Posts Tagged joy

VIRTUALLY BIRDLESS IN ASSISI

For Sarah:  always a conservationist, latterly a twitcher.

 

i

 

In Umbria – the cuore verde of pristine, wooded hills,

Orvieto’s honey-pale wines,

the paintings of Perugino and Pisano,

the Tiber’s milky jade,

tartufo nero

they stew thrush.

 

ii

 

At least once in our suburban garden,

house sparrow, green finch, ring-necked dove, wren,

jay, wood pigeon, robin, starling,  swift,  jackdaw, blue tit,

magpie,  blackbird, sparrow hawk, chaffinch, swallow,

gold crest, bull  finch, great tit, hen harrier, mistle thrush

have, variously, courted, mated, nested, birthed, ate, shat,  killed,

bobbed, waddled, hopped, walked, pecked, fluttered, shrieked,

whistled, warbled, squawked and died.

 

iii

 

But, above all, sang – that esoteric music,

rich and varied as their plumage:

untutored, uncultivated, unstinting.

 

 iv

 

Though only crows circle St. Francis’ basilica,

in Cheshire ostriches are farmed.

How accidents of diet, doctrine, sentiment and flag

determine extinction!

 

 

 

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BATHING AT LLANDDWYN

I watch the three generations – mother,

daughter, grand daughter – walk, hand-in-hand, in

toddler steps, to the sea’s edge, and paddle

in the calm, beryl blue waters of the bay.

Opposite, along the Lleyn Peninsula,

over its mountain – The Rivals – with its

three summits, a white, single seater flies,

its engine echoing across this August day.

Laughing in the shallows, they have not seen it.

Their splashing drowns the sound of the plane

absorbed into the distant heat haze.

They turn and wave to me.  I am blessed

by their very existence – their joy

making ephemeral aircraft, mountain, sea.

 

 

 

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OF GOLDEN DAYS

On this auspicious date in July:

Richard the Lionheart was crowned; Thomas Cook

ran his first railway excursion, Leicester

to Peterborough and back; Thomas More

was beheaded; Horlicks went on sale; Newton

published his ‘Principia’; John Lennon

met Paul McCartney; Pasteur cured rabies;

the first full length talkie was premiered…

 

From that date in ‘61 – a blind date

(you with the black spot  to avenge a friend

and, after, changing your mind and your heart,

and me, innocently of course, longing

for sex and romance) – justice, being blind,

has sentenced us to our just deserts,

locked us up in half a century of love

with all its longing, its hurt, and its joy.

 

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A COMMONPLACE

The succulent, bright green shoots of early spring;

the blackthorn – on distant hedgerows like

sporadic late frost or, close to, pearls

of scattered barley; the tiny goldcrest

with its mighty voice – see see see, see see see:

presage the summer’s rich beneficence.

 

This is her second spring. She points with wonder

and joy at a sudden breeze that shakes

the cherry tree, disturbs its white petals

against the bluest sky, the brightest sun.

She is walking now – or, rather, teetering

fearlessly through her own universe

of daily marvels: dead leaves, small children.

Adept for quite a time in her own

lingua franca soon she will learn ours,

a mundane, quotidian miracle.

 

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A WEDDING

From the spoil heaps of the redundant gold mines,

when the wind blows, the dirt blows always

over Soweto. In a flapping marquee

at the end of a street, the wedding took place.

Aperitif nibbles became gritty,

paper cloths grimy, the cutlery

silhouetted in grit. There were many

speeches – long before guests ate the freshly

slaughtered lamb and even longer before

the singing and dancing. The hired canvas drummed

with hope, humour, courage, enterprise, joy.

 

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