Nothing More, or the Sound of Enough

I want to write a poem about the world with nothing fancy,
nothing more than the hum of bees,
dashing past, declaring summer,
nothing more than the rushing of the river,
the occasional plop! as water hits stone,
or a fish leaps for flies,
nothing more than the rustle of the wind,
moving through the full leaf oak
like a wave
nothing more than the percussion of familiar –
a chainsaw in the distance,
the cry of sheep,
the rumble of a tractor on the hill,
nothing more than the silent dance of
two white butterflies
turning and dancing and
caught in the music of this moment
no, nothing more than this,
the unromantic cheep of birds I do not know,
while butterflies dance to the glug of fish in water,
the hum of bees and tree crescendo
as the tractor rumbles distant on the hill.


The piece was prompted by the first line of a poem by Mary Oliver, This World, in Why I Wake Early. (We share the first line.)

The Haar

It comes suddenly in my memory, rolling off the North Sea and catching us unawares. Although it has been known to move slowly and settle, blanketing the whole of a day, or an east coast town, it moves fast at the shore till we’re running and shrieking not just with cold but laughter at the need to leave the sea so suddenly.

The haar already thick and white with cold, I see my mother standing by the dunes, her arms outstretched with towels that will scratch our skin with sand.

at the water’s edge
a shroud of haar
the seagulls cry

Hardly A Breath of Wind

There is hardly a breath of wind.

The day is still, and warm, and it starts to rain as I walk, just a summer mist at first, kissing as I walk.

The hedgerows wave, rich and abundant, in the hardly a breath of wind: bramble flowers showing off with their pinkness and their whiteness, the first raspberries peeking out, wildly raspberry red, not yet ripe but tempting, regardless.

Grasses wave in the hardly a breath of wind while the field of the buttercups teases in a shade I do not know: cream, vanilla, earth, yellow, golden, the colour of a painting, the colour of abundance, the colour of the grasses, dancing on the machair, the colour of this butterfly buttercup field, moving, slowly, in the hardly a breath of wind.

Birds call with the the breath of the wind: oystercatchers flashing down the river, swallows dancing above the grasses in the fields, by the hedgerows rich with clover where the bees buzz and flies sing with the softest breath of summer.

By the river, the rain becomes heavy, torrential, and I shelter for a while beneath the trees. The leaves move gently, not with the hardly a breath of wind, but with the rain, falling splashing kissing, smoothing the warmth of the air and the stillness of the summer’s day, sultry, and still, with hardly a breath of wind.