Poem ‘The Sparrow’

English: A male House Sparrow in Victoria, Aus...

English: A male House Sparrow in Victoria, Australia in March 2008 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Sparrow

The sparrows are gone and now the winter is lonely.
Their spaces are taken by the gravelled drives
and the paved gardens. There will be no reprieve
but as the little bird leaves, like the wise man
deserts a fool, know that everything has its time
and that ours, too, is almost run.
The horse chestnut’s elephantine trunk glows warm
in the low winter sun, its clawing bareness stretches
into a cleansing sky. A narrow shaft of yellow light
dispels the rime on the whitened sward,
and the hanging orange globes of the passion flower,
like tiny suns, remind us of long gone warmth,
a hint of the approach of solstice day.
The lone robin stands guard, like a redcoat
patrolling his shed roof, punching way above his weight
to see off the bigger birds, those who would dare
plunder his own private space. He has nothing
but disdain for the squabbling starlings
who strut around in their shiny suits
in vain shows of bluster and pretence.
Even the cowslips thought it was spring.
Over keen, they showed their yellow hats
when the weather was mild and now they’re
caught out in a sudden arctic blast.
So too, the evergreen rosemary, whose lilac flowers,
though welcome, reveal the underlying unease
at the heart of the garden.
So we grew to like mowing the lawn, put up
with cutting the hedge. We let the poppies grow wild
and the elderflower rampage. We even learned
to love nettles and the funny little weeds –
but the sparrow never came back. They say he lives
in tiny enclaves now, in the fringes with red squirrels,
quite unknown in these parts, where the blackbird
chinks a meagre winter song.

poem © copyright df barker 2012

*first published in poetry collection ‘Anonymous Lines’, available on amazon.com


Please also see this: http://www.amazon.co.uk/s/ref=sr_tc_2_0?rh=i%3Astripbooks%2Ck%3AMilly+Reynolds&keywords=Milly+Reynolds&ie=UTF8&qid=1338013925&sr=1-2-ent&field-contributor_id=B0056IY4OE



  1. magsx2 · May 26, 2012

    Excellent, I loved how you wrote this poem. I thought it was great how you introduced the other animals in this as well. 🙂


  2. Beautiful write, very discriptive! I love birds so you had my attention right away, but then you always do! Really liked the poem!


  3. Angela · May 26, 2012

    David, I find your poems like tapestries: richly woven with deep and delicate colours providing an undulating movement through the lines. As I read I am moved by the rhythmic quality of your poetry, even when there is no obvious rhyme. 🙂


  4. dfb · May 26, 2012

    Mags, thank you so much again!


  5. dfb · May 26, 2012

    Thank you so much, you are very kind Wendell!


  6. dfb · May 26, 2012

    thank you so much Angela, I am very flattered indeed!


  7. David King · May 26, 2012

    This is just downright lovely. Such a great joy to read and re-read.Like a moreish dish, I want to keep coming back for another taste. The first I’ve read this morning, I shall do well to find another as agreeable.


  8. claudia · May 26, 2012

    So we grew to like mowing the lawn, put up
    with cutting the hedge. We let the poppies grow wild
    and the elderflower rampage. We even learned
    to love nettles and the funny little weeds –
    but the sparrow never came back…

    we should be never be content with it..should we…? i will always fight hard for the sparrows to come back… i’d die without them… great metaphor..


  9. rangewriter · May 26, 2012

    I have my own copy of Anonymous. 😉


  10. Indira · May 26, 2012

    Very beautiful poem on sparrow, for a long time I haven’t seen sparrow here in our place only crows, magpie and hawk are in large numbers. Missing them. Other poems are equally very good.


  11. abichica · May 26, 2012

    wonderful!! 🙂


  12. LadyBlueRose's Thoughts Into Words · May 26, 2012

    you wove the season together with such visual threads….
    I felt the threads weaving a beautiful piece of art…
    I love it David..!
    Take Care…


  13. dfb · May 26, 2012

    Thank you very much David!


  14. dfb · May 26, 2012

    Thank you so much for your comments, Claudia, I do appreciate it!


  15. dfb · May 26, 2012

    Thank you very much Indira!


  16. dfb · May 26, 2012

    Thank you so much, I do appreciate it LB!


  17. Pete Armetta · May 26, 2012

    Love it Dave, so thought provoking and sad too. While the year warms up we look around and just wonder where and why? Nice one! 🙂


  18. dfb · May 26, 2012

    Thanks very much Pete!


  19. jane tims · May 27, 2012

    Hi. I like ‘Even the cowslips thought it was spring’ Jane


  20. Sharmishtha Basu · May 27, 2012

    beautiful poem. sparrows are a dear part of our every day life here, in warm indian cities.


  21. susanjanejones · May 27, 2012

    Lovely poem, we have lots of sparrows. They live in our hedge. Also blackbirds, a robin and a wren, and a thrush. Life would be dull without birds.


  22. Ina · May 28, 2012

    Hi David, lovely and sad, I hope the sparrows will return. ( here they have miraculously ! They are now eating from the terrace tables in the streets lol )


  23. dfb · May 28, 2012

    Thank you so much Ina!


  24. Betty Hayes Albright · May 31, 2012

    David, another wonderful poem – I love sparrows, but don’t see many of them here either these days. The bluejays and crows seem to have taken over….
    (I’m just getting caught up here again and enjoying the rich imagery in ALL of your poetry.)


  25. dfb · June 2, 2012

    Thank you very much Betty!


  26. granbee · June 2, 2012

    How very wonderful to remind us, DF, about the Southern Hemisphere now entering winter. You had me remembering so many plants and birds I enjoyed in late November/early December here in Northwest Alabama in the U.S. Very wonderful celebration of earth’s joys–even with the wistful missing of that sparrow!


  27. dfb · June 3, 2012

    Thank you very much GB!


  28. bardessdmdenton · June 4, 2012

    Quite splendid descriptions here…I love your use of very unique but always clear imagery, the visuals your words create stunning. This is among my all time favorites of yours, David!


  29. Tanner Mulvey · November 15, 2012

    Horse chestnut tastes really great, sometimes i use it ony my meals.’

    Please do go look at this useful internet site


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