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 airBut 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 nookPiled with bramble stalks, torn plastic, rotted wood,
Is swamped by rhododendron – a closing book
Composting silence beneath its heavy hood.
Unstoppable, growth multiplies; grass glistensUnder 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 shouldersOf 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 huddledBeneath 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