In Terms of Venery

Blue Cranes, 16 March 2018. Copyright 2018 Forgotten Fields. All rights reserved.
A small herd of Blue Cranes (Grus paradisea) on a hilltop. (Taken 16 March 2018 in the Overberg region of the Western Cape of South Africa.)

In the “Cranes and Sheep” poetic sketch I am presently developing, I refer to the creatures in the title as I often encounter them: in small congregations on the hillsides. In terms of venery (that is, hunting) both are collectively described as a “herd” (along with “sedge/sege” or “siege” for cranes and “flock” for sheep).

I have long been fascinated by terms of venery for they possess a poetry of their own: there is a flamboyance of flamingos, a charm of goldfinches, an ostentation of peacocks, a bouquet of pheasants, an unkindness of ravens, a lamentation of swans and—without a doubt my favourite—an exaltation of larks!

I am certain “an exaltation of larks” was the origin of my “An Exaltation” title as the sketch was composed in 2017 when my interest in the subject was at its peak. So smitten was I with its figurative power that it must have lingered with me, later to emerge as a title. I am pleased it did—“exaltation” is a glorious word!

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