We have a national park close to us which is a thing of beauty and which contains such loveliness, you have to make yourself go home. The park is on old ground and standing on it, there is that eternal feeling of all that has gone before and all that will come in the future. This park seems to include the sky as part of its sheer loveliness.
THE PROPHET AT MY ELBOW
Early Winter, and the geese are sailing In a long straight line down the river, Not knowing where they are going But going, anyway, Turning at the curve then coming back. By their side, the wind is puffing up Little drops of sunny water.
And as if the prophet was standing by me, I became aware of the immense blue vault of the heavens. Through the light of day, saw the hidden night, With one star blazing brighter than all the others.
My feet were firm on solid ground, Yet beneath them, I saw mountains biding their time, Deserts flowering, and lights of cities not yet built all shining, And the prophet, standing at my elbow, whispered, ‘Here is loveliness beyond all telling.’
Mid-winter, and the geese are sailing In a long straight line down the river. Their angry little eyes a snapping song of reluctant praise To the love that made them. And the prophet, standing at my elbow, whispered Of the steadfast love and hope that lives in all creation.
Old Friends and new friends, Lovers of the past and Lovers of the future, Tellers of long stories and short ones, Writers of diaries and letters, These are the quiet narrators Of those who share their journey.
Every single one remembered In one thankful dash of the pen. Ready to catch them On stone, papyrus or paper. Ready to be passed on from one to the other .
There to live again, now and for ever, At least, almost for ever.
When I was a girl, my father kept aviaries of canaries and budgerigars. He loved these little birds and I loved to see them darting about like so many tiny bright arrows. I remember the parrot but it didn’t belong to us and now I have no idea who brought it into the house. I think it must have only been staying for a short time because, apart from this one vivid memory, it was gone. I would translate these birds into bits of writing and even now, when I look at a page, I can still sometimes see golden full stops, exotic blue and green commas and semi-colons and the odd dazzling colour of the exclamation mark! Wishing everyone a safe and happy New year and may every day be a good writing day.
There were canaries through all those years, Endlessly flying down the days Like little golden full stops At the end of a sentence.
There were budgerigars, too. Blue and green, chittering and chattering Like commas or semi-colons Taming an especially unruly paragraph.
And there was one great question mark of a parrot. Where did he come from? Who brought him in? Sitting wherever he chose, Staring at us with a cool, sardonic eye. Shouting and swearing, ‘Shivering his timbers,’ Like some old sea tossed sailor. Every squawk an exclamation mark on a really Exciting piece of writing.
But I liked the little wren Singing in the garden, Startling the silence Like a poem.