A gust of wind startles
all the yellow birds of autumn
from their treetop perches
The idea of autumn leaves as birds is a recurrent theme for me, and I’ve posted several variations on the blog over the years, though not that exact phrasing, I don’t think. But it isn’t just flying leaves that are notable at this time of year.
I took the train along by the Severn Estuary earlier this week, just after storm Angus and his hanger-on had done their worst. Considering the horrific news reports of flooding everywhere, I was surprised how low the river was, with bare stretches of sandbank making it look as if you could walk across to England and barely get your knees wet.
The landscape on the other side of the train was absolutely sodden, though, with nothing but tractor-churned mud and puddles in most of the lower-lying fields. The hills curved green above them and the occasional herd of cattle slowly trampled the mud even further. It was an interesting juxtaposition of texture and shape:
Smooth swelling green
The angular haunches of cows
The colour contrasts were impressive, too:
Stark against mud,
the sudden white of swans
Alone in a brown field
a cock pheasant
parades his glory
Most of the birds were just not where you might expect them to be:
White as sheep
a flock of seagulls
mob the shifting mud
I’m pretty sure it wasn’t wet enough for there to be fish in the puddles, so I really don’t know what they were after.
We passed through a couple of towns where the after effects of rain and wind were very apparent:
no frill of surf
where the skateboard ramp rises
a steel wave at break point
Here, too, there were unexpected birds:
in the station carpark
I’m sure that when I come back to these fragments I’ll realise that moving a word or two could make all the difference. For the moment, then, they should probably be considered as notes that may be polished and find their way into poems later.