Recent world events can trouble even the most equanimous of hearts. This poem has offered inspiration, and hope at these difficult times. Listen out for the birdsong…
Birdsong From My Patio
‘Despair so easy, hope so hard to bear’
I’ve never heard this much song,
trills as pure as crystal bells.
but not like bells:alive, small rushes
of air from the tiny plush lungs
of birds tucked in among the stiff
leaves of the olive and almond
the lemon with hard green studs.
As the sun slides down newborn
from thick muscled clouds
their glittering voices catch the light
like bits of twirling aluminium
I picture their wrinkled feet
curled around thin branches,
I see them preening, tainted
feathers sliding through their glossy tongues.
They’re feeding on contaminated insects,
wild seeds glistening with acid rain.
And their porous, thin-shelled eggs,
blush or milky or speckled
lying doomed in each
intricate nest. Everything
is drenched with loss:
the wood thrush and starling,
the unripe fruit of the lemon tree.
With all that’s been ruined
these songs impale the air
with their sharp, insistent needles.
by Ellen Bass
Image courtesy Anita Klein