WHILE YOU WERE SLEEPING


You were here last year in your mother’s womb

at this cottage high above the straits.

Now you grab for buttercups, daisies, clover,

self-heal – and edge toward sleep in the stillness

under the parasol. Ringlet butterflies

flit across the grass. Blackbirds forage

among the mulch of last autumn’s leaves

at the margin where garden and woodlands merge.

A pheasant rattles somewhere out of sight.

Watching over you is a privilege.

Some time since last year, a sheep, lost in the woods,

died at the lawn’s edge. An elderberry

sapling is growing through the skull. The trees –

ash, oak, beech – are loud with hidden insects.

Nearby, a pair of buzzards is breeding.

They soar above us suddenly, calling:

pee-yah, pee-yah – hover, then bank away

over the tree line. And just as suddenly

the air is replete with other birds – swifts,

swallows, house martins, a jay, a herring gull.

On the mainland, roiling clouds envelop

Moel Wnion and the Carnedd range beyond,

their iron age settlements and the sheep runs,

and thick rain, all shades of grey from pencil

to gun metal, fills Bethesda’s slate quarries.

A military jet rip-roars the length

of the straits, simulating the Persian Gulf,

and a small factory ship thrums steadily,

hoovering mussels from their beds for Spain.

It’s a chancy universe, little one!

But here the sun still shines. You are waking.

 

 

 

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  1. #1 by John Chapman - November 3rd, 2010 at 19:38

    I am reminded by these beautiful words of picking up my Granddaughter from Preschool:

    A Joy of Life

    A row of little faces
    A quick gasp of recognition
    Running feet, then arms around my legs
    I lift high and down to clutch against my chest
    A small warm body with hands about my neck
    Lips to my ear, a word, soft spoken
    Granddad.
    Another joy of life
    To be tucked away and remembered.

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