Tennyson and the Chirping Hedge Sparrow

Hedge-SparrowStunted right wingAll over the weekend this little hedge sparrow has been returning to serenade itself dancing up and down in front of my french windows. Madly chirping away and fluffing up its feathers until it saw me with my camera. When it flew off I noticed that its right wing was significantly smaller than its left. And, that led my train of thought to wonder why it found its own reflection so utterly enticing.

I thought perhaps it wasn’t used to getting attention from other sparrows because it looked odd and uneven. The famous “Nature, red in tooth and claw” line from Tennyson’s poem ‘In Memoriam A.H.H.’ sprang to mind.

In Memoriam AHH

A quotation that has been lifted from a long, reflective poem on a central theme of grief. This canonical Victorian poem also works in and around the controversial science/nature/faith debate of the time. Although the poem was published nine years before Darwin’s ‘The Origin of Species’ the “Nature, red in tooth and claw” has subsequently become a shorthand summing up the harshness of evolution.

No mate for the mad hedge sparrow then.

Hiding in Parsley