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Birds on a Wire

by Compelling Photography on March 12, 2016

Birds on a WireI liked this view of birds on a wire. The telephone pole and wires created interesting angles in the frame. It was taken at Winchelsea Harbour.

But what does the phrase ‘bird on a wire’ actually refer to? The song written by Leonard Cohen seems to have coined the phrase first, or at least brought it to mainstream attention. There are two possible meanings – if the answers on a Google search can be considered definitive. The first is a method of trapping birds by applying glue to overhead wires. The second refers to a bird that has a wire attaching one if its legs to a perch. So whilst it might be able to fly, it can only go so far. I think the second is the more plausible definition, especially when considering the lyrics of Cohen’s song, which are below.

“Bird On The Wire”
Like a bird on the wire,
like a drunk in a midnight choir
I have tried in my way to be free.
Like a worm on a hook,
like a knight from some old fashioned book
I have saved all my ribbons for thee.
If I, if I have been unkind,
I hope that you can just let it go by.
If I, if I have been untrue
I hope you know it was never to you.
Like a baby, stillborn,
like a beast with his horn
I have torn everyone who reached out for me.
But I swear by this song
and by all that I have done wrong
I will make it all up to thee.
I saw a beggar leaning on his wooden crutch,
he said to me, “You must not ask for so much.”
And a pretty woman leaning in her darkened door,
she cried to me, “Hey, why not ask for more?”

Oh like a bird on the wire,
like a drunk in a midnight choir
I have tried in my way to be free.

There was of course the 1990 film starring Goldie Hawn and Mel Gibson, but that is best forgotten!

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