Ink and Light: “Winter Hunt” and Shakespeare’s Poem for Runners

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Winter Hunt: Saker Falcon, Kustai National Park, Mongolia

Prized by falconers for their beauty and power, Saker Falcons are endangered due to black market trading and habitat loss. They are the national bird of Mongolia.

           (From) The Winter’s Tale 
      Jog on, jog on, the foot-path way,
        And merrily hent the stile-a:
      A merry heart goes all day,
        Your sad tires in a mile-a.
William Shakespeare – lines from The Winter’s Tale, 1623

In otherwise good health, Shakespeare (1564-1616) died 3 days shy of 52. Many of his plays were published posthumously. According to one source, Shakespeare’s death followed a night of heavy drinking with Ben Johnson and Michael Drayton. An apocryphal tale or not, all of his plays contain references to drink.

Ink and Light: “For John Clare” and a Redpoll in Mongolia

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Thin Air: Common Redpoll, Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia

Redpolls breed in Arctic regions around the world, descending into lower latitudes in winter. A bird of the North, they generally are uncommon south of Canada.

For John Clare
The whole scene is fixed your mind,
the music all present,
as though you could see
each note as well as hear it.
John Ashbery, lines from For John Clare, published in 1969

John Ashbery’s (1927-) poetry has earned nearly every major award including the Pulitzer. The subject of this poem, John Clare (1793-1864), emerged from difficult early years to write beautiful poetry about the natural world before later being institutionalized for insanity.