Redshanks

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Photo – Clive Timmons

 

When I walk, I often take a notebook, and sit and watch.  Watch isn’t quite the right word – it is more of an opening yourself up, a forgetting yourself and becoming lost in what you see before you.

This poem records a moment of change, when, with a rising wind, the birds began to fly.
I wondered what it was that moved them.  Whatever it was, it moved me, too.  I got up, and walked on.

 

Redshanks

Light on grey mud, grey water,
clouds high and thin.
By the edge of the river
redshanks probe thick
cold with their long beaks.

The wind breathes
over the flowing tide,
ice breath that mists
the watersheen.
And the birds begin to lift,
first the northernmost, then
up like a piece of loose lace,
flashing dark and light from
opening wings.

They circle and cry, raising
long mudsplattered legs,
wingtips close now, wheeling
the air into many breezes.

And what moved them, and what
tied them?  That pull, the breath
of wind over the water. That nudge,
seeing open wings all about them.

That longing  to fly

 

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