By which I mean
The way the robin throws his song
out to the world
The way the herring gull
carves the sky
The way the starlings
The way the wren
calls from the hedge
The way the pigeons
swagger across the city square
The way the goldfinch
embroiders a line
between tree and sky
The way the blackbird
melts the world into music
The way the cormorant
opens its wings its arms its heart
to the wind
The way the lark
sings only of summer
The way the buzzard
reminds us to trust the sky
A poem for Brendan at earthweal, celebrating biodiversity.
I should be writing about flight
and instead, I’m writing about plunging –
what does that say? About me, I mean?
But the sky is blue and the clouds are white
and the sun is slanting in a certain way
and I’m thinking about gannets –
which certainly fly, circling, circling,
but then become daggers,
no, spears, clean and sharp,
those wings tucked in – jet
becomes missile. Mad blue eyes.
I’m writing about the frenzy
of gannets, the whirl and flurry
above the water, on a blue day,
when the sea is green and the waves
are white, dancing crests,
and there are fish out there,
and the gannets come in,
circling, circling, plunging.
You can hear them from here,
like a war between air
and water, crack, crack,
each bird a bullet, a clean strike.
Laura is hosting at dVerse,and asks us to write about flight – birds, bats, seeds…I resolved not to write about rooks (again) but it was a struggle.
And here are some real gannets: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Cp1n_vPvYY
The birds have built their nests, and are waiting for their eggs to hatch. It’s a moment of pause for them – soon they’ll be spending their time feeding, feeding, feeding, because nestlings are hungry and need constant attention. They won’t have time to watch the bluebells going over, and the blossom falling. They won’t notice spring turning into summer. They’ll be interested in food and predators – their world view narrowed down to the basics of survival. Their young will keep them busy until the moment the fledgelings make their first stuttering flight. It won’t be long then, until the young birds fly away to make their own lives, and become rivals for territory.
The rooks are different. They welcome their children into the tribe – the more the merrier. Their nests are spreading through the ash trees, an aerial housing development, with penthouse views, and excellent, if noisy, neighbours.
waiting for eggs to hatch
blossom falling, spring turning
flight through the ash trees
An erasure haibun for Xenia Tran, who is guest hosting at the dVerse poets’ pub tonight. She asks us to write a haibun that alludes to compassion or self-sacrifice, without naming it directly.
They head east, ahead of the rain, a rattling gang with wings spread wide as innocence. They’re not one thing, not like starlings, moving in synchronicity, not like geese in their military formations; these guys are coasting, riding the sky like surfers, just cruising.
They head homewards in clumps and drifts, vague flocks and gatherings, and there’s always someone laughing, because it’s so funny, and there’s always someone threatening to spill into the road. Shoulders bump. Hips bump. Bags bump. Ponytails bounce. Heads lean in, because it’s so funny, it’s a secret. They are breathless with their own beauty.
These seagull kids are just spinning, cartwheeling, because there’s nothing as good as the spin, nothing as cool as this body: look, it can turn, leap, bend, and this movement isn’t ballet, it isn’t salsa, it isn’t ballroom, it’s just movement, fireworks under the skin.
Frank is keeping the bar at dVerse, and he’s asking for prose poems. Check it out. You’ll find something you love.
This old bitch earth
is still holding out on us –
and yet you sky dance
sozzled. Three sheets,
two wings, one black beak,
giving it all to the wind.
I think you’re whiskey
sipping death, taking it neat,
straight up. What else is there?
Carrion on the rocks,
roadkill chaser. I see you
hanging round the edges,
I’m not blaming you.
I’m just reminding me
that my sky tumblers
are resourceful. Always there
for the last call.