Song thrush: 'no mean preacher'

A painting, partly of a song thrush, that speaks of the destruction of the natural world for the benefit of humans. Acrylics on gesso board – 52 x 41 cm


This is a larger painting that took some time to complete. While the subject is ostensibly a song thrush, it has multiple layers of symbolism. The essence of the work is the destruction of the natural environment for the benefit (and ultimately the doom) of one species – humans.

The song of the thrush is one of the most beautiful in this country. Once our country was temperate rainforest and the beautiful improvisatory calls of thrushes made it every bit as exotic as a jungle.

The text is from Wordsworth, and it speaks for itself:

The Tables Turned
Up! up! my Friend, and quit your books;
Or surely you’ll grow double:
Up! up! my Friend, and clear your looks;
Why all this toil and trouble?
The sun above the mountain’s head,
A freshening lustre mellow
Through all the long green fields has spread,
His first sweet evening yellow.
Books! ’tis a dull and endless strife:
Come, hear the woodland linnet,
How sweet his music! On my life,
There’s more of wisdom in it.
And hark! how blithe the throstle sings!
He, too, is no mean preacher:
Come forth into the light of things,
Let Nature be your teacher.
She has a world of ready wealth,
Our minds and hearts to bless—
Spontaneous wisdom breathed by health,
Truth breathed by cheerfulness.
One impulse from a vernal wood
May teach you more of man,
Of moral evil and of good,
Than all the sages can.
Sweet is the lore which Nature brings;
Our meddling intellect
Mis-shapes the beauteous forms of things:—
We murder to dissect.
Enough of Science and of Art;
Close up those barren leaves;
Come forth, and bring with you a heart
That watches and receives.

If you like magical realism, have a look at my Revenge of the Swifts and my rose with a green bottle fly.