Friday, February 20, 2009

Last Evening

That time of evening,

sun dropping, shadows lengthening.

Swallows, recently returned

from south Africa

are happy hunting on the wing;

an occasional twitter almost

sounds like happiness, like glee.

They remind me of

when I was a child, that infinite freedom,

not wanting to hear my father

calling me home from play before darkness.

Maybe half a dozen are flying

round in circles from above

our neighbour’s leafing willows and alders,

then, with complete mastery,

above the silver birch and mountain ash

lining the river bank beside our cottage;

they wheel an arc and repeat endlessly.

Sit beside me and Listen now.

How to describe silence?

Peace, maybe?

Does silence have a smell?

How does contentment smell?

A coal tit calls in the distance

high pitched and insistent,

asserting his territory before he roosts.

Already the hebe bush beside us

is awash with its purple brush-like flowers;

bees and flies are lost in ecstasy

deep among them.

In the middle distance

the warm raking light of evening

on flanks of the ridge above Dereens village.

I gasp in wonder.

Each lit boulder and raised bit of hillside

is complemented by a shadow;

the aching simplicity of observed beauty.

Even the telegraph poles

are elevated this evening,

I view them now, my mind expanded,

as works of art,

the tall pale poles lit like ballerinas

arms extended against

the backcloth of God’s creation.

They could be Christ himself

crucified high in the vaulted roof

of my church in England,

his body incandescent,

skin glowing like ivory; like silk.

Even the occasional drone

of passing traffic transcends itself,

becomes part of the symphony,

the music of Aquila, of Achill.

Close by, in our land drain

the dry rasp of old straw coloured bulrush stems

makes me think of them as parchment,

their scribble and scratch

captivating in the slight breeze

rising from the south east;

which God of Nature is writing this play?:

Act One, Scene One: Spring unfolding.

Everywhere I taste beauty.

Like a guest at some fabulous banquet

where all the senses are heightened,

so that I swoon at the smell

of that blue that is Achill Sound just now,

and all the lit white cottages

along the coast road

are vanilla ice cream for my eyes.

Hold the moment.

I close my eyes and breathe deeply.

What is that odour?


Hold it.

Breathe again.

Be expansive.

What is that sound?

A lamb on the hillside calling its mother?;

a child lost in beauty?;

a bee humming in eternity?.

All of these things.

Yes, all of these.

© Mark F. Chaddock

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