Joanna Gilman Hyde

"Good Morning, World!"

Tag: bird watching


The Hawk Kitchen Outpost 12:17pm

They flew above Me

surrounding My View

by the hundreds —

a thick flock of Blue Jays

where before I had always seen

Their Brilliance singularly

or in pairs —

I saw Them all around

weighted in The Scraggly Apple

even landing on the deck —

it doesn’t matter what

I was thinking or

where I was standing

— EYE Saw Them —


THE COAST GUARD, Shelburne, N.S., Tuesday, July 20th, 1993 — 1B


by Harold Hart

Joanna Hyde of Shelburne has

been busy recently in her back-

yard painting the design of a four-

teen point maple leaf on a huge

40 by 30 foot map of Canada.

The fourteen points mark loca-

tions in Labrador and Quebec

where Hyde would like to position

light reflecting surfaces to reflect

star-like points of light in the out-

line of a maple leaf into outer


The large map arrived in Shel-

burne from Ottawa on May 17

where it had been hanging on an

outside wall of the National Arts

Centre.  It was put there by the

Canadian Conference of the Arts

earlier in the year in an effort to

pressure the Federal Govern-

ment to stop cutting funding for

arts programs.  It remained there

until the April 26 budget was


Joanna learned about the map

from an article in The Chronicle

Herald.  Being interested in what

is called public art – the kind of

art which is large and displayed

outdoors – Joanna decided she

wanted the map.  She contacted

the coordinator of the Canadian

Conference of the Arts and was

told she could have the map if she

would pay the shipping charges.

Joanna agreed and wound up the

new owner for just less than two

hundred dollars.

The map consists of twelve sec-

tions that were circulated to

more than 150 art galleries,

theatres, and schools in each

province where signatures were

affixed to protest government

funding cutbacks for the arts.

Once joined together the pieces

make a huge map of the country

with more than 400,000 signatures

appearing on it…

“Well, what is its weight?”

“Oh, it’s Dead Weight.”

“That’s OK.  I just cremated

My Mother —

She didn’t weigh very much.”

After She painted Her 14-point Maple Leaf

Joanna lay down

and almost died.

She almost died

for years and years.

Long after one husband

cut up the map for tarps

to cover wood piles

at Her First Marital Home

Joanna revived eventually

on poetry and bird song

to find in the Summer of 2016

the abandoned map sections —

one with moss and ferns growing

out of it —

With the help of Her Adult Children

She retrieved three surviving pieces

of The Giant “Ties That Bind

and dragged them across the county

to The East Side of Her Hawk House.

She laid them out

busy in Her Back Yard

hosing and scrubbing a 23-year build up

of Nova Scotia’s Forested Fate

stained and distressed

front and back

to dry in the sun

with the help of a couple of old towels —

not Her Grey One —

there was left no semblance of the configuration

of Canada — only the ghost

of a few red lines

a few patches of indelible signatures

and one partial strip of big black letters

along what must have been

the bottom — in English and French:


She arranged the pieces

some still edged by sturdy grommets —

into what became a nearly perfect square

measuring 27 feet by 23.5 feet:

She had Her Canvas.

She would paint on the BACK.

She folded up the three sections

and with the help of Her Second Husband

She piled Them onto the floor

of The Hawk Utility Room —

the floor She had been using

for Her Most Recent Paintings

and as She writes, She thinks

of building a platform

a stage

perhaps next summer

if there is the same lack of rain

as this one —

She would secure The Triptych

upside down, with the foundation

of Canadian signatures — what’s left of the original


and setting up Her Gallons of Paint

with broom and hose nearby

She would paint and sweep and hose

Stratosphere of The Universe




The Hawk Window Seat 8:25am

My Cow Bird is back

perched on My Car Window

in front of His Mirror

bowing to Himself

as He fluffs up His Plumage

tail out-spread

while letting loose

His delightedly watery chirp


The East Side of The Hawk House 10:56am

EYE have heard The Call

of The Brown-headed Cow Bird

perched upon M(EYE) car mirror

He is the very essence

of falling droplets

and His Liquid Melody

plop plop

excuses His Actions!!


The Hawk Deck 7:55am

Could there be a mate somewhere

to the little bird who died

last night?

Could that bird in The Scraggly Apple

who remained silent

as I watched Him or Her

be at a loss now

for its survival?


The Hawk Queen Bed 7:36pm

I watched a crow peck

the remaining shepherd’s pie

from last night’s supper


The Tomato-coloured Couch 4:38pm

A Brown-headed Cow Bird

has taken a fancy to My Car Mirror —

with binoculars from My Upstairs Window

I watched Him preen

in front of His Reflection

for minutes elapsing

until He crapped

and a cat

scared Him away


The Hawk Kitchen Outpost 2:15pm

I saw a black-headed Grackle

atop My Scraggly Apple

as I put together

a shepherd’s pie

and stopped

to watch

His Darkness

against The Sky


The Tomato-coloured Couch 5:12pm

I have just spent an hour at least

shielding My Eyes from the sun

to watch a flock of Starlings

starting in Our Yard —

heading across the street

in elongated splashes of sparkle

every time They took off —

and matted together on either

roof lines, grass or wires

in Their elusive group-think

I would give anything

to know


The Hawk Beach 11:03am

EYE sat in that

Silver Sun

with The Beach spread

to My Back —

I’d turned an ankle

when looking up

to a flock of birds

gutting the wires

& taking off —

EYE followed Their Cloud


among the rocks

like a school

of Silver Fish

& when They passed


I straightened up

to watch