Robes of Purest White

As mentioned in Plum Pigeon, we have a native-pigeon-couple spending courting time in our blossoming plum tree. Late on 11th September I noted their presence in the tree and managed to get out there with my cellphone camera.

Today while considering this post I decided to search for poems about the New Zealand Pigeon and was *amazed* at my first search result – a long NZ poem from 1845! [For context for folks overseas, the Treaty of Waitangi/Te Tiriti o Waitangi had only been signed five years before].

I’ve included a few lines.. from Canto II of The Pigeons’ Parliament; a Poem of the Year 1845. In Four Cantos, With Notes. ~by William Golder [nb: use the ‘Next Section’ links if you wish to read the poem]

New Zealand Pigeon
kererū, Hemiphaga novaeseelandiae
~lines below from The Pigeons’ Parliament (poem link above)

I praised her robes of purest white,
My green coat too gave her delight;

Thus friendship grew!—My heart though pain’d
Grew cheerful as her love I gain’d;

Own photos, posted by Liz; Exploring Colour (2022)

18 thoughts on “Robes of Purest White

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  1. Again, these are very handsome pigeons, Liz. And I like the lines of the canto you chose to accompany your photos. I followed the link, but I don’t think I can read all 74 pages (plus 15 pages of notes, which would probably be necessary to really understand all the historical allusions).
    Keep enjoying your Plum Pigeons.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Our native pigeons are very beautiful. Thank you, Tanja. The poem is challenging, even for me! I’ve only read about half of the Cantos – just far enough to get my ‘lines’ that I wanted. What amazes me is that this man, way back then, would write a long poem about pigeons – most Europeans back then despised the native flora and fauna – or at best were quite unconcerned for their welfare (sadly). Native pigeons are protected now and are commonly seen down here in the south! Yay 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Another beautiful set of this pigeon pair, Liz. I was happy to read in your comments above that they aren’t pests.

    Truly amazing that Mr. Golder wrote this piece, and that it got published in that time period! I did click the link, and so far have just read from the preface…”the Poem throughout is a compound of the satirical, allegorical, and descriptive, with a little sprinkling of the senti- mental added by way of relish.”

    I think the relish may spur me to read on!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for that Ellen! Those words went over my head I think, coz I remember the “relish” bit 😀 I can only handle small amounts at a time of the archaic language and style but with some of my readers showing interest I’m encouraged to continue making efforts to read more! That’s a nice thing about blogging 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Your pigeons look much more elegant than our resident woodpigeons. (We have a trio and they can appear clumsy and inelegant but make me smile – until they eat the leaves from the lilac!)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Our native pigeons are clumsy in the canopy but amazingly acrobatic fliers in the air when showing off their aerial skills at courting time. They show-off, swooping high in the sky, suddenly stalling dramatically, then gliding gracefully down. They can be real attention-getters when they want to be (generally they’re so quiet you’re lucky to notice them). Although they have this thing for perching on power lines, out in the open, which is very obvious 😀

      Liked by 1 person

    1. No, not at all like the ferals! They adapt to being in the city environment but are usually up in tree canopy or perched on power lines! They eat berries and leaf buds. In Dunedin they hang out in or near the Botanic Garden and other areas of the green belt that have native plants – or exotics that they’ve found they like – e.g. willow or birch. and they love laburnum 😀

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Spring’s arrived indeed! which pleases me no end 🙂
      The poem’s very long and old-fashioned but in case anyone’s interested I put the link in.. I’ve probably read less then half but was happy to find something to accompany my photos 😀 I was impressed that *anyone* back then would bother to write a substantial poem about any of our native wildlife as not many settler people seemed to value our native flora and fauna back then – apart for economic value and profit of course. In regard to this, I’ll copy a paragraph from the preface into a separate comment …

      Liked by 1 person

      1. ~further to my previous comment, a paragraph from the preface:
        “It may be asked, why I wrote on such a subject. It so happened one day, when assisting at the building of the Hutt stockade, I was working along with a person who, like myself, was a little acquainted with the “Muse;” during a little conversation, I asked him why he did not compose something on New Zealand; when, with a strong affirmation, he declared he saw nothing in the place worth writing about. I thought differently, but said nothing, as I was at that time amusing myself in my leisure evening’s hours, by writing my songs, already published I began shortly afterwards to think of trying a larger piece, when the idea of the “Pigeons’ Parliament” struck me so forcibly that I felt as if I could not get rest till it was begun; and no small amusement it gave mo while writing, and I hope the reader will receive no less.”

        Liked by 2 people

        1. That was my impression Tracy. I’ve just had a re-look at the first Canto and found it more approachable on 2nd reading. I was highly amused at the Pigeon President saying, “Besides, our race is somewhat more / Of age than his, –being made before. –” and I laughed ‘coz that claim as based on the Creation Story is indeed true, with the animals being created before man! 😀


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