In honour of the approaching celebrations for the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, today is spot the Union Jack leaf.
A few of my fellow bloggers have chosen poems to mark National Poetry Month, which falls in April, and so to take part I’ve chosen the title poem of a collection that I’m currently reading.
It describes the kind of refuge that I often seek.
I picked this book up for just £2 on the local flea market. Seeing as though we soon learn in it that the sound of an owl calling your name foretells imminent death (according to the folklore of the tribe that the main character, a priest, goes to stay with), the title may be a bit of a spoiler.
Still – I loved it. It’s not a long book and it’s not a new book, but it’s a new favourite book, added to a select few. Two pounds well spent!
I was reading it outside in the garden as today was quite mild, making the most of the warm Autumn sunshine. Perhaps this will be the last day that we can sit comfortably outdoors like this. I’ve heard it mentioned that we may have some snow before the month is out. Never mind a white Christmas, could it be an unseasonal white Halloween?
These days you can take nothing for granted.
While I was reading, a wasp hovered briefly above my book and it reminded me to check out the guttering above my lad’s bedroom. I’d noticed that wasps were nesting in there some months back and I looked now to see if they’d since departed.
No – there was still some activity up there. We are in October, surely they’ll have to leave soon. Maybe sooner than they think.
While we hide inside from both virus and cold, I thought I’d share these feathered cousins with you all.
Covid and corvids, alliterative word-play ties. Just a trifle, for now, for my Jackdaw followers.
Hope you enjoy my occasional ‘cute little chatters.‘ Please don’t give me the bird.
I took this photograph a few days ago of a local fishing pond, frozen over.
There’s not much colour in it, is there?
January has always been bleak, even without the added burden of a national lockdown.
The lines of a poem in my first collection, Heading North, come to mind:
There’s not much colour in that either, is there?
But that was the particular tone of that poem, it is called Laments of the Urban Dead after all.
But we can still hold hope, if not joy.
I know I keep banging the same drum, but before we know it spring will be sprung, to be followed by the first fruits of summer. You know how it works.
Seasons don’t follow lockdown rules, nature doesn’t adhere to restrictions.
So hang in there, Jackdaw friends, wherever you are and whatever circumstances you find yourselves in, there are brighter days to come.
He was aware of the season’s arrival, was conscious of the changes, but only in a rudimentary way.
For he didn’t know the names of the trees, nor of the birds, but he knew that those geese were preparing to leave, without him even knowing that they were geese.
They were obeying the same instinctive compulsion that they always did, long before anyone named them, and those birds didn’t even know that they were geese, either, for they just recognised each other, as they did in the times when other people, long gone, called them by different names, names now forever forgotten and lost.
But the days remain the same, the signs remain the same, it’s the language that rises and falls. It has always been our wont to label the landscape and creatures around us. Make things familiar and relatable.
He watched them go, taking to the skies, never knowing where they would alight, but trusting deeply in the way of things, and the day that they’d return.
I wrote this in 2017. The magic still remains.
September already. How soon the seasons pass.
Harvest time, fruits of the earth. Our spirits warm with the russet colours outside. I took the dog for a run over the fields this morning. Wind-frenzied trees could not dislodge raucous crows, shy jays, and their more cocksure magpie cousins. Though these are the early days, there is definitely a sense of being on the cusp of autumn.
Soon we will see the squirrels working overtime among the toadstools and wild flowers, the martins, swallows and other migrants gathering to make the long journey back to African shores.
Much to my wife’s distress, daddy long legs seem to be everywhere. One got in as I went out with the dog (again) last night, as my better half was busy preparing a meal for the next day. I said “Don’t harm it, I will catch it when I get back in”.
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My morning observations so far:
crow bullies jackdaw;
jackdaw bullies magpie;
magpie takes it out on any living thing in sight.
This lovely weather allows me to sit outside and watch all of this, but nobody takes it in better than my dog, Bryn, who stands on his rear haunches like one of those meerkats that grabs his attention on the tv. I think this position adds to his delusion that he can somehow reach them, that they are just extra toys with which he can play.
Watching all of these corvid shenanigans has put me in mind of 33 Crows by Kula Shaker. I was a fan of them in all their 90’s psychedelic pomp, but this is a more stripped back track, though, from their 2016 album K2.0.
You can skip the ad, if you want to, of course. Now I’m off to placate Bryn.
At this time of year, if we pay attention . . .
(Persephone Awakening, by Jesper Alvermark, aka Zabani)