Blackbird poem

Blackbird poem

~clears throat~ OK, I haven't shared any poetry I've written since I was 13, and I'm 36 now, so... well, I wrote this in October, and since everyone here is so sympathetic I'm emboldened to post it, I hope you like it. If it strikes a chord or even makes you put on a coat and go for a walk, or just look out of the window, so much the better. Apologies for my writing, when I wrote it I didn't think anyone would ever read it!

The Blackbird

Pulling on an old coat

and sturdy boots,

I emerge into the mild Autumn air,

Breathe in, pause with the door at my back

and tilt my aching eyelids to the precious meagre yellow light.

I head at random out into the lanes, not caring where I go

So long as it leads away from curious eyes and my relentless crowding thoughts.

My booted tread sounds loud in the soft sudden realness of

Wet and tangled grass and apple smells.

Confusion trails behind me like a broken cobweb holding withered leaves

and dusty butterflies' wings, the memories of summers passed and gone,

Caught on the sticks of bare brown hedgerows, clinging strands unravelling as I

Stump along, hands in pockets.

What a sight, like an old country maid with gnarled hands

And shabby green coat stained with the smell of horses

And the hair of the dog, rheumy eyes, and cheeks and nose as rosy

As the Bramley windfalls rusting in the grass.

My cheeks aren't rosy now, I can recall

The ghost-white stranger who stared out at me from the mirror earlier,

Eyes full of age and questions - the tired reproachful spectre which made me flee the house

To grasp with both hands at real living earth and wood,

And warm myself in the comforting familiarity of a damp Autumnal day.

It doesn't matter what I look like, no-one's here to see,

No-one ever will be.

Except a blackbird, beautiful in orange and black,

Eyeing me suspiciously from his twig, then darting, scolding, to a farther tree.

I feel a tug of loss, and want to tell him

That I mean no harm, that he could be a kindred soul,

As small and vulnerable, trying to build his little life here on this same

October day.

Resignedly I walk on, aware of the squelch of mud and leaves beneath my feet,

The waft of woodsmoke and a distant engine's hum.

The detail of each leaf comes into focus now, the pink feathers of a robin's pincushion,

A rare and ragged time-key which transports me back

Before my world was broken, mended and broken again.

I gratefully bury my face in nature's apron, feel her pat my back

And I lean there until I've no more tears to cry.

And subtly, a change begins, slowly, like shoots below the ground.

What is real? Not the ghosts behind the glass,

Which hammer and rage, their voices muffled now, their weak forms faint

in the rich solidity of daylight.

Not the hopes and great loves which seem so all-encompassing, but pass

And fade away like showers and are gone, leaving only puddles which

reflect the changing sky. Too many years reaching for those skies, only to withdraw

With fingers bruised on nothing more then the cold grit of wet tarmac, all illusion gone.

What is real?

Only the wet and unkempt grass which has been there since I was a child,

The brambles which mark the seasons turning,

And the blackbird, who sings now from his tree, content to be

In the shaft of late golden sunlight which reaches in

On this unlooked-for fulcrum, this ordinary miracle of an Autumn day.

50 Replies

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  • Thanks for posting. I like it. I can picture the blackbird moving to another perch and calling out it's warning as you walk closer. :-D

  • You have some lovely strong images here. Have you thought of trying to find d a poetry writing g group ?

    Dee

  • Thank you so much! I hadn't thought about it, although I'll bear it in mind, it's a nice idea. :-) xx

  • Wow,that was really lovely--telling of your pain tho seeing that beauty still exists.

    Thank you

  • That is totally beautiful!! And such a lovely picture of the Blackbird!When I feel down I often watch the birds in my garden +cheer me up no end!

    Thank you for such a lovely post!

    Kath;-)

  • Thank you Kath, what a sweet reply! :-) xxx

  • This expresses my own thoughts about age as it creeps up on me. I find that watching and listening to garden birds lightens my mood and heart because of their beauty and innocence.

  • Thank you Oran-mor - I agree, birdsong always lifts my spirits! :-) x

  • Aleisis, what a talent you have. An amazingly descriptive journey, tinged with sadness but ultimately uplifting. Nature is a powerful healer . I felt like I walked with you.

    Thanks so much for sharing x

  • Thank you Angelite, that's made my day, and given me such a warm glow, bless you, you live up to your name! xxx

  • Aleisis! I agree with angelite, and I also felt like I walked with you, almost able to breathe in the Autumn air with you and smell the wood smoke and feel the squelching mud...I loved the way you wove in some of your life experiences in a 'stream of consciousness' way, which can often happen when a person communes with Mother Nature and reflects on the path of their life.

