Three Days



Photo from Flickr, photographer unknown


I have been transplanting buttercups into the verge at the front of our house, where there is no pavement, and have been thinking about boundaries – in particular the contrast between the rather wild garden, full of life, and the fast road outside.  This poem, written a few years ago, came about as I watched a female blackbird mourn the death of her mate.  She kept vigil for three days, and then she went.  I did not see her again.  It made me think about not only the intensity, the reality of each creature’s experience, but how often we live in our own enclosed worlds, isolated from each other, and how hard it can be to cross those boundaries.   How hard to credit and acknowledge the fullness of the lives around us. To begin to do so, to begin to see and understand another,  seems to me an important step to take.


Three Days

She stayed by the side of the road,
her brown feathers ragged,
stayed by the place where her mate lay,
black against the tar,
one wing lifted,
catching the breeze –
the passing of many cars.

Startled, sometimes,
she scuttered away into
the green growth,
then returned,
holding her head on one side,
but always she was there,
for three long days
and, for all I knew, nights.

What was the quality of her grief,
of the bond that tied her there?
We know so little of each other,
the unknown world folded
inside each being.
I walked humbly then,
knowing only to be kind.


3 thoughts on “Three Days

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