Rock Pipit

Of all the birds in all the world

My favourite bird is not at all that big

It’s dull and brown

Slender not round

Without distinctive look

 

Male and female are indistinct

You’d have thought one would make an effort

But even so they get along

And have a pleasant life

They live by the sea

On Cornwall’s coast

Rock Pipit and his wife

(or is the other way about and does it actually matter?)

 

n.b. GloPoWriMo 2020 Challenge. Warm up. What’s favourite bird? The Rock Pipit, innit!

.

Christopher Perry

1st April, 2020

Day 14

The wind has dropped and on the way to the shop, the air feels soft. The birds seem to be less agitated in the hedgerows and bushes on the way down to the village shop.

There are still only a few leaves on the thorn bushes and their spikes glint in the rising sun’s light by the main road. A wren hops about inside, quite happily; safe from large intruders.

Not all the reeds on the other side of the coast road have been cut down, so they remain home of small birds who discreetly tweet to each other until they fall silent when a walker’s shadow passes over.

On one of the scrapes of the bird reserve a commotion kicks up.  A marsh harrier’s arrival has taken the curlew, redshanks and ducks by surprise. Travelling into the breeze, between the shingle bank and the road, the harrier keeps low to the inflorescences of the remaining water reeds for cover. A lapwing cries out, all a flap, it creates a scene, tries to distract the ranging raptor, so that all the birds below are shaken up. A whirl of wings and cacophony of calls and the shallow pond is vacated. Regardless, the marsh harrier maintains its hunting, something will reveal itself in an unguarded moment; maybe not a small bird, but a rodent exposed in the goose-grazed grass.

In early afternoon, driving through the woods to get essential supplies we slow to let a small deer clear the road and this disturbs a hare. It leaps up and bounds in a rapid zig-zag through the blue-bell plants that are yet to flower here. The size and speed of the hare is remarkable and unmistakable.  The deer just stepped coolly through the untidy woodland floor, calm as you like.

In the early evening, sat with my back to the shed, facing the sun this feels as it might in summer more than a hundred summers ago. Just the neighbours quietly in their gardens, no sound of motor vehicles, no sight of planes. The largest thing in the sky is the huge red kite, who continues to familiarise herself with the seasonal changes in her recently discovered domain. Protected by statute as she maybe, we’ll see if the game-keeper at the local shoot will allow her to establish herself safely here.

No news from my son, which is good news. He works steadily on.

I am up until quite late, then listen to the latest chapter of the story you are recording for me. It is a long chapter in a long book, in a series of six volumes, (I think). I have to scroll back several times to ensure that I have followed it all. After all the magic I must sleep.

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CLP  1st April 2020

Breaking Wave

A gentle undulation swells

Soon noticeable from land

Catches eyes of pebbles

That slowly turn, drawn to the scene

Expectation of the burgeoning bump builds

The ocean cannot contain the power moving within

Pushing at its rounded surface

A large, complacent gull senses his peaceful drift is ended

Lifts up at a shift in form below

When the point of no return is peaked

Then falling, foaming, crashing

As the sea unburdens all

Creates a noisy, messy ejection

That impacts harsh upon the grains of sand

Tumbling, falling, rushing

Pushing up the beach

Exploring shingle, lifting stones

Re-shapes the land

Carrying bubbles of spume from birth to the last

It drives on up the steep slope

Changes everything, leaves its mark

Fresh patterns, colours; all positions new

Merges with another breaker

Where it starts or ends becomes unknown

A stronger force with two, or more, combined

Until the inevitable pull to return becomes too strong

Diminishing, the surge subsides

Slows to stop

Slips back to where

A gentle undulation swells

.

 

n.b. Breaking Wave is written in response to the first Globowrimo / Napowrimo 2020 prompt of 2020. Find a metaphor based on a simple action to present an (auto)biography.

Christopher Perry  1st April 2020

Day 13

The rhythm of the day is beginning to lose its pattern. Middle of night interruptions to sleep come without pressure to return to dreamland. Distance from others is becoming accepted; is there any point going out there?

Eschewing television as formulaic, lacking originality, dull, I choose to listen to music. Lyrics bore me. Orchestral compositions, quartets, quintets, pieces for solo instruments, jazz. The Nau Ensemble’s interpretation of Joy Division tracks holds fascination.

A day within, with only the most cursory contact with nature and that being the cool north wind as I put a banana skin in the compost bucket. I see the fresh greens and yellows of cowslips through the window. A small brown bird flies into the depths of the roadside hedge. The sun pops out before more clouds darken the sky.

I finish “21 Lessons for the 21st Century” by Yuval Noah Harari. The last chapter is about meditation. It makes sense. As I read it you are meditating in your apartment near the lakeside. I smile at the coincidence.

Come evening, the excuse to draw the curtains and shut everything out is welcomed.

I study cricket statistics online after supper, reviving specific memories of seven summers. Particular incidents return to mind vividly. How much of what comes back to me is true? Which of my stories correctly align with the figures on the scoresheets? Some stories I carry in my head are exposed as myths by the numbers.

Team mates and opponents come back to life; even one recently deceased. He provokes mixed responses. My recollection of him not entirely squaring with the eulogies posted on the club website. He was more complex than what is being written there.

Each person I recall produces a string of stories, emotions, connections to other people, places; often nothing to do with the cricket at all. My emotions twitch in response to what I read, revive, recall.

Before sleep comes again we share pillow-talk from our distant pillows. You laugh heartily tuning your soft, lilting voice into rich, base notes from your belly. It is that deep laugh of yours, the one that I feel in my stomach too.

We take care with our words. We know not where our conversation leads, but for now we are are going nowhere. There is no tomorrow.

CLP 31/03/2020

On Separation

Boxed heart stays constant

Old fears prowl; rattle casket

Rhythm misses beat

.

Contactless eyes dumb

Imagination finds voice

Tremors felt in gut

.

Misunderstandings

Fill up conversation voids

Muddy evidence

.

Dig gently for truth

Listen to answers; reflect

Retire to consider

.

Never forget this:

Distance forms Hall of Mirrors;

Boxed hearts stay constant

.

n.b. We are not alone. Keep the faith.

CLP 30/03/2020