Thursday, July 02, 2015

"King Gull" – Musings of Hope (Peter Black)

Can one blame the millions of Canadians who, after a long hard winter and slow start to spring, flock to the nation’s beaches, whether situated by lake or sea coast? Huge numbers, as we know, unwilling to wait for our northern weather to wake and warm up, also take to the air by the plane-load for sunnier climes earlier in the year, and some join floating cities aboard massive cruise ships.

But fancy resorts and busy beaches, with personal water-craft buzzing around, are not for everybody. Quiet cottage country, a remote lake or stream, or a lesser-populated beach on the coast, may better suit those more contemplative souls who don’t particularly intrude into, but observe, nature. They drink in its essence, manifested in its scents, scenes and sounds, and its fauna and flora.

Today we introduce a fresh voice from one such soul, Phil Brown – writer, playwright and poet. Phil’s generously permitted us to post his poem, “King Gull,” inspired by his observations of one of nature’s ubiquitous birds. I read it several times – slowly. Reverently.

I hear your sharp call as I stroll the shore,
A young web-footed gull, a king, destined to soar.
Stretching wings skyward to catch the breeze,
Hovering high over the surf and towering trees.

He circles then seeks those fingerling fish,
That soon will become his life-giving dish.
His sharp eye sees the shimmering glow,
As minnows swarm in the shallows below.

Twisting then turning he dives to the lake,
Downward he swoops to the flashing take.
With his appetite filled, he returns to the sky,
Once again I hear that high-pitched cry.

Many years have now passed, his routine is the same,
But time has now ravaged his aging frame.
The harsh cold winters have hampered his way,
He’s forced to fly less, seeking easier prey.

In the end he settles, feeling the warmth of the sand,
He watches the others as they soar and land.
Slowly but surely he closes his eyes,
I shed a tear as his life’s last ember dies.

With the arrival of spring, I stroll the shore,
I see a new youngster destined to soar.
Stretching wings skyward to catch the breeze,
Perhaps it’s my king over the surf and the trees.*

Our thanks to Phil Brown. Makes you think, doesn’t it? The cycle of life. A generation passes; a new generation arises.
Phil’s gull lived his life well. His physiology – especially his graceful wings – enabled him to take to flight with ease and soar on the breezes and thermal updraughts. The gull’s sharp eyesight, his specially designed bill, his skills and instincts combined to sustain his life through fishing. As an omnivore, scavenging would have played a part. King Gull was born to soar, until he could soar no more, finally compensating by modifying his diet and activities.

Phil brings heart-touching poignancy to King Gull’s old-age decline and passing. It parallels our human experience. Perhaps we cannot ‘soar’ into the heights of human activity the way we once did, yet God has a promise for His children in their spiritual journey:

“Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint” (Isaiah 40:30-31 NIV).
He’s my hope. Yours too?

*"King Gull poem – used by author's permission: © Phil Brown, 2015.
The above article was published in Black's weekly column, P-Pep! in The Watford Guide-Advocate, June 25, 2015.

Peter's second book is a compilation of inspirational articles on a variety of themes from his weekly column. These are interspersed with brief expressions intended to encourage. Ebook edition is now available through Amazon.
ISBN: 978-0-9920074-2-3 (Angel Hope Publishing)
Peter's first book: “Parables from the Pond” – a children's / family book (mildly educational, inspirational in orientation, character reinforcing). Finalist – Word Alive Press. ISBN: 1897373-21-X. The book has found a place in various settings with a readership ranging from kids to senior adults.

Black's inspirational column, P-Pep! appears weekly in The Guide-Advocate (of Southwestern Ontario). His articles have appeared in 50 Plus Contact and testimony, and several newspapers in Ontario.


David Kitz said...

I'm soaring with you, Peter.

Glynis said...

Made me think of Jonathan Livingston Seagull - a book I read in my psychology class!
Also reminds me of, and makes me wonder all over again about the seagulls that appear out of nowhere in this rural community once the fields are being plowed. Gulls are brave creatures and such lovely visuals in Phil Brown's poem.

Love that 'hope-filled' scripture, too, Peter! Thanks.

Peter Black said...

Thanks David and Glynis.
Hmm, Jonathan Livingston Seagull - seems vaguely familiar, although I definitely hadn't read it. I'll have to mention it to Phil.~~+~~

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