Bearing Gifts

Dead Bird in Bucharest | Wikimedia Commons Licence

Dead Bird in Bucharest | Wikimedia Commons Licence

Sometimes - most of the time - my life seems far removed from the calamities of the world.

Even the torrent of climate disaster news which threatens to burst the banks of my twitter feed becomes a kind of white noise: numbing.

And then the microcosm brings the macrocosm home. The petty lights up the shadow of the apocalyptic.

It is midnight as I write this post. Something has distressed the flock of sheep in the field, the lambs are bleating with fear. It lasts but a few minutes. I imagine various scenarios and none of them will match reality precisely. You will have done the same thing. And are likely to do so again listening to the two poems which follow, both written in the aftermath of terrorist atrocities.

Female blackbirds are builders!

Over the eleven to fourteen days it takes for ‘a pair’ of blackbirds to make a nest. But the bulk of the building is done by the female...
— Feathered Fact via

Parallel to writing these posts, I’m reading Robert Macfarlane’s latest book, Underland. It, too, is unsettling. By the time this is uploaded you’ll be able to read my poetic response (it’s here). In summary, it’s heavy as the Bird Garden is light. And I’m glad. Without these polarities we cannot begin to understand the strata or substance of our landscape. Indeed, of our existence.

The peculiar nature of nature is its ability to bring our insanity and humanity into undeniable focus, even when we are doing more than sitting looking out onto a couple of bird feeders for the umpteenth time.

But it is not all dark (nor is Underland for that matter). Surprise is never far away and is never more keenly felt than when it leaps out of the familiar…

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And from the singular joy of an audacious sloe eating blackbird, our eyes are draw up, up and to a flock of geese

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