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 . . .

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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

that time of year again

it’s that time of year again
when days draw dark curtain evenings
shorter than the nights are long
and words begin to fail me

as does the light from a depleted sun
that barely scratches holes in the clouds
or penetrates my goose pimpled skin
held together with cold reluctance

the birds seem happy enough
I keep them well fed with encouragement
their songs and chatterings valued
more than they could ever know

but still the words fail me
and with it my engagement with the world
easier to huddle down and retreat
when it’s that time of year again

Starlingrad

Up on a hill

Joseph kept watch

The bend in the river below sunlit

Chromium plated

Polished

A coiled snake between meadows

Murmuring with contoured malcontent

Slowly

Slickly

Slovenly

He wandered the graves with Malice

The Dog of War at heel salivating

Pawing the mud for bones

And feathers

Until

 

At last light

In February’s awakening

When the snow had settled

And the fighting ceased

The sky filled the ruins below

With wonderment

Upon every shattered casement

Shelled and hulled obituaries gathered

The shadow ghosts

Iridescent souls

Brought together to roost

One last time

Before

 

Chattering to the heavens

They fled

On morning’s mist

To be seen no more

Lover’s Key

Beyond the covered decking

Quartz white crystal sands

Sparkle in the Gulf sun –

A line of rainbow umbrellas

Shield the beach goers

With their wheeled cooler boxes –

Stand up paddle boarders

And selfie stick young women

Lounge in the shallows –

Cloud builds from the south

Mid 90’s heat dips to bearable

Miniscule flies bite my ankles –

Along the shore Bonita Springs

And in the distance Naples rises

Like a mini Manhattan on the sea –

A cooling breeze blows through

Tourists disgorge from the free bus

A family prepares to leave –

I don’t have to do anything

Maybe read or write or draw

Clean air filters my thoughts –

The seagulls make the most noise

Circling and squawking their calls

Ever watchful for opportunities –

 

Beyond all of this the pelicans dive

They fill their shopping bag bills

With lunch from the fresh fish counter.

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