    The phrases are beautifully evocative and I personally felt the poem as a strong motivating positive force - Live Well and Prosper 8 )

  • What a lovely poem! Thank you! I absolutely love Blackbirds, my garden has a family of them and I fill the lawn with food for them.

    Great. Now write another about Robins. My other favourite bird!!!

  • Thank you! Me too, I only have a tiny corner of gravel with shrubs around, but I put out bread and fat-balls, and there's a lovely blackbird who visits every day, he's quite tame, doesn't seem at all fussed if he sees me watching him!

    A robin poem - I will! That can be a little assignment for this week, thanks for the inspiration! :-) xxx

  • Ah thank you I will look forward to it. You have a wonderful talent for words, so use it!! I have a family of cheeky robins in my garden and when I'm out there they come up quite close and nosey at what I am doing. Adorable! The Robin is the UK's favourite bird!

    Check out that Snowy owl on Yahoo. I saw a barn owl last year. It landed on a telephone pole just at the side of my house. It was truly amazing. Xx

  • Hehe, they are cheeky - pugnacious little devils, but so cocky and endearing that you forgive them! There were a family of them in my old garden, the male used to come every day with the chick, who was bigger than him and very demanding, and between them they would see everybody else off the bird table! We also had a lame wood pigeon (known as Hopalong Pidge), who was a bit too big for the robins to scare away. You'd see them eyeballing him from 2 feet away, but not quite daring to do anything about him!

    I'll have a look - I love owls! There are a couple of bird of prey centres near me, and a year ago I went and arranged for my boyfriend to get to hold a barn owl - she was beautiful! I think they have the same fascination for me as cats - that contrast of softness and needle-sharp predator, but so graceful as a whole.

    :-) xxx

  • Alexis what a lovely descriptive Poem, keep writing and isn't amazing nature

    Such a healer. I'm glad you shared this with us.

    Stay well and keep In touch and keep your Poetry up, I have lots of Poetery Books

    And read a Poem every day.

    Warm wishes

    Hannah.

    PS. Do you know that lovely song " Blackbird"?

  • : ) x

  • Thank you Angelite oh I love this, Thanks a mill for Posting it.

    Hannah x

  • Thank you Angelite! What a nice version, I love the birdsong at the beginning. :-) xxx

  • Hannah, did you see that amazing footage of a snowy owl caught on camera on a highway somewhere in Canada? It's on Yahoo news now - amazing!!! I love owls.

  • Hi Poppygirl thanks me directing me to footage of owl in Canada, wildlife is amazing and always cheers me up. Hope your ok

    And in good form.

    Hannah x

  • Very welcome Hannah. I love wildlife too. Especially owls. Yes, well at the moment and hope you are as well. Just be glad when all this rain stops!!!

    Jo xx

  • Jo it's been raing non stop all day here in Dublin and very

    Dark and overcast, and it was v. Gloomy out. Hopefully tomorrow will be brighter and I will go out for walk

    In morning.

    Hugs to you Jo.

    Hannah x

  • Woo hoo Dublin!! I love that City. Only been there once but it was fantastic. I'm in rainy Manchester and it's been pouring all day! Xx

  • Jo my older sister who is a grandmother now ( a mother of six) lol. Lives near Manchester in Wilmslow, the people in Manchester are so

    Friendly. A lovely place.

    Hannah xx

  • I'm not far from Wilmslow Hannah - about 20 mins. I live near Lyme Park where I walk my dog most days. It's lovely. Yes, we are friendly up here but we found Dublin to be very warm and friendly. Both my Grandparents were Irish! Xx

  • Ah Jo that's a coincidence , so lots of Irish blood. Well if your ever over here give me a shout.

    Hannah x

  • I will -thank you! And if you come to Manchester (bring your brolly!!)

  • Aww thank you Hannah! I love poetry, although I have less time for it lately. I do know it, lovely song! xxx

  • So evocative. I can feel Autumn. Thank you for sharing.

  • The voyage home.

    Ducking, diving, plunging free

    White teeth bared, grinning at me

    Fluid power, it sucks and rages

    Around my feeble boat it wages

    War- war to left and war to right

    Surrounding me with liquid might

    My craft of life is tossed and blown

    Buffeted into seas unknown

    I glance behind I see the rocks

    Of memory and I feel the shocks

    Of bygone shores that brought despair

    I know I must not linger there.

    Tides are fickle, dragging, greedy

    Gaping jaws, alive and needy

    Yet something surfaces inside

    Fortitude and stubborn pride

    Purpose guides my trembling hand

    And, rowing, brings me back to land.

