Here is a selection of my poetry for APRIL
APRIL LOVE - Arthur Hughes (1832 - 1915)
This season’s rushing in like a mad hare —
now everywhere I look there’s bloom and leaf;
this morning more fresh birdsong fills the air
and green begins to show on sluggish beech.
The rising sun has melted back to dew
an early mist that blanketed the hills,
bright dandelions hide the tiny shrew
below the apple blossom’s first pink frills.
Bluebells fill the copse near Wesley’s Mere
and, in the hedgerows, ransoms start to show.
The old grey urn has been bees’ home for years
as, from the crack, the busy workers flow
to visit more and more enticing flowers –
enjoying sun, dodging sudden showers.
And, if it was my gift, here’s what I’d do :
I’d build for you that perfect bright Spring day…
A balmy breeze will hardly stir the trees;
air, fresh and clear for miles, so we can see
where distant high blue hills meet azure skies.
Above, in barren trees where first leaves show,
the rooks work noisily repairing nests
and quietly below primrose unfurls,
while, down the field edge, snow in blackthorn’s hedge.
Bright yellow celandines march up the bank
beneath the lemon-pollened willow’s fur;
then somewhere close we’ll hear a robin sing,
sparking the songs of many distant birds.
Our blackthorn has been wonderful this year,
each hedge I passed seemed blanketed in snow.
The trees, like white sails, billowed over lanes
and verges… and the celandines’ bright show.
A gusting wind sprang up to shake the hedge,
bending the trees to rock them to and fro,
releasing blossom in a blizzard fall,
surprising horse and rider just below.
As drifts of snow-white petals filled the lane
the parting clouds revealed a watery sun;
although the signs of Spring were in the air,
the cold wind warned that Winter’s not yet done…
Now, seasons on, the hedge bears blue-black sloes,
As bitter as that wind from long ago.
In far-off days the road was clear
and safe enough for Dad and son
to practice with first two-wheeled bike.
Gripping the saddle post, Father
steadied bike and son and, pushing
at a gentle trot, sought balance.
Wobbling down the road they went
with Father jogging to keep up –
his grip on bicycle so light.
And I could see his shadow there,
supporting me along the road,
until I noticed it had gone…
I thought I’d left him far behind
but knew that he was always there
and with me now to the road’s end.
(In memory of my Father, Bronek Osada, 13/04/1920 – 11/09/2012)
Exotics, on dull Lenten days,
outflank drab sparrows’ dismal show
with tinkling, bell-like calls in flight
and flash of gold as off they go –
a charm of finches bob the hedge.
Pushed to the margins of the farms
where tractors spray with herbicides,
goldfinches seek untended scenes
for spiky teasels, thistledown
and groundsels’ tiny wind blown seeds.
Kept as a charm against the plague,
then caged for beauty and for song,
they almost died out in the wild
till keeping them was seen as wrong
and Parliament came to their aid.
Yet, down the ages they’ve appeared
in pictures of the infant Christ :
companions for a tiny child,
as symbols of the sacrifice
and passion that was yet to come…
These sweet-voiced, gold-winged tiny birds
pulled out the thorns to free Christ’s crown.
In doing so, his blood was spilled
and blessed them with a love profound –
marking cheeks red as sacred birds.
Riding spring tides, sucked into Severn’s mouth,
they’ve braved Atlantic storms to swarm upstream :
this mass of squirming grey translucency,
glass eels, whose every heartbeat can be seen.
Rare pike and wading herons eat their fill,
and, on ebb tides at night, lone fishermen
come out with lights, attract this shoal
close to the banks and dip-nets’ caging pens.
Spring’s river harvest time in bygone days
saw elver-eating contests at the pub;
sold cheaply by the pint to working men,
these baby eels were starving families’ grub.
Today, ‘though fewer make the nets, the catch,
a writhing, frothy mass, is ferried home
by van in plastic tanks and old tin baths
to sell, as special Easter treats, to gastronomes.
MAGPIE IN APRIL
One for sorrow is quite enough
to bring the birdsong to a stop.
Out of the field, along our hedge,
this corvid checks for nests to wreck.
Through dooms of love the parents fear
the loss of eggs or tiny birds.
Blackbirds have flown, their nest torn down,
even the feisty robin’s gone...
As from the roof dark eyes observe
the maiden flight of fledgling birds.
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