Meet our native Bellbird - Korimako - a spirited little olive-green treasure with an unforgettable voice.
This is the song I wake to each morning -
Stills photograph - Pam Russell
Bellbird song recorded at dawn on the front steps of 22.
According to the ornithologist, W. H. Oliver, the bellbird was undoubtedly the chief performer in the chorus described by Joseph Banks when Captain Cook entered Queen Charlotte Sound during the first voyage of discovery. “I was awakened by the singing of the birds ashore, from whence we are distant not a quarter of a mile. Their numbers were certainly very great. They seemed to strain their throats with emulation, and made, perhaps, the most melodious wild music I have ever heard, almost imitating small bells, but with the most tunable silver imaginable, to which, may be, the distance was no small addition.”
And - for its mention of skin, rain, time and a stone that rang like a bell - a favourite Neruda poem...
TOO MANY NAMES
Mondays are meshed with Tuesdays
and the week with the whole year.
Time cannot be cut
with your exhausted scissors,
and all the names of the day
are washed out by the waters of night.
No one can claim the name of Pedro,
nobody is Rosa or Maria,
all of us are dust or sand,
all of us are rain under rain.
They have spoken to me of Venezuelas,
of Chiles and Paraguays;
I have no idea what they are saying.
I know only the skin of the earth
and I know it has no name.
When I lived amongst the roots
they pleased me more than the flowers did,
and when I spoke to a stone
it rang like a bell.
It is so long, the spring
which goes on all winter.
Time lost its shoes.
A year lasts four centuries.
When I sleep every night,
what am I called or not called?
And when I wake, who am I
if I was not I when I slept?
This means to say that scarcely
have we landed into life
than we come as if new-born;
let us not fill our mouths
with so many faltering names,
with so many sad formalities,
with so many pompous letters,
with so much of yours and mine,
with so much signing of papers.
I have a mind to confuse things,
write them up, make them new-born,
mix them up, undress them,
until all light in the world
has the oneness of the ocean,
a generous, vast wholeness,
a crackling, living fragrance.