The daylight has lingered on longer than expected, but now the gloom of the short April evening is settling down fast in the wood. The silent and motionless trees rise out of a mysterious shadow, which fills up the spaces between their trunks. Only above, where their delicate outer branches are shown against the dark sky, is there any separation between them?
Somewhere in the deep shadow of the underwood a blackbird calls “ching, ching” before he finally settles himself to roost. In the yew the small birds are already quiet, sheltered by the evergreen spray; they have also sought the ivy-grown trunks. “Twit, twit,” sounds high overhead as one or two belated little creatures, scarcely visible, pass quickly for the cover of the furze on the hill.
Then bird songs lifts me as notes fall from air. They seem to land in my hand. In that moment, as already the interior of the wood is impenetrable to the glance, music comes alive. Gently chords, subtle rhythms and harmonies rises though the sound of closer birds who have restlessly moved in their roost-trees. Darkness is almost on them, as they settle in their song of innocence. The cawing and dawing rises to a pitch, and then declines; the wood is silent, and it is suddenly night.
You don’t make a song and dance, you simply sit.
I look at you and rest my eyes.
The world slows down, as you adorn
a winter branch with solitude.
You simply sit. A nod – a searching out.
The air around you stills:
particles suspended in mid air.
Tiny eyes, as black as coal.
Pin-prick sharp: driven
by a hunger on the wing.
Heading home to roost, you lay your head.
You sit in stillness, simply.
You are a gatherer.
Minute twigs and down, the fabric
that you weave,
inside this stubby bush outside my window.
How do you think.
Rain shrugger. Sunshine sucker.
Snow, a place to leave your mark
that you were there.
Careful choices. Not a word.
Each crumb considered first.
Kindly, you watch the worm slowly turn
and leave it be.
Feeding flesh to every mouth that begs.
Bones enough for you. You perch
and open-mouthed, a joyous explosion makes
every leaf vibrate.
*Small Bird poem shared with kind permission.
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