Kingfisher in Flight

For Brian Taylor

An unexpected kingfisher.

I might not have been there
in the hide if it wasn’t for you,
your teachings on the agency of birds,
the transformations of souls,
auspices of sapphire-blue.

The sad news was unexpected too.

It took me back to our brief meetings:
how you always wore binoculars,
showed me my first goosander.

I thought I’d never see a kingfisher
let alone a halcyon wonder so close
whistling from branch to branch.

You’d have called it ‘a showing’.

I e-mailed you to share the news.

Another e-mail flash from the blue
jolts me back to your careful records
on alcedo atthis and ‘the best views’.

You wrote of death with such beauty
citing Ovid’s resurrection of Alcyone:

a kingfisher in flight – ‘a departing light’.

Kingfisher in Flight


Brian Taylor, a dedicated animist and the author of Animist Jottings, passed away on the 13th of February. I was particularly moved by Brian’s writings on kingfishers and admired his advocation of an animism deeply rooted in the natural world that had room for magical encounters and the otherworldly too. Although we only met in person a few times (most memorably when he came to Penwortham and pointed out a goosander on the Ribble and when we visited Bridestones and marvelled at the expressions of the rocks and the flying ants) we shared many fruitful conversations in the blogosphere and through e-mail. Brian was one of the wisest, most caring, thoughtful, and articulate people I have ever met. He will be missed.

Picture with Brian Taylor Bridestones 5th September 2014

Brian Taylor and myself at Bridestones, September 5th, 2014