ROLL ON SUMMER
After early rain this morning the sun has got its hat on this afternoon and Bath bustles with ice-cream wielding hoards of amblers.
One of the highlights of this week for me was a BBC radio 3 program (The Sunday Feature) on the poet I may have quoted more than any other in these messages – the wonderful Mary Oliver.
I rose this morning early as usual, and went to my desk
But it’s spring,
and the thrush is in the woods,
somewhere in the twirled branches, and he is singing.
And so, now, I am standing by the open door.
And now I am stepping down onto the grass.
I am touching a few leaves.
I am noticing the way the yellow butterflies
move together, in a twinkling cloud, over the field.
And I am thinking: maybe just looking and listening
is the real work.
Maybe the world, without us,
is the real poem.
Verse 1 From the Book of Time
The image below shows Iford garden- where I have more than once heard a thrush in full song.
Among the fritilleries is a contemplative sculpture from the recent Beth Carter show….
On the subject of birds….on my way to catch the train at the rural Avoncliff station I often pause to listen to a host of sparrows squabbling. In such picturesque surroundings it is amusing to come across a punch-up in a gutter...
He’s no artist.
His taste in clothes is more
dowdy than gaudy.
And his nest – that blackbird, writing
pretty scrolls on the air with the gold nib of his beak
would call it a slum
To stalk solitary on lawns,
to sing solitary in midnight trees,
to glide solitary over grey atlantics-
not for him: he’d rather
a punch up in a gutter
He carries what learning he las
lightly – it is, in fact, based only
on the usefulness whose result
is survival. A proletarian bird.
But when winter soft-shoes in
and these other birds –
ballet dancers, musicians, architects-
die in the snow
and freeze to branches,
watch him happily flying
on the O-levels and A-levels
of the air.
Sparrow by Norman MacCaig
This painting could be a thicket on the way to Avoncliff…
Delft II is a painting that could easily house the bird Norman MacCaig refers to in lofty terms previously. P J Kavanagh places our gold nibbed hero in a garden in South-west London.
Blackbird in Fulham
A John the Baptist bird which comes before
The light, chooses an aerial
Toothed like a garden rake, puts a prong at each shoulder,
Opens its beak and becomes a thurifer
Blessing dark above dank holes between the houses,
Sleek patios or rag-and-weed-choked messes.
Too aboriginal to notice these,
Its concentration is on resonance
Which excavates in sleepers memories
Long overgrown or expensively paved-over,
Of innocence unmawkish, love robust.
Its sole belief, that light will come at last.
The point is proved and, casual, it flies elsewhere
To sing more distantly, as though its tune
Is left behind imprinted on the air,
Still legible, though this the second carbon.
And puzzled wakers lie and listen hard
To something moving in their minds’ backyard.
Away from the trees and thickets, gliding through the waters of our summer exhibition is this pouting bronze beauty..
Other sculpture on show includes work by Nichola Theakston, Beth Carter, Paul Mount, Patrick Haines, anna Gillespie- painitngs by Melanie Goemans, Mark Johnson, Helen Simmonds, Bobbie Russon, Stewart Edmondson, Nathan Ford.
Thank you again for reading.
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