Friday, 5 June 2009

Kingfisher- Fisherking

The elusive kingfisher. I have only seen it once some years ago; ironically while walking along the Barnet Open Space by a brook, near Whetstone in north London. A flash of blue, then gone .... I have been haunting watery places ever since in hope of another sighting. A quest for the allusive, the fleeting, the dancing harlequin of life.
The legend of the FisherKing is in some ways symbolic of this quest. It concerns the legend of the 'Holy Grail', a mythical concept; some think it is the lost chalice that is associated with the life and death of Jesus. For myself, I think it is the quest for something allusive, just out of reach. It is the coming of spring with its blaze of light, blossom and birdsong. It is the kingfisher swooping across a stream; the call of the swallows when they return in May; wild swans in flight; my one and only sighting of a pair of goldcrests (the tiniest of all birds). It is so often hidden in the ordinary .....
And a man stood there, as still as moss,
A lichen form that stared;
With an old blind hound that, at a loss,
Forever around him fared,
With a snarling fang half bared.
I looked at the man; I saw him plain;
Like a dead weed, gray and wan,
Or a breath of dust. I looked again--
And man and dog were gone,
Like wisps of the graying dawn...
"Wasteland" Madison Cawein
The Myth ofThe Fisher King is one of the many 'Holy Grail' legends.
The Fisher King is the guardian of the Grail, which, in medieval legends, is the cup used by Jesus at the last supper and which was used to collect drops of his blood at the crucifixion.
The Fisher King is dying, his kingdom is dying around him, he's a man who's probably seen too much of life - he's experienced betrayal and tragedy. His life is slowly crumbling, and his kingdom goes barren. He has also lost the Grail. It's the one thing that can save him, but he's lost the ability to see it and experience it.
A fool comes along and finds the Grail right next to his bed and restores (it to) the king; the fool, a pure and innocent soul, demonstrates the kind of compassion that can free the king from mortal anguish.
The Kingfisher Hide at Slimbridge, though sadly no sightings on this visit, the search continues .....
Note: the photo image of the kingfisher is courtesy of the internet (BBC site).