Quills and Feathers

from My Indian Boyhood

Prairie-chicken, Greater

Tympanuchus cupido

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Pardon a serendipitous commentary, but when I just read this poem again, I thought how much of the poem's emotive and descriptive diction applied to the Native Americans of the plains, many of whose dances were patterned upon the local prairie-chickens and grouse. For both Indian and bird, one sees "the male, in feather-fan"—or "spirit feather"—dancing in "sacred ceremony"; having been "stalked . . . nearly to extinction," both are now more "legendary" than legion; and the neo-Romantic poet must wax nostalgic, for past "millennia," yearning herself for such culturally integral "strength" and "purpose."

Bibliographical information

Author: Hansen, Twyla (1949-)Johnsgard, Paul A. (1931-)

Book: Prairie-Chicken

Date: 2006

Publisher: Spring Creek Prairie Audubon Center

Project Information

Genre: Poetry