May 09, 2017

manna {18} surprise encounter

Recently I have decided that, because my job is so sedentary, I need to make my daily walks and/or runs a bit longer, trying to aim for 7-10km a day. This means that I am that much more steeped in the outdoors and changing seasons, day by day.


And this time of year is so amazing! Clouds of white cow parsley now along every lane and hedgerow, hawthorn blossom and birdsong, new green growth and nonchalant groups of nodding cowslips in ditches and under trees. Always for me, the return of swallows, swifts and housemartins is a beautiful thing - that dogged, hopeful return across thousands of miles to our fields and treetops. A few years ago, I was suddenly startled by a low swooping swift flying past my face before arcing back skyward. I wrote this poem about it that evening because I couldn't get out of my mind that the beating energy of this tiny life had intersected, nearly collided, with mine. Today I re-read it and thought I might share it here. I love poetry, I have studied it at degree level, and want to get my fingers dirty dabbling in it again. But, I am so aware that bad poetry is just such an embarrassing thing, worse somehow than a bad water colour painting or uninspiring story because it seems clumsily pretentious too. So, I share with some trepidation, it is very short so if you do cringe it won't be for long!!


Surprise encounter

Walking through the cold, calm greys of dusk,
Along the margins of a field,
A tiny bird flits past my cheek
So close I clearly hear
Articulated echoes of its
Tilted, beating wings.


I suppose it was just an attempt to capture and encircle the experience, and even more the feeling of the experience. To mark it as worth remembrance and celebration. It was a split second that was imbued with life and connection for me, and I felt I wanted to honour it. It is strange what we do to honour moments isn't it - rituals, letters, rings, photographs, plantings, paintings - trying to mark impermanent, passing events with smudges of symbolic meaning and attachment. Since then, I watch the swifts skimming across the skies above our old barn with particular fondness, and the amazing outline of their outstretched wings in flight formed the basis for a jewellery collection.