Sunday, August 25, 2013

Basho and the Grebes

Basho, grebes, endangered species, extinct species
The Japanese haiku poet Matsuo Basho

I've been writing stories about recently extinct species to raise awareness that the latest spasm of species loss, which we are in the midst of, includes much more than the Dodo, the passenger pigeon and the great Auk. One of my stories, "Basho and the Grebes," was just published in the online journal Toad. The story begins like this:
This is a story that ends prematurely. Once there was a diving bird that lived happily on a lake. This grebe, like grebes everywhere, had an elaborate mating ritual. Males and females faced each other, bobbed their long swan necks and preened their feathers in rhythm. They dove into the shallows, rose up breast to breast and, feet paddling furiously, waltzed around each other with a bill full of reeds as if proposing to build a floating nest together. Then they dashed side by side across the surface of the lake like fools in love before diving under.
You can read the rest of the story, and find out how the great Japanese haiku poet is connected, here.

And, the clip below shows aspects of the grebes' mating ritual (the same clip is here):



  1. An old silent pond...
    A frog jumps into the pond,
    splash! Silence again.

    by Basho

  2. Congrats on having this piece published! The first part looks fascinating. I hope your story will move people to awareness and help them get involved in species loss awareness.