Sunday Photo Fiction: The finch whisperer

177-10-october-16th-2016


 

Every morning the scuff-scuff of slippers on the garden path, loose sole slapping like a Labrador’s tongue.

His voice drifts through my open window, carried on a breeze scented by lilac and rubbish bins. His is a sing-song mumble, the hint of some old melody from the blackout, a spell to hold off the Luftwaffe.

He interrupts himself often – greetings, questions asked with no response – until his twittering mixes with the sparrows’ and finches’, his tone matching theirs, adjusting his accent so they might understand him better.

He’s the only one from the flats who uses the garden for anything other than for dumping extinct fridges and gutted pizza boxes, the only one to fill the space with a sound other than the thump of bass.

After the ambulance takes him away I skulk to the feeder, pour slippery seeds in his honour. But the birds have all flown – only drifting feathers and lime left behind – and it makes me wonder if he was talking to them after all.

 


Written for the Sunday Photo Fiction prompt. See the photo and write a post of around 200 words to go along. See here to join in and to read the other tales.

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42 thoughts on “Sunday Photo Fiction: The finch whisperer

    1. Thank you Jane. I admit, I liked that idea, that people sung those songs almost believing if they stayed cheerful enough they’d make it through alive. Untrue I’m sure, but I liked the idea all the same and am really glad you picked up on it. Thank you 🙂

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      1. That was my favorite line, too. Great picture of the man talking and singing to himself… Although the “sight” of that poor garden makes me want to go out and clean it up, plant something!

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      2. The Women’s Institute roped me into their choir; mum was a member for a while. I was often dragged into their activities. We sang wartime songs to audiences in a couple of old people’s homes. Their eyes closed and their skin smoothed out as they sang along. They became young again, safe in their war-torn towns and cities.

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      3. I have a strange fondness for some of those songs – ‘Underneath the Arches’, ‘The White Cliff of Dover’. There’s something very emotional about them, their message of community and hope, even if communities had actually been blown apart and things looked hopeless and the crime rate went through the roof!

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      4. I melt when I hear Marlene Deitrich’s voice singing ‘Lily Marlene’ and ‘Falling in Love Again’.
        I didn’t know the crime rate went up. It’s understandable, I suppose…

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      5. Funny singer, Marlene – a sort of speaking singer really, wasn’t she, and yet the sound was gorgeous and worked. Sadly, yes, the crime rate went through the roof. The blackout must have aided criminals no end, then there was the looting of bombsites and the black market. A strange time, with people coming together yet simultaneously pulling apart.

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      6. Some must have made a fortune. People were condemned for being part of it, but through so many years of scarcity, you can’t blame people for wanting some relief.

        Liked by 1 person

      7. And lots of carrots instead of sugar I believe. People had to be ingenious to make anything half decent. I fear we’d all be pretty useless at this kind of make do and mend now

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      8. I’m sure there’s a museum for anything somewhere in the world. There’s a hat museum I hear – and a pencil museum. Though I might have made that last one up 🙂

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      9. What’s that you say dearie, a rat museum? I’m a little deaf.
        The Cumberland pencil museum is currently closed, but the Icelandic Phallological museum may be worth a visit.
        Or not.

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      10. I had to look that up to see if you were joking – and of course you’re not! Though I’d rather go there than the museums of medieval torture instruments scattered through Germany.

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  1. I like what I observe about a shift in your subject matter, dipping into more on the domestic relationships, the subtleties in everyday life. Good stuff Lynn, the way you close strongly. Enjoy the start of your new week, and fall’s continued descent.

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    1. Thank you Bill. I quite enjoy the mixture of the normal and the fantastical – I’m writing an urban fantasy at the moment, so I guess it fits. Thanks for reading and I hope you’re enjoying the changing colours of the season – got to love the leaves at this time of year 🙂

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  2. This is really well written, in particular employing the use of sound and touch to build a picture. When I sit down and think, “Right, how am I going to inject some sensory cues into this piece?” I tend to always choose taste, smell and sight, but this shows you can do it so well with other senses. My only other point would be to ask if you meant “loose” rather than “lose” in the first line?

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    1. Thank you so much for spotting the typo – hate it when they slip through! All corrected now. And yes, the sensory writing is good fun isn’t it? I used to find myself focussing on the visual and have had to train myself to includethe other senses – hopefully it’s becoming more natural now. Thanks for reading

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    1. Yes, wouldn’t that be lovely, if they’d followed him there. Thank you very much 🙂 And I’ve only just realised this is you, dh! You’ve transmogriphied and a very prety new guise too 🙂

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  3. I love how you created the sounds in this, you can almost hear them, and the narrator trying to help with the birds to carry on his legacy, but missing that little something he has. That auditory spell.

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  4. I enjoy the image of this man communicating with these birds, adjusting his accent. It would be so interesting to watch. But as you say above, maybe he just knew the right seed to buy? How sad he passed on.

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