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Tony Grist

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Dove Song [Feb. 20th, 2009|11:24 am]
Tony Grist
Doves? pigeons? Is there a difference? I've never been sure. Anyway, I love the sound they make. It's something between a croon and a hoot and it means that spring is on its way. I hear it- as I heard it first thing this morning-  and I'm immediately 17 years old. Not that I want to be 17 - too much fear and uncertainty- but there's a certain blank-canvasy hopefulness about being 17 that never comes again- except insofar as you can capture it in memory. Doves/pigeons do it for me every time. It's 1968, I'm walking along a path beside the Lac de Neuchatel, the sun is shining, and I'm in love- have been for a couple of days and will be for a couple of days more- with Anne Cronk, the Canadian girl.

Tennyson- who was a whiz at onomatopoeia- got the effect of dove-song in the line that goes, "The moan of doves in immemorial elms".  Only for him it's a melancholy noise, whereas for me it's the soundtrack of love's young dream. 

[User Picture]From: methodius
2009-02-21 06:54 am (UTC)

Doves and pigeons

Doves are smaller and sleeker, pigeons are bigger and more untidy.

They make different noises, and the most evocative one for me is the Cape turtle dove (I think) which says "Coo-COOOO-Roo, Coo-COOOO-Roo". It takes me back to when I was 7, and our family was moving from Durban to Johannesburg, where my father had got a new job, but not a place to live, so we spent a month at the Valley Inn, Ingogo, which was about halfway. Ingogo was a little village, a hamlet, really, on the railway line and main road, and Valley Inn was an old stone building about a mile from the village, with bedrooms for four guests, with old-fashioned washstands with jugs of water. I had my seventh birthday there.

It turned out that the hoteliers, Win and Sheila Bradbury, we related - Shela was a cousin of my father, and their daughter Gillian was a year older than me, and we roamed the countryside, paddled in the rivers, and made a nuisance of ourselves, and all the time there was the incessant cooing of doves, from waking in the morning to going to sleep at night. One day Gillian's older brother Michael, who was 12 (an enormous age, filled with all knowledge and wisdom, and he taught me words like "bloody" and "fucking" whose meaning I only discovered later) trapped a dove under s sieve, plucked it and cooked it over an open fire. It was the first time I had seen intestines, and realised that we were not meat right through the middle. It tasted quite good too, but there was not much of it.

And those memories and many others are recalled whenever I hear doves.

Other birds don't bring back special memories, but doves always do.

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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2009-02-21 09:41 pm (UTC)

Re: Doves and pigeons

12 is an awesome age when you're a little kid. I remember having some older relative or friend's son of about that age come visit and he was amazing. He could climb trees I didn't even dare attempt.
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