A Missal Thrush


Letter from the man who signs himself "Your gentle reader, Tom Nisbet." He is grateful for a letter of his printed here some time ago, but protests - "he is only a miner poet, his verse the very pits." And he tells us there is more "if you can stand it." Well, here goes: The old man sat in the gar- den, / His features lined and drawn, / A filing of his finger nails / On the beautiful manicured lawn. Then a verse in which a bird in the bush chirps a religious office. So he writes "that's a missal thrush." Last verse: "Sitting at peace in the gar- den / Pondering many things / With jet streams in the central blue / And the air full of lingus wings." Anyway, "thanks for listening," he concludes. It will be difficult to listen to a thrush without wondering if it is a song thrush - almost extinct around here - and if it is, then certainly it has to be a missal thrush. For the mistle thrush makes "a rasping `tuc-tuc-tuc' as its normal call, according to David Cabot's Irish Birds, though it may sing `loudly' with repeated phrases similar to the blackbird but lacking mellowness." Anyway isn't it known as "storm cock", too, from its habit of singing loudly when the wind gets up and the rain lashes down? The French for song thrush has somehow a better ring: they call it the "grive musicienne". Y

Clarification: On Saturday, writing about a seven-year-old who apparently often collects wood for his father to saw - the latter finds it relieves tension, the sentence appeared: "The law it appears, often collects the raw material for him." For law, read lad. - Y