Sunday 12 October 2008
Swallows In May
Swallows In May.
Walking a May morning beside the river Medway,
Past Upnor Castle and beautiful Lady Hamilton,
Heading towards the heron lakes of Hoo peninsula
Along a path of scrub, mud and mighty chains,
Which abuts a wave worn bank of kiln and brick,
Where mudflaps of slip and slap form deadly traps,
Slopping onto shingles that crunch with each step,
Past tide stumped ribs of iron, wood and stone,
Along the Saxon shore of jutting barge bone and marsh,
Slipping on rocks wracked in fronds of black seaweed,
That flowed in medusa tresses, salted and bleak.
Along that wave washed shore of gulls I walked,
Then clambered atop the roof of a precarious pillbox,
That sits with slit eyes of death upon the beach,
Still awaiting an imminent invasion that never came,
And sat in silence in the mooned mists of early morning,
Where the silver river serpent sloughs and slides,
Twice daily rising with gouts and gushes of mead,
Polishing the pebbles as a poet polishes a word.
I lay back listening to the banter of boats and bells,
That clanked and chimed upon the incoming tide,
Then as drowsing sunbeams yawned from the East,
Through a cloud gap flew an epiphany of swallows.
Each sensuous stroked the boundless blue,
Swift as mercury upon moon crescent wings,
They rose upon a rack of low cloud,
And reaped the wind, sizzling as they scythed,
Tumbling and turning in high sunlit space
What golden joy was in such graceful haste.
Souls unmarred by rapine and red claw desires,
Seeking only the sacred rapture of flight itself,
To streak amidst those last wild acres,
Of silent sky, in search of simple delights,
Such as flashing sunbeams to flit between,
And to drift upon the flattery of clouds.
Their shadows sleeked upon the sand and stones,
As they skated upon the azure ice of sky,
Rising it seemed until mere wisps of black,
They gathered in high flock, wheeling and tumbling,
In that place where prayers and dreams gather,
Beyond this crust of dust that we call home.
Each flit and yaw ridiculed my clumsy form,
Made absurd from clag of skin and bone,
Which sought union with such questing souls,
Yet remained forever rooted, mired in its nature.
Slipping through the shining void,
Where only such angels truly belong,
Adored by the sighs of infinity,
They feather the face of God,
Who clutches them to his pale breast,
Treasuring their beauty for himself.
As I gasped in wonder before their grace,
I heard their distant twittering, a chaff of song,
For what need of they a thrilling symphony,
To troubador some dull and dowdy hen,
Or paens to praise or charm the fiery dawn,
For their elegance alone commands awe,
From all earthbound souls who eke and dream,
Within the stone womb of mother earth.
The Halls of Heaven are home for you,
You whose wings are cooled by scudding cloud,
Who drift skittish as autumn leaves,
Upon the cusp of earth and infinity,
Blessed by all elements and bound by none,
For your presence is a sacred libation,
Pouring from the eves of houses as holy water,
Once fell from the cupped hands of Christ,
And salved the sins of this world,
Bringing hope to this thirst of dust and death.
For you are lords of all the lands, seas and sky,
World wanderers and ocean roamers,
Who carry the Grail to all those who seek and see,
And bestow the blessings of your beauty.
How I envy you your liberty, to wander at will,
Where your spirit alone dictates, upon gust and gasp,
Of winds and storm that roam this world,
Free from the burden of command and obedience,
Adrift in the eternal now, a life of scud and flow,
For my liberty is a simple space, a single page,
Found only where the nib of this pen rests,
For here alone may my soul fly forth and be free,
With words and rhymes that seek to soar,
Yet even as they lift alive from the page,
In the poetic form of ink flocks of words,
Arising from their roosts of inner vision,
They are always a pale reflection of your wings.