Listening to the MJQ in the Mojave Desert

you might accuse me of not being there
but I might argue why bother
you might say my words are not authentic
but I might question your supposition why

here is my chair, here is my view
see what you will, it won’t cost you

you might want some further proof provided
but I might offer you none in return
you might try to reach out and touch me
but I might already be on the run

here is my chair, here is my view
feel what you want, it won’t cost you

you might not like jazz in the afternoon
but I might just turn the volume up high
you might not like the heat and the dust
but I might just turn you up to the sky

here is my chair, here is my view
hear what you want, it won’t cost you

~

the track through the canyon
is ever so understanding
the rocks and the boulders
cover my wanderings
no, I’m not really there
and I’m not really here
I am always elsewhere
so far and so near
travelling with the wanderlust
that binds my body to soul
from young to old
from shore to shore
I can hear the birds singing
calling me on

 

 

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mudflats

he watched the birds
come and go
on the mudflats
but his mind was dead

the piebald gypsy ponies
in the scrub
ignored him

a heron in a channel
that was trickling
with the turning tide
tilted its head
from side to side

but his mind was dead

people came and went
some said hello
some wore binoculars
statements of intent
to tick a birder’s box

and break the monotony
of their retirement years

there were waders
and noisy migrants
ducks and geese
little brown things
in the bushes
clouds that looked like

something

he couldn’t tell
he didn’t care
he could not hear
them calling

his mind was dead

but he heard the cuckoo
and almost smiled
remembering
something

addendum

when I was born
my mother wasn’t there
the clouds parted
I tasted my first air

when I was a child
my father chose to die
the country widened
beneath an open sky

when I was a man
my love abandoned me
the birds began to sing
setting my soul free

when I was old
my heart declined to beat
the setting sun burned
consuming me in heat

when I was reborn
my life began once more
mistakes and lessons learnt
repeating like before

C’mon Nature!

Hedgehogs!
Stop crossing busy roads and getting squashed you numbskulls.
Birds!
Stop migrating over lands where you’ll get shot, netted, eaten or stuffed.
Badgers!
Stop mixing with cattle and risk being culled for allegedly spreading TB.
Dolphins!
Stop smiling and acting like you want to entertain us in tiny cramped pools.
Whales!
Stop going near Japan, Iceland, Norway, Eskimos and harpoons ffs.
Elephants!
Stop growing your ivory tusks and you’ll avoid being poached.
Rhinos!
Stop growing your pointy horns and you’ll also avoid being poached.
Fish!
Stop swimming in large shoals which are easily detected by trawler men.
Pandas!
Stop being so lazy and get shagging to save your species. D’oh!
Turtles!
Stop eating plastic and sticking straws up your noses you idiots.
Tigers!
Stop burning bright in the forests of the night and get yourselves more camouflaged.
Apes!
Stop lagging behind in the evolution stakes and get like your cousins instead.
Woolly Mammoths!
Stop dozing in the Siberian tundra and get your DNA checked out.
Dodos!
Stop being dead as a dodo and start making an unexpected comeback.
Trees!
Stop standing still and start acting like the Ents in Lord of the Rings.
Nature!
C’mon! Fight back!

eighteen today

my son is eighteen today
and I am, well . . . it doesn’t much matter
I wish him well as he whistles out the door
a bus to catch, an exam to sit, a skateboard to ride
and I am, well . . . it doesn’t much matter
I tell him concentrate, no silly mistakes
check your workings out and have a good day
as he whistles out the door waving, not a care in the world
and I am, well . . . it doesn’t much matter
the sun is shining and the birds are singing
tonight is pizza night, Pepsi’s and chocolate puddings
and I have a poem or two to write
but I still feel like crying . . .

ingrained

the park, the river, the beach
dried leaves from horse chestnuts
bottle tops in squelchy mud
the driftwood of weathered huts

I circle around those memories
like a seagull searching for grub
the trees, the bridges, the horizon
my friends in the cricket club

I’m off to hunt out stag beetles
or mice under corrugated sheets
my day spent in silent solitude
with the birds and bumble bees

the chalk, the grass, the blue skies
marking white arrows on gates
rolling down steep hillsides
watching red admirals contemplate

you can’t take the boy out of the man
the landscape from out of his eyes
it’s ingrained like rings of truth
every year that flies on by

 

on the fringe of realms

flight paths criss-cross on the fringe of realms
the robin lands on a confusion of chicken wire
looks about before darting in to feed his partner
sparrows and blue tits fly straight into their nests
away up the slope a thrush like an arrow nearing
pauses for one moment on the rusted fencing
then dives into the tangle of hedge and briars

in the bottom field a squadron of carrion crows
they glip and glide and gather in poplar trees
cow tails swish to swat away some pesky flies
seagulls merge with floating clouds up on high
the first swallow breezes in from faraway skies
glad to be back home despite the nip in the air
checking out it’s favourite haunts and meadows

there’s a blackbird with a white tail feather
a mob of magpies making a racket in the conifer
one of those that has grown too big for its roots
next winter it will come down with an axe swing
the wood chopper chops as the woodpecker pecks
chop after peck after chop after peck after chop
sound and motion in natural harmony

later I will draw down the night sky on all of this
with a broadcasting hand I will scatter the stars
the pull of a chord will lighten up the full moon
time for tawny owls to ke-wick and hoo-hoo-oooo
time to take my leave and leave without a trace
for I am not of this world despite all you have heard
I come and go in peace on wax paper wings

 

 

 

insignificant

a little brown sparrow
flew directly toward me
it caught a tiny black fly in flight
and flew off into the big bright sky

did the fly notice the sparrow?
or the sparrow notice me?
or did the big bright sky see
the drama unfold down below?

it was just an insignificant moment
caught between the beat of tiny wings
and later the day turned to night
and an owl came out to feed

minute by minute

I paint brushstrokes on a grey sky
and sit and wait for a while
you never know what might fly by
minute by minute by avian mile

believe me, they do not deceive my eyes
these airborne birdies so versatile
in flight so gracious up on high
minute by minute my widening smile

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for RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch 27th – 29th January 2018

https://www.rspb.org.uk/get-involved/activities/birdwatch/?channel=paidsearch&gclid=CjwKCAiA47DTBRAUEiwA4luU2c9gFxBni0vbHypxXrVuY4yFCuroNVWrodC4uUdL3z8uuG1JJWhP4hoCwVAQAvD_BwE