Alexander Averin

Friday, 1 July 2011


Dear Diary,

Those who wish to sing will always find a song

Swedish Proverb

I am sorry I have been absent for so long; I am going to try and be around more. Life has the habit of getting in the way of writing and it takes up too much time and why does time go so much more quickly nowadays?

In spite of life all is well here in my little Welsh heaven; even the fish are jumping but I cannot lie and say the cotton is high. Cotton grows wild in my spiritual home across the water, up on the bogs but not around here in my little Welsh valley.

(I just love that song Summertime, perhaps I will post it for you?)

My thoughts are on all things avian this morning as our writing group ‘homework’ is to write a poem with the bird theme. I have many written in the past but had better not cheat and pull one out - instead I must try to produce something new.

My thoughts are very often on our winged neighbours but especially so at this time of year when we feel outnumbererd by the birds and the beasts who share our abode. There are birds a-plenty, I have never known so many which is very encouraging after the Big Freeze of last winter when we had temperatures of minus sixteen for many days and many of their precious little lives were lost.

So the list of birds species in the garden grows ever-longer and they all seem to take it in turns to visit the feeders, it is as if they have set ‘appointments’. Some breeds will mix happily side by side – the doves living up to their name being the gentlest and most harmonious. Some visit en famille, the woodpeckers and the nuthatches for example and their wee ones wait to be fed by their parents, their feathers quivering in anticipation, which is such a joy to watch. We have a real gang of sparrows now (we had none to speak of before) and that is also good news as they are supposed to be in decline. Sparrows were the only birds I knew really when I was growing up in London.

Feeding the birds (and the gate-crashing squirrels) may be draining our purses but is at the same time filling our hearts with gladness as we watch them from the kitchen, bedroom and parlour windows –and surely gladness is worth more than money anyway? Just one of the few things remaining that cannot (yet) be taxed or measured only in financial terms?

Before I go I must mention a couple of poetry books which I have recently enjoyed. The American poet Mary Oliver first, she is one of my very favourite poets and her book Swan is fantastic, so good I am going to have to buy a copy. I have picked four favourites to share with you but there will be just one today.

Here is a taster and as avian poems go this one is hard to beat.

The Swan

Did you too see it, drifting, all night, on the black river?

Did you see it in the morning, rising into the silvery air -

An armful of white blossoms,

A perfect commotion of silk and linen as it leaned

into the bondage of its wings; a snow bank, a bank of lilies,

Biting the air with its black beak?

Did you hear it, fluting and whistling

A shrill dark music - like the rain pelting the trees - like a waterfall

Knifing down the black ledges?

And did you see it, finally, just under the clouds -

A white cross streaming across the sky, its feet

Like black leaves, its wings like the stretching light of the river?

And did you feel it, in your heart, how it pertained to everything?

And have you too finally figured out what beauty is for?

And have you changed your life?

Mary Oliver

Books are like buses. You don’t see one you want and then three appear altogether. The other book I love is the Irish poet Michael Longley’s A Hundred Doors which a friend kindly lent me recently. I have favourites among them to share with you and will do so very soon.

Finally the great poet Graham Clifford has an excellent book out called Welcome Back to the Country. I have favourites there that I would love to let you taste in a future blog.

Shall I leave you with a song?

Bye for now,


Vee said...

I wondered if you meant that song. It does have a lot of nice imagery now that I think of it again. Nice to find your post. When a blogger is off, I always think that real life has become so interesting and busy that there's not much room for blogging. Never worry about being gone in the summertime.

Toni aka irishlas said...

A very happy summer to you, Cait. Enjoy your winged friends.

Frances said...

Cait, like you, my time has also been overfilled recently with many fillings, some of which I would not have chosen.

Still, I do find some minutes here and there to enjoy pleasures like reading your beautiful posts.

I also love the song Summertime.


Pamela Terry and Edward said...

No poet touches my heart quite like Mary Oliver. This one is a gem. And I have been watching the birds here all afternoon. It's so hot here and they've been splashing around in the bird baths all day. Cardinals and robins, wrens and chickadees. I've filled it up twice today and they're still at it! So much fun to watch.

Glad to see you're back!

Mac n' Janet said...

Love the song, and yes the cotton is high here in Georgia even though we're having a drought.

e said...

Lovely post, and thanks for sharing. I've been preoccupied with things I would not have chosen either. Mary Oliver is a favourite. Best to you.

e said...

Lovely post, and thanks for sharing. I've been preoccupied with things I would not have chosen either. Mary Oliver is a favourite. Best to you.

Dave King said...

Well, you're back with a bang - two bangs, in point of fact: I thrilled to your opening text, and the poem is brilliant - and really good it is to know that you are. Welcome, and let's hope life lets yo stay around.

CAMILLA said...

Dear Cait,

My apologies for not dropping by lately, just catching up.

Cait, your posts always cheer me, such beautiful poems and pictures.

Thank you for the mention of Mary Oliver the Poet, I had never comes across her before, her writing is such a joy to read.

Love the song of Summertime, wonderful lyrics.

I heard a Cuckoo for the first time this year, the Starlings came to the bird-bath yesterday to drink and bathe, must have been at least ten of them in that bath enjoying a dip.!

Enjoy the summer in your pretty garden Cait with all your dear feathered friends.