Something for Sunday morning……..

A sequence of poems, I wrote while in Asturias in September 2012. 

Something for Sunday morning………………..

 

 

If you took a chance

 And let those plates stop spinning,

Stuck your hands in your pockets

Or your fingers in your ears

And stepped back –

What would happen then?

 

After all that clatter

And when the shreds –

All the broken pieces

Were shovelled up

Wrapped away carefully

And left somewhere for landfill

What then?

 

All that falling, can only happen once,

And then it’s over. Done with.

 

As an alternative,

You could gather in those plates

Stack them neatly, one on top of the other

File under ‘something for someone else

Another time’, and let them sit there.

 

Or you could just watch the wobbly poles

Come to their inevitable standstill and decide

Whether to break them, so that puts

A stop to this, forever.

 

One way or another – you could choose

Silence, choose stillness, stop playing.

 

You choose.

 

 

 

 

II

 

When Nuria tells me

The Robin died

Because it flew into the glass

I know it is true.

 

It thought

That what it saw

Was endless sky –

That this reflection of sky

And the Bay of Biscay was reality.

 

Its neck has broken

And it lies supine on the steps.

I dare say

Death was instant –

I hope so, and that it didn’t suffer.

 

 

III

 

I know this one

And will share with you

Two stories of my own –

Near-misses, if you like.

 

 

IV

 

The first was a dream

Of the Hummingbird

In all its shimmering brilliance, battering

On the window of my smallest most under-used room.

Outside, I’d made a garden, full of colours,

Into it, I planted tame versions of my dreams

Underneath the wild flowers

That greeted everyone who beat their path

To my front door,

 

But it was the illusion of the garden

Brought the Hummingbird

To beat itself to death upon the glass.

 

 

 

 

 

 

V

 

The second is the story of an interview.

I faced a four-strong panel. They were back-lit

With the afternoon sun

And the scene outside was rich and wonderful –

A river tumbled down a small green glen – all ferns and damp

And luscious. I could hear the sounds of water

Breakthrough the stultifying must inside.

The vigour of the river had, at one time,

Channelled a mill – the force of it ground millstones.

 

I remember I wore funereal black –

Considered smart and fitting

For such occasions; an indication

I was serious, reverential,

Intentional about the task –

It was a tailored form of knee-

Bending, a genuflection to authority, to formality –

A message that I would

Concede, submit, serve,

Toe-the-line, fit in.

 

Then, just as I gathered

My first breath, to lift

The register of my voice,

A summer Swallow flew

Full tilt into the image

Of that garden paradise

And was lost,

After it slammed hard against the glass

And fell into Montbretia.

 

 

VI

 

At The Gower when we walked

We looked skywards. You could

Tell the difference between Swifts

And Swallows, House-martins and Sand-martins.

 

They’re all beautiful to me.

I find that I am mesmerized and gaze

Always into the blue of where they are –

And it’s enough.

 

 

 

 

VII

 

This past year or so,

I’ve tracked the Swallows too,

From Ireland, to Wales,

To Spain and Portugal, to Hungary,

And all the way to Cape Town

And back again.

 

 

VIII

 

Was it you I told the stories of the Hummingbirds to?

I’ve talked about it recently again, I know.

 

I heard Attenborough

Talk about them on the radio – of how,

Amidst the chaos of this world, and the catastrophic,

Devastation of our earth,

There is one small hopeful story, and it is this –

 

How people have laid a corridor of sweetness

All the way from Costa Rica to the North of North America

And how in this symbiosis

The Hummingbirds flourish against all odds–

How they reward the wilderness

Of our grey lives,

Gem-like and shimmering

Captivating the available light

And give it back to us

As they migrate

North – South – North –South –

North………….

 

 

 They are delicate and tiny in the dying of this light.

 

 

 

IX

 

And then, there is another story–

In the poem of Sah-Sin. Tess Gallagher tells us,

It is the Native American name for Hummingbird

And she tells how, when she found one,

In torpor, in the cold – she lifted it

And slipped it in under her breast

Next to her heart, to warm it,

In the hope it would revive again.

 

 

X

 

Finally, here’s my last message

to you, for now.

 

I found a montage

Of Hummingbirds with the ‘mirror in the mirror’,

 

 

And I’ll play that for you sometime, but –

 

 

Between here and there

Between now and then

 

 

 

Don’t fear anything.

 

 

 

XI

 

 

And, if you decide

To stop catching those spinning falling plates

 

And, if you need something for your hands to hold –

Here’s mine.

 

You might.

 

 And if you take that chance,

 Just think –

 

Then maybe, just maybe,

We could dance instead.

 

 

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