early warning

Here in the UK, the spring equinox happens (occurs? falls?) tomorrow at 10:28. I’m a bit confused by that, as I don’t understand how we can have equal day and night at a specific minute half way through the morning.

Exploring the subject a little further, I find that equinox doesn’t mean equilux: day and night are not of equal length, whatever I was taught in school.

In fact, where I am, today was already almost 12 hours and 7 minutes long, which must, presumably, make the night some 14 minutes shorter. And from now until well into April, each day will increase in length by about 4 minutes, meaning that in less than a month, we’ll be having over 14 hours of daylight. Sadly, that’s not 14 hours of sunshine.
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swallows II

Dark blades slice through the air, turn
sideways to the sun, flash silver, turn
into bright fish that glide in endless blue.

Kiwi leaves against blue sky

There are no swallows in the picture as they move too fast for my limited photography skills. The sky, on the other hand, is never-ending blue and doesn’t pose the same problems.

The post title is “swallows II” because this is not the first poem I have posted about swallows.

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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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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like a lamb

Well, we’ve reached the end of the month and the expression “February fill dyke” has never seemed more appropriate.

How March is to come in remains to be seen: last night, I thought it was going to come roaring like a lion, but today has been as mild a day as you could wish for. On a walk back from the village at lunch time I saw:

  • swallows: I don’t know how many it takes to make a summer in Spain, but there were several.
  • lizards: not the first of the season, but the first time this year that I have seen more than just the one.
  • a stork circling the church tower.
  • a bat: I thought for a moment it was another swallow, but there’s no doubt it was a bat, even though it was broad daylight.
  • a red admiral butterfly: who must have managed to weather the storms and was now enjoying the sunshine

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