Seagulls can be quite pesky. The loud, harsh sounds they make are no music to the ear. An Encyclopedia Britannica article describes seagulls as “adaptable opportunists” that feed on whatever food they can find. “Some of the larger gulls,” it notes, “prey on the eggs and the young of other birds, including their own kind.” Despite their notoriety, these birds continue to captivate many people with their beauty, resilience and freedom.
Here’s a poignant poem inspired by seagulls:
by Gerald Gould (English, 1885–1936)
Two seagulls flying
Alone and away,
Gold in the dying
Gold of the day,
Soon will turn silver, soon
Pass out of sight:
Silvered they’ll be in the moon,
And sped in the night.
But never I hear
Music cry from the strings,
And never my dear
Sits by me and sings,
But I shut my eyes,
And the soul looks far,
And there, lost gold in golden skies,
My seagulls are.
How beauty, wondering, wakes,
Who knows, who knows?
For beauty the heart breaks
At the song’s close.
Flashing, sailing, turning,
From all but themselves apart,
My gulls are flames burning
At beauty’s heart.
Text of poem courtesy of the University of Toronto Libraries. Originally published in ‘The Augustan Books of English Poetry: Gerald Gould’ edited by Humbert Wolfe (London: Ernest Benn Ltd, 1928)
The following New Age song is one of the tracks in Devoured by the Comfort Zone, debut album of The Mind Orchestra headed by Nick Gent and made up of over 25 musicians from around the world:
And finally, three beautiful artworks that pay tribute to seagulls:
Bonapartian Gull, 1836
Hand-colored engraving and aquatint
Robert Havell (English, 1793–1878) after John James Audubon
Courtesy of the National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC
Five seagulls over stormy sea,1900–1930
Ohara Koson (Japanese, 1877–1945)
Courtesy of Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam