They’ve been wailing and weeping so sadly,

and snuff-l-ing deeply and sighing,

They’ve blubbered and whimpered and grizzled,

And now the whole lot of ‘em’s crying.


So if any one here has heard of a child

Who is fixed with a terrible sorrow,

Who is looking depressed

Or mournful at best,

We will make it all better tomorrow!



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Like amorous birds of prey

Let us spoil us while we may


The duck stood on the burning deck

The chicken came in from the cold

The peacock was running away down the road  

And the sounds of our story are almost all told

A swallow sits on a hairpin

And the peacock slows on the street

The phoenix lies on the mirror

So our tale must be nearly complete………




[Softly]…There is no proper simile for the spring

At Sparrowfall…





Jill Holder with Eric Glynn 2011


[The poem is reproduced here exactly as it appeared in the original used for performances.  It includes Holder’s personal notations and spacing to aid presentation.]


[They never did find the owner of the original bird]


The swallow came back on a shimmering night,

To a street that they couldn’t knock down,

And hoovered her nest ‘til it looked like the rest,

Then dressed in her finest blue gown.


Doves are moaning in the eaves,

An ancient sadling song,

That tells of other losses in the town,

And things that have gone wrong.


The cormorant is keeping watch,

High on the Oyster tower,

A silent presence against the sky,

With a brooding darkling power.


A cuckoo, such a pretty bird,

Is hiding in the Weald,

Her two-tone plain-song echoing,

Through, marshland, wood and field.


continued in next column...

From the gardens of England the rusty red robin,

A song thrush and blackbird with bright yellow bill,

A gold crest, a nuthatch, A swallow from the old thatch,

And a streaky brown tree creeper down from the hill.


A goldfinch from Surrey, flew in, in a flurry,

Of yellow, tobacco and red,

A bullfinch from Bury, Came over by ferry

And a rose finch with pink-feathered head.


The owl and the astronaut came down the creek

In a purple and silver canoe

Under the moon with a curdled spoon

To see what they can do



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