The Scarlet Ibis

When I was a young girl, my Dad introduced me to The Scarlet Ibis by James Hurst. A beautifully haunting short story about two brothers and the wonderful, terrible truth about pride. It was something Dad and I talked of often. I shared it with my girls. When Dad passed in 2010, I had a scarlet ibis in flight, much like the picture above, tattooed on my shoulder. From that, a beautiful memorial back piece was born. In honor of those I’ve loved and lost. In honor of the ones who have made my life extraordinary, simply by existing.

I was missing my Dad yesterday. I wrote this for him. And for all the many moments of wisdom I gained, simply listening to his voice.

There is a story my father used to tell,
of a Scarlet Ibis and a brother’s 
prideful tale.
His name was Doodle, 
born with maladies.
Big brother determined, from these
he would be freed.
And so he pushed him, as the story goes.
Beyond his limits,
as the winds began to blow.
A broken Ibis, beneath a bleeding tree,
a broken Doodle to keep him company.
Big brother’s pride, never stopped to hear
the wind-borne cries of Doodle’s mounting fear.
Running faster, 
Brother raced against the storm
as Doodle fell, his body weak and worn.
Just as the Ibis, journeyed to reach that tree,
only to parish, broken at its feet.
Doodle too, lay broken on the grass,
his little body finding rest at last.
Big brother learned,
as the haunting winds did sing,
even born of love,
pride is a wonderful, terrible thing.

Jennifer N. Fenwick | Author, Four Weeks and In the Eye of the Storm