    With beaded brow and plundered mind

    My solitude and peace I find

    At last, advancing years have blessed me

    Still waters comfort and caresse me

    The restless ocean fades from sight

    I do not fear the coming night

    For in my heart I surely know

    I’ve weathered storm and strife and woe

    Life’s breakers hold no fear for me

    Here on the sands of harmony

    I venture further inland yet

    I reach a waterfall, a jet

    Of cleansing crystal, sparkling bright

    It bathes me, draws me to its light

    I surrender all my being

    To its beauty, to its healing

    Powers. My spirit soars with joy and love

    Conjuring up a pure white dove

    I bless all creatures, bold and meek

    Great and small, strong and weak

    Parallel are all our lives

    Subject to the force that drives

    Us from the source that dwells within

    To ride the storm-somehow to win

    I gaze down from my vantage ground

    In gratitude for what I’ve found

    Peace and sweet serenity

    In this, my new reality

    You are a true poet. Your imagery and figurative language is beautiful.

    The above is one of my efforts written when I was searching for the meaning of life after a tragic time.

  • Wow Darkshadow, that's wonderful! You've got an incredible turn of phrase - very inspirational, thank you for your kind words, and thank you for sharing this! x

  • Thank you, Aleisis. Coming from you, that is a real compliment.

    Another poem written after a drive to a familiar rugged beach in my home--Orkney on a March Sunday.

    SPELLBOUND.

    SHAGGY SHETLANDS CLEAVE TOGETHER,

    THICK, CARPET RUMPS HELD TO THE WIND,

    STURDY BEASTS WITH PATIENT EYES

    OF CHOCOLATE BROWN.

    A HAZY, PASTEL RAINBOW ARCS

    ACROSS THE VISION, MERGING INTO

    SLATEY CLOUDS OF SILENT MENACE

    WHICH RULE THE SKY.

    NOW SLEET IS SLICING DOWN TO EARTH;

    IT STRIKES THE GLASS WITH FORCE AND STARTLES

    BUT MELTS ONCE MORE IN SUNSHINE,

    TEPID, PALE.

    FOUR WHEELS BUMP AND GRIND ACROSS

    ALARMING CAUSEWAY OF HEWN STONE,

    ROCKY, ISOLATED PATHWAY

    TO MEDITATION.

    CHOPPY, FROTH-TOPPED, DANCING WAVES

    JIG AND SWIRL TO MUSIC MUTE;

    THEY FUSE AND PART, ARE EVER FAITHFUL

    TO NATURE’S TUNE.

    IN MIDDLE DISTANCE, THERE APPEARS

    A LEAFY COPSE OF EVERGREENS,

    A HAVEN FOR THE FEATHERED HARBINGERS

    OF PROMISED SPRING.

    REMOTE HORIZON OF YOUTHFUL DAYS-

    CAREFREE DAYS OF HOPE AND LOVE-

    IS BROKEN BY A SHEER CLIFF FACE,

    MAJESTIC, HIGH.

    A SOLITARY GULL DRIFTS BY,

    GREY AND WHITE LIKE SEA BENEATH;

    IT FLOATS, IT RISES, FALLS AT WILL,

    SURVIVES ALONE.

    IT HOLDS A SPECIAL FASCINATION,

    SYMBOL OF POWER TO OVERCOME

    THE VAGRANT WIND, THE STORMY SEA,

    FOCUSED, ALOOF.

    THE WATCHER SOON FEELS HESITATION

    TO ENCROACH ON NATURE MORE,

    BUT NO SUCH RETICENCE OBSTRUCTS

    THE NEXT INTRUDER.

    THE DRONING OF A HELICOPTER

    BURSTS UPON THE ANCIENT SCENE,

    PERSISTENT IN ITS WHIRLING FLIGHTS

    ACROSS THE SKY.

    THEN STRANGERS IN A RED-BOX CAR

    CREEP ALONG THE RUGGED ROAD,

    AND, AS THEY PASS, THEY SMILE AND WAVE

    BUT DO NOT STAY.

    CROFTS LIE DOTTED ROUND ABOUT,

    COSY FAMILIES LODGED WITHIN;

    SHEEP AND CATTLE CROP THE GRASS,

    LUSCIOUS AND GREEN.

    THEY EAT THEIR FILL, ARE UNAWARE;

    HAPPILY, THEY CANNOT KNOW

    THAT THEY ARE NURTURED FOR THEIR GIFTS

    OF FLESH OR FLEECE.

    AND SO THE SPELL IS BROKEN NOW;

    THE MAGIC OF THE HOUR HAS PASSED,

    THE SCENE DISSOLVES, THE WATCHER LEAVES

    FOR MAN-MADE HOME.

