The Death of the White-Winged Dove


Clyde Grauke

Our backyard is a place of solace, or at least I have heard that said by a few who have looked out our kitchen window. More than a few others have said it is pretty . . . all of which rather amuses me as well as pleases me, since I mostly just try to maintain a balance between the cultured and the wild.

Part of the wild involves providing birdseed and water for the birds and an occasional squirrel. Among our frequent visitors are a growing number of white-winged doves. Since they had previously not been very common, and they are neat birds that I like a lot, their increase in numbers has been something I have been glad to see. However, unexpectedly this morning, while mowing grass and while preoccupied with whether or not it was worth the trouble to mow the grass at the end of September, I realized I was looking at a dead white-winged dove, lying right there in front of me.

I looked him over and I could see no injury. He was lying there on his stomach, his wings partially open, as if he had been in the midst of going somewhere. His head was turned a little to the side . . . maybe to get a little more comfortable . . . his eyes were closed.

I considered what could have brought him to this pass . . . possibly parasites, possibly he was struck a blow by a passing car and managed to make it to my yard before he had to succumb to his internal injuries. Maybe my yard had come to mean something dear and comfortable to him . . . his home after a fashion, and he had made his injured way home to die. Who knows what or where his real home was or where all he had flown, the paths he had followed before showing up on my doorstep. Like the hired man in the poem by Robert Frost, he had found his way to the place that felt the most like home when it came his time to come to the end of his story. A need we all have . . . to find our way, at the end of the day, to a place of solace.

© Clyde Grauke


Bio:  Clyde is a an artist, photographer, and writer.  His art and photography have been published in Ascent Aspirations, Cella's Round Trip, Cezanne's Carrot, Eclecticism, Fickle Muses, and Sacramento Poetry, Art, and Music.  His literary works have been published in American Review Lifestyle Journal, Bitterroot International Poetry Journal, Hoi Polloi, and Sacramento Poetry, Art, and Music.  Some of his stories are available at