The first of day, the last of night,
The woodcock and the lapwings meet
Beneath the blood-horn moon of spring:
A fold of wings in praise of bats.
The oystercatchers warn and reach
Inside the panicked twitch of deer.
They join the curlew’s howl of lust,
The curlew’s voice of bidden loss.
And soon the forest joins the moor
With wrens subsumed in bursts of wing,
Exhilaration on a feather’s barb,
The light which greets the point of flight.
An hour in life and all is raised:
The night time’s deaths, the morning’s birth.
Avoiding death we sidestep life.
We miss the warbler’s beacon song,
The melodies of clouds on fire,
And trees which birth the passing days.
We cling to nights and hide in hopes,
Constructing tales of other worlds
Where fixities will fold our fears.
And shut away the shifting light,
And live these distant, searching lives.
The premonition sun will rise
Unseen. Unheard, the birds become
That larger world which we hide from.
Within us all is life and death,
A universe, a blackbird’s breath.
The song is all, the forest one,
The neurones, pollen, twilight rings.
The trees connect, the eyes forget,
Ten thousand evanescent springs.
A chord beyond the reach of one,
Becomes the mantra of the one,
A unity to shed the night,
An ecstasy to greet the light.
A force as pure as air vibrates,
From blood, to throat, to bursting tongues,
Each song annihilates itself.
The forest sings, the birds succumb,
And I have ceased to cling to me:
The light is all there’ll ever be.
And all this means the world to me,
But where are words to give it voice?
A ringing in the ears I shake,
The feet on leaves in dawning light.
The river glows with moons within,
The trout forget the bridge of day.
I walk and hear the passing dead:
The crumbling bank and martin’s nests.
A tree has lost its way this night.
Its branches bowed by sorrow’s time,
They point to earth, they brush the dust,
A chaffinch spills its mystery there.
I watch a redstart lose its mind:
Our eyes have met the pains of night.
For Steffen and Jo