Kielder Terza Rima


The material for this poem came from  the fascinating and detailed Kielder Osprey  blog, most of the facts from the Timeline  2013 section.  There are some spectacular videos as well as the daily updates and photos.  At  nest 1  there are two birds, White YA and Mrs YA,  with at least  two eggs so far and at Nest 2, Yellow 37 and Mrs Yellow 37 with three eggs.  I wasn’t able to fit in the fact that not only being principal fish provider, the male takes his turn at incubating to allow the female to stretch her wings.


Ospreys back in force at Kielder
anxiously watched through telescope
Safely at the nest is YA, the builder.

Then arrive two womenfolk
to interfere, poke here and there
tweak hollow of moss and grass, bespoke


for safe warm place for eggs where
they will stay and incubate –
black-headed temptress or wife of last year.


Faithless male is willing to mate
with both many times – an alluring display,
but cad and  newbie settle down to wait


through anxious days  til she’s ready to lay
without backward thought of old wife scorned –
who has been seen,  ready to play

the courtship game if new husband is found.
Cad and dark new wife are content
To fête success when home is adorned

with brown-speckled eggs til she is spent,
portent of future ospreys at Kielder.

This botched and clumsy attempt at a Terza Rima is written for dVerse.  I don’t know why I found it so difficult – maybe because I was trying to force it into  pentameter form.  In the end I gave up  and settled for tetrameter.   I was also anxious to meet the deadline for Mister Linky.  Mistake.  Last time I wrote a Terza Rima it took days and then more days.


All poetry, prose and pictures posted here, except where otherwise stated, is my own, and may only be used elsewhere with my expressed permission. Please don't be inhibited from correcting my bloopers and making suggestions: Most of what I post here is instant, ill-considered and off-the-cuff, in serious need of editing.
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19 Responses to Kielder Terza Rima

  1. Snakypoet (Rosemary Nissen-Wade) says:

    I haven’t even attempted it yet; might manage it by the time we have Open Link Night. I think you did well. You made me want to know what you were teling me about the ospreys.


  2. Anna :o] says:

    Oh well done!

    Your poem brought back memories of long ago, holidaying in Northumberland and a trip to Kielder Forest. Didn’t notice the ospreys – only had eyes for the then love of my life at the time…

    Anna :o]


  3. aprille says:

    Hiya Viv,
    What a breath of fresh air: making the meter knuckle under to what you need it for.
    And as for the subject matter of this poem: I bow down in respect. So original.


  4. kkkkaty1 says:

    You captured the tone of the world of the bird’s environment such a lovely keen way.


  5. Mary says:

    Viv, I really DID find this interesting. I find this particular form hard too, but I think it is good to stretch oneself. Sometimes a poem becomes an ‘exercise.’ And that is okay. It will probably be easier next time….for both of us.


  6. As a bird watcher I certainly enjoyed this. In the past I’ve holidayed in Abernathy (Scotland) and watched the Osprey there. I was surprised about the infidelity, as they usually reunite year after year, but then I see it seems the Mrs was late in arriving…so he might have thought her dead!


  7. claudia says:

    interesting that tetrameter was easier for you …but i think we have a personal fav rhythm that flows naturally with the voice, maybe that’s why…cool on the ospreys and you managed to pack a lot into your verse


  8. You are amazing, the way you tackle these forms.


    • vivinfrance says:

      The form is not everything, though – just a bit of a hurdle placed in the way of expressing what I want to say.


      • And there you have it – if it’s a hurdle, you should find a form that suits what you want to say.

        I have modified many of my haiku over the years. Going back to them, I realised my enthusiasm for the form blinded me to shortcomings in the poems. Once I released them, they improved.


  9. brian miller says:

    nice…i watch the ospreys through another blog…pretty cool to watch them this time of year….enjoyed the rhythm of your words, not one for forced meter personally as i’d rather hear the natural song…


  10. Tony Maude says:

    Viv, you are too hard on yourself. This is a very enjoyable poem to read. We used to go to the Tweeddale ospreywatch at Kailzie Gardens near Peebles. I’ve also been to the one in Wigtown. Writing tough forms to a deadline is hard – I had the advantage of knowing what was coming … smiles.


  11. Very interesting to read about the osprey’s, sounds like a real popular guy, as for pentameter vs tetrameter I fully agree… pentameter always more cumbersome… Thank you for the read.


  12. viv blake says:

    Joanna Dailey, who is the energy behind the osprey blog responded to my cheeky poem: “One comment would be that birds don’t have morals and ethics but an imperative to breed, so to call YA a cad is a bit mean! He did try to hang on for his mate before succumbing to the dark headed temptress to be fair to him! Also although her looks and his behaviour (mating straight away when she appeared suggest she was last year’s mate) we can’t be certain. I don’t think that matters for your poem though.”

    Ah well, poetic licence has a lot to answer for!


  13. VIv, I was wondering, does “YA” refer to the Y chromosome, thus, Male, and A meaning First? Just wondered. I went to the site and they assumed we all knew…

    I loved this take on the ospreys, how they don’t mate for life (and I’m guessing few birds do… penguins are monogamous, I think, but are they birds??). The making and tending of the nest…

    About the form – hey, at least you try it. Hard with a deadline, which is why I don’t attempt them. I’m like you – don’t want to force a poem, like trying to get two pounds of sausage in a one-pound sack! Loved this, very gracefuly, and I wouldn’t have guessed it was not… perfect! So there. Amy


    • viv blake says:

      YA refers to the letters on its leg ring, which can be read through binoculars so that they know where returning birds have come from. There is a video of ringing last year’s fledglings in the top bar of the Osprey blog. Normally Ospreys mate for life – this year’s behaviour is rare.


  14. I admire your tenacious devotion to your art. I love the story revealed in your poem, the love triangle between our fair weather friends


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