The sheep cry in the distant fields
is full of leaves rustling
their secret summer song
as the birds celebrate June
with its sudden wearing of fox gloves.
Silk ballroom bees waltz in and out
to the hum of a lawnmower somewhere.
The breeze shimmering over the stream
is the calligraphy of this concerto
by a composer whose name
we have forgotten
in our rush to be silent shopping.
These spaces are breathing
balloons of clouds, a wisp
of a path leading up and up
towards a glass heaven.
A single note struck against the rim
of the universe where we are all
falling petals wishing for light.
The shoppers wear masks.
You say it’s as if everyone
has spent the lockdown
partying late into the night,
only now emerging
in sunlight. Blinking,
by all the sudden noise.
The traffic, the clouds.
A barge passing slowly
through an open lock.
You shout with sudden nostalgia
for streets we have not seen
in months. We eat our picnic
in the park watching topless boys
perform on their scooters,
a dog playing with a fallen
tree branch. You turn your bike
down a path we’ve never
noticed before. The dark dapple
of woods by the canal whisper
this is what it is to fall back
in love with the world,
to be held in the soft flow of water.
There are wings in the window.
I point out the great whiteness
of the heron as he soars impossibly huge
against a sky bruised with early evening.
You say it’s already getting darker,
the summer a fish slipping through our fingers.
Our dove hotel still empty,
but the stream has a new island I have yet to see.
I think of a gangster’s sadness at wild ducks
leaving a swimming pool as I watch
the starlings steal our blueberries.
Sparrows are not grateful,
they dance in the hedges
making nests for babies who will fly away.
Still when our little boy brings us pigeon feathers,
we coo at their lightness, their freedom,
how they tickle under the chin.
I think maybe this sickness,
this nearly losing everything,
is a kind of migration,
a mirror that never stays still,
words written on water.
And at last I have a home,
a place to float back to.