August iv

sharp red berries

spilled from urgent beaks

mashed underfoot

sweet yellow paste

tentative young wasp

~

CLP 11/08/2021

Time #1

when it’s been really hot

like today, close to the mid-point of June

eventually the blue begins to thin

as if mixed with a few drops of white spirit

.

the air moves a little faster

adding cool to shade

under the solitary oak

crowning the rise

.

arrhythmic sounds of a distant road backwash

strangely vigorous mid-afternoon songs of blackbirds

who call as if expecting rain

but it won’t, not yet

.

there is no accumulation of clouds

over the Blackdown Hills

just the wind seasoned by a dash of brine

chilled through months of swirling winter tides

.

provoked, other birds respond, goldfinches

keening for respite from potential drought

trying to sweet -talk moisture from the sky

to fill the hard-set hoof prints and tyre-track hollows

.

to soften the soil and freshen pasture

to fill the brook now wearing a skin

that barely covers its old bones

its smoothed stones lie dry, matted green

.

heading west into the breeze

every feather extended to the full

a buzzard floats along the hedge

then shifts its path toward the wood

.

I sit against the towering trunk

spine aligned to its hard rutted bark

listen to the plaintive songs

wonder at how fast my sixty years have gone

On Water iii

great crested grebes dance

like that Sunday afternoon

when our hearts dove-tailed

~

n.b. Somewhat hidden by the willow branches, but they are there…promise.

CLP 12/04/2021

At the Exit

Clocks have changed to British Summer Time. The Sun has come out. A strong southerly wind brings warmth to Norfolk.

People are out and about, the sound of children playing in the local park competes with goldfinches, blackbirds, chaffinches and the blue and great tits. An otter has been seen in the Wensum nearby and a large seal has come up river from the sea to nose around the old wharfside.

Daffodils, primroses jostle for attention, bluebells are preparing to make an entrance.

A day to savour. Not the end of Lockdown 3, but a step towards another way of living.

~

n.b. And I have just seen two bats spinning by my windows.

~

CLP 29/03/2021

On Pylons

particular birds

enjoy the sites from these heights

starlings shimmering

~

n.b. None on view here. I was just remembering.

~

CLP 19/03/2021

On Gratitude

Two is company

and that is all that’s needed

to halve a problem

~

n.b. Thank you for the walk SC.

CLP 11/03/2021

L3 (Day 56): Inside

There was no need to exceed the boundaries of my home today. Mend and make do with what food I found.

There is a whole world out there, I know, but most of it is closed and I had plenty of work here.

To bed at 01:00 GMT. I hear birds singing on the hillside, city lights confusing their rhythms.

~

CLP 03/03/2021

L3 (Day 44): Early Morning

Woken by the first alarm calls at territorial intrusions, alerts and disputes of airspace and protection of nests at 04:45h.

Then disturbed again at 05:17h by shouting from a distant street. A man’s raised voice echoes through the break of day. Again from closer at 05:32, yet still a way from here. Is he heard by others? What ails him? It sounds like anger.

Is he wandering the city alone? Is someone else at risk? How did this start? How will it end, as it must?

~

CLP 19/02/2021

Lockdown 3 (Day 21) Daylight

There was very little daylight today, but it has been milder and what light there has been has lasted a little longer than previous days. Today the Sun is up from 07:46h to 16:30h, tomorrow it be from 07:44h to 16:33h a net gain of five minutes.

This morning I heard a wider variety of birdsong than I have heard for a while. It reminded me of waking each snowy day near the Jura when on a trip there in 2018. That weekend there was a wall of song rolling down from the mountain sides as dawn broke. I was briefly transported back there this morning.

I need to swot up on birdsongs. It was not just blackbirds, pigeons, crows and blue tits. The orchestra is reforming.

CLP 26/01/2021

Lockdown 3 (Day 17) In Sunshine

My apartment faces south, but is overshadowed by the flats built over the atrium at the front and on its east side. This means no morning light reaches me directly and I have to pull the curtain across to assess the weather.

Today the sunlight was blasting down King Street. I just had to leap out of bed and get outside. There were no takers for a walk, so I stretched my legs as best I could with a pinched sciatic nerve headed towards the woods and Whitlingham Broad.

The small birds were in heaven. Blue sky, fresh air and sun. Their songs filled the air. There was lots of activity in the top branches and hedgerows, particularly the robins.

At the junction at the top of the street I noticed a cedar tree had two cables holding its two huge branches in slings. The tree leans menacingly over the junction as both branches are on the same side. It has a perfectly good crown, which seems healthy, so why maintain these two spars that pull it out of line?

Nature isn’t always even-handed I appreciate, but in this instance gravity and a good sou’westerly could do for this beauty and anything it fell on would be crushed. Better to take the strain off it, surely?

I moved on towards Trowse where frost was still obvious where flooding persisted. Mole hills were surrounded by water. Were they safe down there?

I then moved on up through the woodland, stretching my stride out against the pinched nerve on the incline. The trees cast dark streaks of shadows dramatically emphasising their leafless structures. There are few things more beautiful than deciduous trees backlit by winter sun.

The constant swoosh of the nearby dual carriageway creates tension in the air that detracts from the vibrancy of the birdsong, so I move away and down to the broad briskly.

A gull is wandering around the paddock by the café that still sells takeaway drinks. As I sip at my cardboard beaker of tea, I watch the gull peck at a fresh molehill. It then stands on the top the little earth pile, tilting its head to the right to look at the grass. It steps down, wanders around a bit more pecking here and there before realising that there is a commotion by the water’s edge and free food is being thrown around by a grandma.

The woman is attracting lots of birds, entertaining her grandchild who is watching while holding her mother’s hand a few feet away, when the swans begin to get assertive. The bag is quickly emptied and all three humans scoot off to leave swans, ducks, geese and circling gulls to fight it out. In all the fuss are sparrows bobbing about nipping in here and there, as sparrows are happily do when crumbs are flying about.

I circumnavigate the broad and head home. A good walk during the best of the day, before the pathways get too busy.

Get up, get out, get home. Mission accomplished.

~

CLP 22/01/2021