Listening To Stars

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,

exhausted, overwhelmed

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.