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NaPoWriMo Day One: Funeral Song For A Bird

Funeral Song For a Bird

Small, I am so small
I never knew before
the fall, before the fall
I never knew that I was small

How vast the sky is, how vast!
And so was I, once
And so was I, then
How vast was I
When in the sky?

Earth, heavy earth
I am beholden to
the earth, my lower berth
I am beholden to the earth

How sweet the song is, how sweet!
And so was I, once
And so I die, then
How sweet the song
When I am gone?

I whipped this poem up yesterday afternoon (yes, I’m already cheating) while working on a new story. Inspired by a article of all things, the story is about a girl named Farra and a bear named Abram. It’s all still very amorphous, but the way the world is shaping up, there are four localized but independent clans which all have their own animal god. These clans are bird (sun-and-sky people), bear (dank-and-dirt people), horse (wind-and-grass people) and cat (tooth-and-claw people). Farra is a member of the bird clan. When she meets the dying Abram in the woods, he asks her to sing him alive again. This is a somewhat fantastical world where music has immense power, so not an unreasonable request, except that Farra knows only bird songs. Bird songs shouldn’t work on bears, because they’re all about flight. So Farra sings him the funeral song, which is the only bird song for a bird that won’t fly again.

In my other drafts of fantasy stories I’ve often written about songs but never actually taken the time to write out lyrics. This is partly because I am usually not good with structure or rhyme, which tend to differentiate poetry from lyrics. I’ve always wanted to include songs in my fantasy writing, though, because it always reminds me of Tolkien and other classic fantasy literature. It makes me feel a little more like I’m participating in the bardic tradition from which fantasy was born.

I imagine this song to be slow and low, appropriate for a funeral, but with a touch of innocence; a young bird, injured, laying on the ground and looking up at the sky, slowly realizing that she will never fly again. She had no idea of her place in the world, no idea that her time in the sky would end and that she would be forced back down to earth. When I imagine Farra’s voice, I hear it in straight mezzo, very little vibrato and with a breathy edge. So to any musician friends of mine who want to tinker with a composition, please feel free! Only at least make sure to have the questions end like questions. If you want the full passage from the text I’ve written so far, just email me. Please and thank you!

Day one, down.

4 thoughts on “NaPoWriMo Day One: Funeral Song For A Bird

  1. I like it, and I like the little touch of innocence that comes through, too! (Funnily enough my first poem which I just posted up ended up being super innocent). But I like it, and I like your story idea too, it sounds interesting. 🙂
    One day down, twenty-nine to go 😛

    1. Thank you! I like a little touch of innocence in poetry. I think it makes it more tender.

      Bring it on. I am ready.

  2. I can see it as song and like some of sneaky/subtle interior rhymes.


    1. Thanks very much. 🙂

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