home to roost

In the Chinese calendar, the year of the rooster starts today, 28th January 2017, so it seems a good reason to have some cockerels, roosters and chickens on the blog this weekend.

The photo at the top was taken at the Bristol Balloon Festival some ten years ago. I feel it’s a bit cartoonish to go with this poetry vignette of dawn breaking in the Spanish pueblo where I used to live, but I don’t seem to have many photos on file that are right for the topic.
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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.
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counting chickens

The train’s delayed and while I wait,
I gauge my luck – or lack thereof –
in magpies: the furl of caping wings,
and splay-tailed swoop to perch
high in the winter cage of track-side trees
whose trunks are evergreened by ivy.

The magpies were too far away to get a photo, but this blackbird seemed to think that if he sat still enough I wouldn’t notice him.

blackbird in bare branches

something awful

full moon, Gredos
It’s Hallowe’en and I am off to a poetry open mike, so I’ve been rummaging through my files to find something horrible to read. Or perhaps I mean something terrific.
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the language of flowers


outside the florist’s,
the bright chatter
of pansies.

Which is strange, really, as the word “pansy” derives from the French pensée – “thought”. It would be logical to expect them to do more thinking than talking, but they always look to me as if they are checking out the passers-by and gossiping enthusiastically.

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