Haiku: Where are the Swifts?

IMG_1304

The swifts are late this
year, the streaking sky forlorn;
signs to watch out for

 

copyright Leofwine Tanner 2019

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Poem: ‘August in Yesteryear’

English: Summer field in Belgium (Hamois). The...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Summer was once ices poles and living
on bikes; we were free like swifts
screaming circles in the air. Greens
were for football and teams twenty a side,
roads for playing cricket, where cars
were stalling aberrations. We lay
on lawns watching clouds, minds unfettered
in those zenith blues; guilt
and care belonged to
some other world and school
might well have been
beyond the moon.

Only later came guitars with boys’ awakenings;
serenading neighbours
sunbathing in the yard, or the shock
of full moons rising late in the day. We really
thought we had credence, like southern
Skynyrd boys, singing in that
sultry heat with school coming at us
like banks of cloud, the football season
begun and cricket nearing its end,
watching shadows gathering
where the sun once shone

poem © copyright David F. Barker 2012

Poem ‘Hurricane’s Grave’

Hurricane’s Grave

A copse can be an intimate
friend. Most days he roamed there, always
finding something to love, a life of
reasonable expectation.
Late winter was a favourite time; tree tops
took on reddish hues and
there were further signs other
than snowdrops
and blue tits’ brighter songs, of the
burgeoning spring

Today was different. Large boots
had been this way,
their wearer, like
a stump line of grey, stood
barely seen by an old fence, through straight
saplings in sunlight.
He approached the figure, which seemed
to dissipate like mist in the sun, something
he’d mistaken for form
and life

But it was more than
a notion that had led him there. The fence
overlooked a rolling field, familiar lumps
and bumps of pasture unchanged
for decades,
where lords in their demesnes might
still rule for all he knew.
He leant on the fence, it
gave way in his hand. A piece of torn
grey cloth freed from a nail, flopped to
the damp ground.
He held it,
felt its old thick weave— like a uniform

He pondered the scene in front
of him, gave space to wartime tales,
the remembered lumps and
bumps which might easily hide a
hurricane’s grave

image and poem © copyright david f. barker 2012

* The Hurricane here, is a British WWII fighter plane

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

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Anonymous-Lines-ebook/dp/B005SGWTOG/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1338013669&sr=1-1&tag=acleint06-21

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

Poem ‘Days in Magic May’

Days in Magic May

And I opened the eyes
you’ve been opening ever since;

from the sweet wafts of mayflower,
whose banks of pure white

herald the long summer days,
to the sudden sight

of all manner of flies,
all busy living their fast fuse lives.

You’d point to the swifts swooping close,
yet so completely removed:

how could we comprehend
a life spent solely in the sky?

But you spoke to me in magic—
the old names for flowers and trees

sitting soft in lush landscapes,
either lost or quite alien now

poem and image © copyright df barker 2012

Poem ‘The First Time’

Blackbird (Turdus merula), singing male. Bogen...

Blackbird (Turdus merula), singing male. Bogense havn, Funen, Denmark. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The First Time

Blackbird, you must believe me,
but I didn’t set out to praise you.
So much can seem pastoral,
hackneyed, and plain ‘done already’.

But your song today
when I opened the window,
once the lashing rain had passed
and a feeble sun had come out –

it was so vital and clear.
You were not troubled by worry,
not hamstrung with minutiae,
nor at all concerned about

what you should be doing.
You simply sang from your heart,
a heart which I can’t always find
or even acknowledge in me.

Today then, at least let me say
it was like hearing you
for the first time.
Which of course, I was

Poem © copyright df barker

Poem ‘A Robin’s Descent’

A Robin’s Descent

The rain is gone,
though a heaviness remains.

Between this precious repose
and first glimpses of a lighter day,

a robin drops to drenched grass,
almost tame and curious,

the colour of passion,
his peppy, ardent life

among manifold greens.
Then he pops up once more,

daring closer this time,
an upturned table leg his perch,

to peek inside this house
of false comfort,

bringing life to worn out lives

poem and image © copyright df barker 2012