Friday, 21 March 2014

Months: April

The poem for March in this sequence was posted on 24 February 2014.


Dawn is early: the redbreast has shrilled his claim
Before men rise; later, the thrush’s evening
Ululation pierces the copper flame
Of sunset. Between, starlings are scavenging.

A blue sky convects warmth through the chill air
But soon, beetle-browed cloud like dusk, slings hail
From a freezing wind, smashing petals, stripping bare
The tulips. A drenched leaf flaps like a sail.

The exposed becomes covered. The dead-end nook
Piled with bramble stalks, torn plastic, rotted wood,
Is swamped by rhododendron – a closing book
Composting silence beneath its heavy hood.

Unstoppable, growth multiplies; grass glistens
Under sodden sunlight; grape hyacinth
Shake fists, crowded by nettles, dog parsley listens
For the bee, quailing at the sudden rain’s rinse.

Ah, how the young relax! Their clenched shoulders
Of winter expand, they laugh into each others’
Eyes in a flurry of pairing. That which moulders
Is regenerate; the martin at its nest hovers.

There are losses. A fluffed, sick sparrow huddled
Beneath a hawthorn attracts a barrel-faced crow.
Old men, surviving winter, shrunk and muddled,
Await their predator, whose knock they will know.

Undeterred, magnolias like fireworks spume;
A child exults, lord of both womb and tomb.

© April 2012

Friday, 14 March 2014

The Roses and the Sparrow

This minature sonnet was originally in the set of sonnets, 'Edinburgh: An Occasional Sequence', which I posted on 26 December 2011. However, when revising the poems I couldn't see what it was doing there - having no direct connection with Edinburgh or even Scotland. Hence, I removed it and then lost it on my computer. It has now come to light and seems to me just about worth preserving.


The evening sun is not so bright
That roses do not add
A sort of quintessential light
That cancels all that’s sad.

A sparrow scuffled in the soil
In search of grubs or grain,
To me its ceaseless feathered toil
Was like a twist of pain.

For what is beautiful and seems
As peaceful as the lotus streams
Is but a point of view;
This sparrow, urgent at the fall
Of night’s frustrating lunar pall,
Might not agree with you.                                     

© September 1980