    NECESSITY, CONDITIONING

    DRIVE THE WHEELS INLAND AGAIN,

    BUT MEMORY HOLDS, FAST AND SURE, THE TIME

    SPENT BY THE BAY.

  • Love it! THANK YOU Darkshadow!! X

  • Absolutely beautiful, so descriptive and enjoyable. I, the reader am taken in with your words and feel myself walking beside you.

  • I couldn't ask for a nicer response, thank you! :-) x

  • Oh what a lovely poem. Thank you so much for sharing it. More please! x

  • Seems like we have a couple of talented poets on here :) x

  • What a lovely poem! Thank you for feeling bold enough to share it here although I think it is worthy of sharing to a much wider audience than us.

    You took me on a nature walk in such detail i could feel my worries falling away with the cobwebs and picture the leaves and mud.

    Better than a mindfulness session.

    Thank you

    Dave

    xx

  • Thank you Dave, that's such a touching reply, it actually brought a tear to my eye! (hug) xx

  • Sorry if I being unnecessary jerk, what do you mean with "The detail of each leaf comes into focus now, the pink feathers of a robin's pincushion"?I don't see exactly what leading to this and after that. is it what happen in your past memory?because you refer to nature rather differently after this.

    I just read it, and I just feel so much better, I don't know if it is really caused of this or not.

    I used to write 5-10 short poem every day when I was 10, and bicycling around the country side and draw any animal that I could see, somehow I didn't continuing it because the neighbourhood changes, school etc.

    Reading this it kinda bring me back. I hope I can write something like this again.

  • Not jerky at all! :) It's what happens as you walk and your mind begins to clear - when you set out your head is in a swirl of thoughts and you don't really notice your surroundings. Gradually, you start to take in the details, as though a fog is clearing, or your focus is drawing back from whatever dark plain it had been on, and fixing on the present moment. On this particular walk, the blackbird distracted me enough to break the cycle of negative thoughts, so I was just carrying on with a blank mind, starting to look properly at the hedgerow beside me and the texture of the leaves and wood, and a robin's pincushion in the hedge caught my attention. They're so beautiful and I hadn't seen one for years, it took me right back to walking with my mum when I was a little girl, and her teaching me about the things we saw by the wayside. She found a robin's pincushion and I was entranced because they look so bright and feathery. :-) It reminded me that I'm the same person, despite all that's gone between, but was also poignant because of how hopeful and innocent I was back then. Then, if I'd been sad I'd have gone to my mum for comfort, but on this day, nature itself was where I turned, and it eased my mind.

    I hope that explains what you wanted to know! :-)

    I'm so glad you felt better, that's the highest praise! Do take it up again, it's a wonderful thing to do, it does you more good than anything the doctor can give you. It's sad when someone has a gift and something they love, and they let it slide as they get older, just because other stuff gets in the way - it's still a part of you inside, always, even if it's shut away for a time. :-) x

  • Ok I understand now, but I rarely have a break of mind's flow because something outside happen, it usually happen for no reason.

    And that is exactly my case, it's a very good thing you remember what happen in your childhood with your mother, what you had loved and cherised it now.

    Mine is rather very vague, I almost don't remember anything in the past, maybe because I always preoccupied with kind of major depression since childhood, my dad can tell what is going through his childhood very clearly and it make me very envious.

    please make another this kind of romantic poem (if you could take a request, a dominantly childish excitement or a thrilling one :D).

    Best regard.

  • You have my sympathy - depression can have a huge effect on your memory - in my case it's mostly my short term memory, though a lot of the past is vague, I think I must have shut a lot out when I was younger. Sometimes though, little things can trigger it to come back (like the robin's pincushion) - a conversation with someone you knew back then, a piece of music, a book, even a smell. Maybe starting writing again will help you to unlock some of your past.

    I'd love to, I'll see what I can do this week! :-) x

  • Thank you, I hope besides your well being, I hope you can show and teach your children (you are 36 I assume you have a children) wide ranging emotions with these kind of outlet (literature, art, humor).

    science and logic is important but I think if they don't have any independence to channel their creativity and respect it will have a detrimental effect. and mother has been proven to have the most decisive factor in nurturing.

    Ok, I hope the best, don't rush it though. :D

  • Thank you karipapaya, that's very sweet of you - I don't have children, I never felt ready to have them and didn't want any, although I must admit your saying that makes me feel a little wistful! I'll have to make do with being an aunty! :-)

  • Lovely

  • beautiful. thank you for sharing something so personal. it felt familiar for me xo

  • Thank you emielou, and you're welcome! x

  • Really lovely poems, well done. Keep writing as you can write evocatively.

    Suex

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