autumn

It’s the first day of autumn, and last night there was a harvest moon. That makes me think I should be posting some poetry, but I can’t find anything particularly suitable.

Still, the weather really is quite autumnal today, and if it stays this way, it wouldn’t surprise me if the swallows started gathering early for migration. I’ve had telephone wires and communications on my mind a lot recently, so maybe this will fit the bill:
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the way it really happened

Discussing the draft of a new poem last night, I found myself close to using the phrase “but that’s the way it really happened” as justification for including an apparently inessential word.

This startled me. After all, I’ve made it clear that I don’t think of poetry as autobiographical. Life is a stepping off point for poetry, but I think facts can – and should – be sacrificed if they interfere with the poetical worth of the writing. So what made this particular occasion different?
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immortal bird

At half past one this morning, I was tossing and turning, unable to sleep because of the loud birdsong outside my window.

I’m not at all good with identifying birds from their songs, but I’m pretty sure it was a nightingale singing from the cherry tree. It stopped briefly when I put the light on, but then, from what I remember – I did get some intermittent sleep – it continued all through the night until I was awake again around six. Gradually, as it got lighter, the voice was joined by others, and now it’s daylight, there is still much birdsong, but it is more scattered as they are all off about their usual business.
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swallows

with primaries taut, they finger-tip
the contoured air, screeching
a splay-tailed upward glide to peak

then tuck – dip – swoop –

and skim the puddled mud,
gape-mouthed and hungering.

 
 
It’s San José – St Joseph’s Day – which is Father’s Day in Spain, and a bank holiday in parts of the country. It’s also the day that the swallows return to Capistrano, which is why I’ve chosen to post this poem. (Or, perhaps, this ‘poem draft’.)
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old habits

When the family went on holiday when I was a child, my parents always took books with us so we could identify the birds and flowers we saw in the different parts of the UK.

I’ve been visiting my mother this week, which I suppose counts as being “on holiday”, and she still has the same books. Not that we needed them to make a list of the birds we’ve seen from the lounge window while I’ve been here:
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