fine feathers three

three feathers

The discussion about el Centro Educativo Los Morales and whether it might be a centre for teaching lost morals made me think of Thomas Hardy’s The Ruined Maid. I’ve always been fond of ‘Melia.

I suspect her “bright feathers three” would have been rather more ostentatious than the ones I’ve found to illustrate the post, but the cats don’t get much chance at anything more colourful round here.

I think the black and white one came from a woodpecker, and, as far as I know, was shed naturally. The blue one is from a rabilargo, whose wing was left on my doorstep, presumably as a comment on the inadequacy of a kibble diet for outdoor cats. And the rather fine spotted quill is one I picked up from a pile of feathers in the olive grove next door. Whether the cats worked as a team to bring down one of the neighbour’s guinea fowls, I don’t know, but I’d have thought it would have been too big a job for one on their own.

I’m hoping this will be the last post about cats and hunting for a while; perhaps if the weather brightens up a bit, I’ll be able to get out and find something else to blog about. And maybe something else to write poems about. In the meantime, here’s ‘Melia, in all her glory:


The Ruined Maid
(Thomas Hardy)

“O ‘Melia, my dear, this does everything crown!
Who could have supposed I should meet you in Town?
And whence such fair garments, such prosperi-ty?” –
“O didn’t you know I’d been ruined?” said she.

– “You left us in tatters, without shoes or socks,
Tired of digging potatoes, and spudding up docks;
And now you’ve gay bracelets and bright feathers three!” –
“Yes: that’s how we dress when we’re ruined,” said she.

“At home in the barton you said ‘thee’ and ‘thou,’
And ‘thik oon,’ and ‘theäs oon,’ and ‘t’other’; but now
Your talking quite fits ‘ee for high compa-ny!” –
“Some polish is gained with one’s ruin,” said she.

“Your hands were like paws then, your face blue and bleak
But now I’m bewitched by your delicate cheek,
And your little gloves fit as on any la-dy!” –
“We never do work when we’re ruined,” said she.

– “You used to call home-life a hag-ridden dream,
And you’d sigh, and you’d sock; but at present you seem
To know not of megrims or melancho-ly!” –
“True. One’s pretty lively when ruined,” said she.

– “I wish I had feathers, a fine sweeping gown,
And a delicate face, and could strut about Town!” –
“My dear – a raw country girl, such as you be,
Cannot quite expect that. You ain’t ruined,” said she.

Author: don't confuse the narrator

Exploring the boundary between writer and narrator through first person poetry, prose and opinion

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