autumn birds

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.

Severn estuary; low tide

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
Corrugated brown
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:

Children’s playground:
no frill of surf
where the skateboard ramp rises
a steel wave at break point

Here, too, there were unexpected birds:

Ducks swimming
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.

Author: don't confuse the narrator

Exploring the boundary between writer and narrator through first person poetry, prose and opinion

2 thoughts on “autumn birds”

  1. The gulls would have been after shellfish, worms, crabs, anything they might find. They don’t often eat fish. Nice haiku. Not much needs changing.


    1. Yeah… I do realise gulls eat just about anything. But I still don’t think there would have been many shellfish or crabs in the field, and not much garbage, either.
      I was thinking the whole thing could be worked into a rather more successful haibun.
      But not today.

      Thanks for dropping by!


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