Wednesday, 3 July 2019

The Hedgebirds And The River Jump





It was the second time I had witnessed this death.
A small bird, a hedge bird, skimming traffic, mistimed.
The first time I heard the thunk, saw the bird spin. This second time I see the body, the size of my fist, hit the road's edge; I see the last breaths drawn in; breaths that seem bigger than the body. 
A sadness strikes through me: for the creatures' fate, for the parallel with the plight of earth; a heavy hold of it.
All day I cannot be comfortable, cannot find peace with it.

Inaction seems like inertia, seems the wrong surrender.
But what action is required: how to push this weight? How to use it?
To make a pendulum and keep hope?
I take my sun-heated brain to the river to think.
It will be different for each of us, says brain, from the willow's shade, though maybe the crux is the same: along the waterway comes a decisive breeze, trailing its weather-fingers through leaves, stirring the river's surface where beady eyed fish pop up to swallow gnats, where kingfishers dart to stab up fish, where storm-felled trunks stick out leafy growths - fuelled by what? And why?
I look.
This instinct towards life has common root. This is the comfort the river brings.
Even in the murk, under the weed, in the mud, bubbles are streaming up.
There's probably more to it, says brain, but please now may I have a nap?
So we walk home, making our cooled feet dusty, and rest.

Art, says brain (quoting Tolstoy) is a hammer, not a mirror.
Rest has been restorative, says I, recovering myself, recovering love, regathering my river kit.
I raise myself - above the river pool, on the little poser's ledge - leaping (taking my dull throbbing fear of heights with me) and jump.
A hammer can swing, and spark joy - retaliative, effervescent!
And with those thoughts we will march: towards the beautiful strike, where the hammer breaks the fear and we dare.


In my garden, hedge birds sing and hop, and nourish the ground, while the river wet t-shirt drips from a line. I'm not a natural diver, I tell them, but the hopeful leap is a worthy start. 


6 comments:

  1. Wow. Your way with words... with meaning... leaves me speechless.

    Well not really. As much as I love it, it's darned near impossible to shut me up. :)

    But really. This poem is magnificent. You've got writing chops out the wazoo.

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  2. Dear Susan, I would never want to shut you up :-) Thank you for kind words and positive vibes xx

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  3. It is hard to make sense of death, even with a wild animal. Living in the woods has altered my perspective over time. Now, when I see a carcass on the road, my first thought is, "Someone will eat it." Circle of Life can seem trite and dismissive. But it is real.

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    1. The world can't function without death, indeed - it's the lack of balance these days that is hard to come to terms with. Living in the woods is a good perspective - trees are the best at dying, they slowly morph into rich earth.
      Incidentally, there's a bakery somewhere here that sells 'roadkill pie' but it turns out that they use pheasant, pigeon and deer from the butchers not the curb.

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  4. Dear Lisa, I've been remiss, wanted to respond for 2 weeks but but have been too very busy with stuff going on. We got stuff! Just returned from helping Norma clear out her mother's house, tried to move a heavy thing and ended up on my fundament(wazoo) in the gutter. I came home and found a fledgling dove at the pumphouse door, stood aside so he could escape. Then his mother called from a nearby laurel and he worked his unfamiliar feathers until wings got out and he could fly --bounced lightly off the door sailed over my shoulder. Birds should listen to their mothers more. So should we all.

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    1. Ah, I too have been caught up in stuff (land hunting mostly!) and can sympathise. I have knee scuffs from beach rocks, and one rear bruise from a tree :-)
      Glad that Mother Dove was there to remind us of love and wisdom xx

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