September

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the dark contracts

edges pull together, coalesce into beak and claw and feather

black energy takes form

 

These black beauties are making themselves known. They peck at the edges of the garden, throwing decaying leaves across the driveway. They peck in the guttering, throwing clumps of mucky sludge onto the deck. And they peck at my kitchen window.

Last weekend, there was a tapping at the window. I didn’t realise what it was at first, then one of the cats started looking out the window making that strange chattering, chirruping noise, and I thought, “ah – a bird”. A minute later the pecking noise came again, but I wasn’t quick enough to see who was there. And then – at a different window directly opposite me – a bird started tapping. It seemed to be almost hovering – head bobbing back and forward to tap the glass – wings outstretched. I stepped forward – it looked up, then flew away.

What was its message? Did it have one? Perhaps it was simply a curious youngster intrigued by its own reflection?

I don’t need to know.

What I love is the connection – the bird-world visiting.

And this day – this first day of spring – I feel the dark of winter withdrawing.

It condenses into seed and bud and bird – ready to release its energy into a bright new season.

 

19 December 2017 – notes for a poem – un-named as yet

The sky is pale and grey, not heavy, but flat and low.
The world is shallow, horizontal, with little space to breathe,
except in spaces cleared by flurries of warm wind.
Sparrows visit, fearless, curious thieves,
crumbs disappearing at the speed of flight.
A magpie swoops in, a botanic priest to correct the masses.
A large golden dog steps forward and they take to the air.
The roses are every colour from white to peach, cerise to ruby,
some freshly opened, some over-blown.
Stopping at the climbing roses,
and drawing a branch close to breathe in the perfume,
a conversation approaches, full of soft “-sh-sh-“ sounds,
the sound of the breeze and these dark, blood-red blooms.

This is the beginning of a longer piece based on notes taken on 19 December 2017. Its taken me a while to feel that I’m beginning to understand how this wants to be written. But this feels right, and I’ll persevere with the rest…its not always an easy process.

©clairegriffin2018

footprints

(and in the meantime – imagine a photograph of bird footprints…I’m working on it)

I feel thoughts circling
words waiting to be touched
the birds waiting to land
who have always been with me
just out of sight
only approaching from the side
when I’m looking ahead
or looking back
or when I’m still
eyes closed, mind open, listening
then they come

black birds of the imagination
bones bleached white in memory
feathers full of dreams
songs and claws and tails and wings

they strut and hop across the page
leaving spiky footprints, unbound symbols
runes of divine connection

or gently, they lower one wing
to deceive, or to start over
brushing the page clean

sometimes, they are so sure of their song
they stab with their beak
straight through, and pin it to the page

all I can ever do
is trace a line from the edge of one footprint to the next
and trust in the story
they want told

©clairegriffin2017

the green inside

there is a place that lives inside me
a space between trees
low hanging branches
overgrown grass
glimpses of sky
cool, damp and quiet
the sound of a stream nearby

the grass is deep, vital green
and when I lie down
it surrounds me
and I see nothing
but clouds shifting
liquid jade between

I am invisible to all
except birds who watch
from high behind the leaves
beetles climb the grass stems
a bee lands on my hand

surrounded on three sides by trees
the fourth side opening into the light
I remember the sadness of leaving

walking out into the sun
the loss of place

revisiting is bittersweet

© Claire Griffin 2016

morning secret

two kereru swoop in
and land on the power lines
thwuump, thwuump of heavy wings
beating down on the cool morning air

a dance begins
or maybe avoidance
it depends on your point of view

one steps left
as if the other is too close
but the movement is mirrored

one turns around
and this too is copied

shuffle, shuffle, step, step, turn

shuffle, shuffle, step, step, turn

until a comfortable distance
between them is achieved
and they sit side by side
buffeted by the wind

a minute passes
and the follower takes the lead
standing tall, chest out, bouncing
up and down on the wire
then starts stepping left

towards the first
who decides enough is enough
and flies off into the shelter of a tree
only to be followed
one more time

behind the leaves
their movements remain
a morning secret

© Claire Griffin 2016

morning song

the rooster is crowing
its 8.00am (7.00 without DST)*
a civilised hour to be awake
and to hear his morning song

the same call, almost one note
over and over and over
his voice occasionally breaking
while he paces slowly
behind the low wire fence

no-one answers
the hens are still dreaming
and here in the suburbs
he has no competition

food is set out, water poured
and the hens encouraged to wake
he settles beside them, quiet now
filling his feathered belly with scraps

birds sing in the nearby trees
some have calls that are just as limited and repetitive
some chirrup, some squeak
and some show off with their multi-note good mornings

blackbird and tui and sparrow and kereru
begin to fly between and over houses
swooping past the small enclosure
and into the surrounding trees

he jumps onto the railing
looks out over the garden
and in the morning sun
clipped wings stretch and flap

* DST = daylight saving time

© Claire Griffin 2016