Return to Alsace- ‘Stork’

Ecomusee- d’Alsace

Baby storks spotted on our holiday last month! Aren’t they adorable?  If you’ve never seen these zany birds close to, the Ecomusee in Alsace is definitely a place to put on your list of ‘must sees.’ (They’re everywhere!)  It’s  a living museum charting the everyday life of ordinary folk from the region, up against the backdrop of its chequered history. The Ecomusee website here  is well worth a read.


Seeing all this, (especially the storks!) put me in mind of a poem I wrote  twenty years ago whilst we were living in the region. The inspiration for ‘Stork’ came about when I learnt that during the World War II occupation of Alsace, this  bird came to symbolise the  freedom that the ordinary people could only yearn for. The Stork was free to fly up, up and away; one of the few creatures able to come and go freely.


And like much poetry, I’m sure it captures the essence of  some of my own personal and spiritual journey  at the time. Who knows? Anyway, here it is:



Clown on a thousand souvenir stalls;

he hangs legs dangling from the car windscreen.

Scattering sparrows- an alien on a pair of stilts.

This ugly duckling’s nightmare, Edward Scissorbeak

would shred that olive branch.


Cartoon messenger, symbol of sanitised birth,

Stiff-sticked and strawed, his nest a scarecrow’s crop

rises above the herd;

who watch him coldly, safe in their four-barred luxury.

They need no court jester…village idiot.


Symbol of freedom, hope in imprisonment;

he spreads his wings, unclipped. A shaft of light

filters black iron, its heat melts prison bars.

Clumsiness gone, he looks up to the skies

rises and soars.

©️ J Sigrist 1998









3 thoughts on “Return to Alsace- ‘Stork’”

  1. We were there, too, for over seven years. You’re right; Alsace is often overlooked. It’s got such a varied history with the people there having seen many changes. It may have changed since we lived there, but our impression then was of somewhere quite Germanic, not typically French!


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