Archive for January, 2012

08/01/2012

Treecreeper

 

They live another planet’s life,

Their world a maze of creviced wood ,

And flakes of bark and spider’s webs.

They seek the scent of insect’s paths.

 

And up they spiral, ever up –

Their probing, prizing spikes of beaks

Are thrust into the rotten reek –

They never reach the canopy.

 

Then out across the autumn woods

Where fungal spores spread sickly mats,

They claim their trees with needle trills

Like crystal wrens at misting dawn.

 

In otherness they live their lives,

As alien spirits of the oaks.

 

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08/01/2012

Ring Ouzel

 

A lunar crescent, skyward horned.

A tail which traces scree and ling.

A plaintive tone, a mournful tune.

A solitary black and bib.

 

Alone in rocks above the scars,

Where streams from bogs first scratch their beds

With steady tick like lowland merle,

A lost and wayward song of moors.

 

The moon is pitched in afterglow

And scattered with the trace of stars.

The melancholy call of space

A flick of night pitched wing and gone.

 

And left as one with what was once,

The sadness of a memory’s song.

02/01/2012

Rookery

 

In stubble cold, a bare white beak

Is flicking through the dregs of fall,

And if you’d call a flock alone

The winter picks the weak and old.

 

They fly: delineate the wind.

They march and mark the ancient lines.

They hack and chack at all that’s wrong,

And boundary off the coppice round.

 

When up one whirls it gathers more,

And eyes together scan and gleam

A single eye becomes the bird,

An eye as bright as night is black.

 

As one the copse of beech is filled.

As one the sky, the fields, the hills.

02/01/2012

Tawny Owl

 

You look into the forest’s depths,

The twists of branches, knots of fear,

Reflected panic of the dusk,

And through the tangle: night black eyes,

 

Or ember eyes, or mirror moons,

Or timeless worlds which pluck in dark

The twitching, writhing remnant lives,

Before the silent wings fold back.

 

And trees cloak round to hide the deaths,

To save the torment of the rest.

The forest floor forgets what’s passed,

And carries on with nothing lost.

 

Pressed tight against the oak tree’s trunk,

A night of killing hides in day.

02/01/2012

Yellow Wagtail

 

The gentle rains have summoned gold

From limestone walls as light as leaf.

The summer citrine floating gems

Are raised to shine on sundewed peat.

 

Their calls as fine as spider’s silk

Are threaded through the spikes of sedge,

And bright as mirrors to the sun

Chase heaven in a skyward vault.

 

As fragile as the cotton grass:

Arrive in April, dance in May,

Come autumn join the swallows south

And leave the hills to still and grey.

 

The yellow wagtail’s second life:

Is gleaming in the Sahel’s sands.

02/01/2012

Grey Wagtail

 

The river racer, foam of sulphur,

Is dart and shivered mercury.

A scattered feather, pitched in peat,

Which whisks the water’s surface clean.

 

A never still, a bobbing weave,

A flight and dance, a flip of tail,

Its tick tricks time, alarmed and shrill,

Is chasing after waterfalls.

 

Then up and gone on undulations:

A shallow trace of wings and air;

A shadow left on deeper reaches;

A moment’s fire of fight and life.

 

And left, a woodland’s damp is hanging,

Awaiting echoes from the streams.

 

(first published in the collection “From the Shore”, 2011 – Shore Poets)