Posts Tagged mistle thrush

SOMETHING OF SPRING

The leafless apple trees in the old orchard

are rimed with lichen. Some are festooned

with mistletoe. Late February’s sun

lights each dark twig and branch – each evergreen leaf

and silver berry. In the distant woods,

rooks call, nest-building. Unrelenting winter,

that besieges all, is beginning

to recede. Soon, curled, fleshy leaves will come

and, eventually, fragile white blossoms.

Apples will grow. The mistle thrush will do

what it does. The mistletoe will spread.

And such relentless fecundity

endlessly surprises.

 

 

 

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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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VIRTUALLY BIRDLESS IN ASSISI

The Dodo, Ustad Mansur, Agra, 1610

The Dodo, Ustad Mansur, Agra, 1610

 

 

 

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, sparrowhawk, 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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