I Really Really Hate Birds And That Ernst Painting Has Always Freaked Me Out, But…

(The following passage is a fictional excerpt from an ornithological journal.)

“Is it possible, I wonder, to study a bird so closely, to observe and catalogue its peculiarities in such minute detail, that it becomes invisible? Is it possible that while fastidiously calibrating the span of its wings or the length of its tarsus, we somehow lose sight of its poetry? That in our pedestrian descriptions of a marbled or vermiculated plumage we forfeit a glimpse of living canvases, cascades of carefully toned browns and golds that would shame Kandinsky, misty explosions of colour to rival Monet? I believe that we do. I believe that in approaching our subject with the sensibilities of statisticians and dissectionists, we distance ourselves increasingly from the marvelous and spell-binding planet of imagination whose gravity drew us to our studies in the first place.

When we stare into the catatonic black bead of a Parakeet’s eye we must teach ourselves to glimpse the cold, alien madness that Max Ernst perceived when he chose to robe his naked brides in confections of scarlet feather and the transplanted monstrous heads of exotic birds. When some ocean-going Kite or Tern is captured in the sharp blue gaze of our Zeiss lenses, we must be able to see the stop motion flight of sepia gulls through the early kinetic photographs of Muybridge, beating white wings tracing a slow oscilloscope line through space and time.”

Watchmen, Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons


  1. Hi michelle

    long time reader first time poster (big time geek)

    what with running out of lord of rings novels to adapt i hear that “they” r going to make a movie of “Watchmen” should be a nice antidote to klassic’s like “daredevil”

    P.S. belated congrat.s on the exams


  2. Interesting link, Jol. I like the poem too.

    Brian! So this is what it takes to draw you out of hiding. I must remember to make more posts about graphic novel geekdom. :) I don’t have the highest of hopes for any movie version of Watchmen though – I think they’d have to simplify it to an unacceptable extent to render it palatable to a mainstream audience.

    Having said that, a cast list seems to come to mind almost immediately – Sean Penn as Rorschach, Robert Redford as Adrian Veidt/Ozymandias, Jeff Goldblum as Daniel Dreiberg/Nite Owl, maybe Uma Thurman as Laurie, and, er, some tall muscular naked blue person as Jon/Dr Manhattan.

  3. Nicholas – yes, it was. An article in an ornithological journal, written by Daniel Dreiberg (Nite Owl). And I can’t really think of a better word either!

Comments are closed.