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Observations placeholder

Constance Oliver - Magpies in Picardy



Type of Spiritual Experience


Constance Oliver studied art at the Slade School and after graduating she specialised in portraits and landscapes working in both oil and watercolours.  But she also wrote poems and this is one of hers.  I have not used her paintings as they do not fit her theme here.

Youth Mourning  - George Clausen 1916



A description of the experience

Magpies in Picardy by Constance Oliver:

THE magpies in Picardy
Are more than I can tell.
They flicker down the dusty roads
And cast a magic spell
On the men who march through Picardy,
Through Picardy to hell.

The blackbird flies with panic,
The swallow goes like light,
The finches move like ladies,
The owl floats by at night ;
But the great and flashing magpie
He flies as artists might.

A magpie in Picardy
Told me secret things —
Of the music in white feathers,
And the sunlight that sings
And dances in deep shadows —
He told me with his wings.

The hawk is cruel and rigid,
He watches from a height ;
The rook is slow and sombre,
The robin loves to fight ;
But the great and flashing magpie
He flies as lovers might.

He told me that in Picardy,
An age ago or more,
While all his fathers still were eggs,
These dusty highways bore
Brown singing soldiers marching out
Through Picardy to war.


The source of the experience

Artist other

Concepts, symbols and science items


Science Items

Activities and commonsteps