Monday, 29 June 2015

Still GROWS the ELDER

The summer heat has come, dustily settling across the fields and with it, the weighty, drowsiness that hums and buzzes in the head. The noontime hedges are as still as the night-time ones and the trees click and stretch beneath the sun. But the lethargy is short lived; the summer is still young, it hasn't yet shaken off the new-yeast of spring. The elder that the park-keeper laboured to cut back last month, explodes with green, lacy life, rearing in delight; defiantly laughing at the clean straight edges loved by sheers and humankind.

Two days ago, in the rain, I came across a dead rook - a juvenile, black beaked, full size. It lay upon the grass; perfectly formed, its eyes closed, as if sleeping. The crack willows by the pond were its dripping pall. The jackdaws and rooks were silent. Its blackness seeped into the sodden ground in the way that night creeps across the field, grass blade by grass blade. Penny sniffed around its iridescent body. I felt an irrational sorrow swim round my veins. Will its presence here on earth be missed and its death be mourned? Will its family watch out for its return and feel the stab of its absence? Crows, we are told, can recognise humans who have caused them harm for a year or more after the initial offence. Fields where danger has been perceived are avoided and news of it spread around the entire colony which is then handed down generation by generation. For how long will this young rook be grieved?

But today there is no body. There is no evidence of it at all on that grassy patch. The ground is bone dry as if even the trace of water falling from the lifeless feathers must be eradicated. Still grows the sweet smelling elder. For some, the world is not large enough to contain all this joy and sadness.  

15 comments:

  1. beautiful observations and contemplations.
    I love the defiance of the green. but not just the green.
    the way everything knows in it's bones what it is meant to do.
    it's quietly reassuring.

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    1. That's exactly IT - I gain so much strength and reassurance from seeing that.

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  2. If only I could find words adequate enough to say how I feel,
    when I read what you write.
    If only.
    Would a * thank you * suffice?
    Or does that seem trite?
    Is it enough to say I am so glad you are back?
    Or would that seem like falling ribbons?
    So many questions, so enough now. :)
    I wish I knew your name.

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    1. A 'thank you' more than suffices, Anita. I am only too delighted that you have enjoyed my words - although, in truth, the author often plays on the smallest of roles in the way that words can touch a reader. Nevertheless I am so glad that they touch you.
      Anonymity seemed a good idea when I started blogging. It's not so important these days - I'm Richard ;)

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  3. As some beings must pass on, others continue to thrive - impermanence. Beautiful words.

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    1. Yes, that is so true, Mandy. There are times when I embrace it and derive so much strength from it... while at other times, I find it so hard to comes to terms with and find it a bitter thing. Perhaps that too is the state of things and they are what they are - the very human burden of those who can consciously rejoice in the 'now' but who also (within that consciousness) are forced to recognise the impermanence of it! If it is a cost, then it is a cost worth paying...

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  4. ''For some, the world is not large enough to contain all this joy and sadness."

    And for you my friend, my words are not enough to confirm my joy to teach to my students your wisdom.

    Thank you very much.
    Yannis Politopoulos

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    1. Haha, Yannis, my students benefit greatly for your wisdom too - perhaps we should swap sometimes?!! :) :)

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  5. Of all of your writings, this one has to be my favorite. Your work always leaves me speechless - this one resonated with me long after I read it. "Still grows the sweet smelling elder. For some this world is not large enough to contain all this joy and sadness." How very true that is.

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    1. Thank you so much Mandy. It is so good to see you back and I hope you are feeling much better!

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  6. This line - "For some, the world is not large enough to contain all this joy and sadness." How it rings so true for many on different occasions. Our weather here has been rainy. Your poem brings to mind a time when once, as I sat at the shore in the shade under a tree, a seagull came and sat a few feet away from me until finally, it laid down and fell into its eternal slumber...Then another time, I got witnessed sea a sea turtle come ashore to lay her eggs. Birth and death, and joy and sadness seem to be the circle of life, no?

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  7. Sorry for the typo, it should read: "Then another time, I witnessed a sea turtle come ashore to lay her eggs."

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    1. Those must have been incredible encounters to experience, Kelly!! What amazing things to be part of. Yes I think you're right, there doe seem to be a circular nature in these things - or, at least, that is how we can make sense of them!

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For your voice is important... and words that are shared grow wings.