A Shy Spring

All around me things are moving,
growing, warming, stretching.
Into the cool air and the soft ground
comes a fresh, shy Spring.

Snowdrops shaking, buds breaking.
Daisies quivering, starlings bickering.
Seeds of darkness, returning quietly,
gently, silently, reach for the sun.

In every breath my senses feel the change,
unfurling, seeking, questioning.
Led by the parade of new creation
my slow hopes creep into life.

Cracks of green in trees appearing,
patient daffodils, persevering.
Space to fill and heart to grow
the yearly tide of life will flow.

New wonders and familiar joys,
remembering, rejoicing, regretting.
Each year past Springs that I have seen
grow richer and become one.
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Pearls.

How precious, how fragile,
how fleeting we are.
Our days evaporated
into precious drops of memory.
Pearls from the sea of time.

How stubborn, how hardy,
how buoyant we are.
Surfing the breakers of life,
fighting the current, keeping afloat.
Riders on the waves.

How selfish, how puffed up,
how self deluding we are.
Setting our own price,
elbowing forward, putting on airs, .
Peacocks without tails.

How clever, how resourceful,
how inventive we are.
Making beauty from chaos,
weaving new pathways, scattering joy.
Fragments of creation.

How needy, how hesitant,
how tentative we are.
Seeking approval, reaching out,
wondering why.
Children looking for a home.

How gentle, how fervent,
how kindly we are.
Giving relief in hardship ,
ease from misery, respite from pain.
Bearers of those in need.

How cruel, how deadly,
how relentless we are.
Flailing in anger, spreading hate,
laying waste to the unknown.
Destroyers of innocence.

How precious, how fragile,
how fleeting we are.
Our lives evaporated
into precious drops of memory.
Pearls from the sea of time.
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A Little Life.

I am a small person
living at the edge of a harsh, grey sea.
The world does not ask my opinion.
Few people remember that I am here.
Years roll by with the waves
and the world turns, unnoticed.
The sun comes up.
The clouds roll out.
People come and go,
doing much as others did before them.
Out there, over the horizon
hordes of them scramble,
going somewhere,
streaming through life.
Moving, doing, building.
Spoiling, taking, ravaging.
Times move on
but as I look out
across the wind blown strand
where my scant life plays out,
setting my face to the wind,
there is a kind of peace.
Losses and gains,
failures and achievements
are shown for what they are.
Little changes.
Something endures.

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Storm surge. January 13th 2017

Do not take me for granted.
Do not presume.
Do not toy with me
for I will take you down.
I will prevail.

Do not think that I am benign
simply because I allow you
to dangle your children’s toes
in a soft summer wave.
My force is waiting to strike
and I will unleash it against you
at a time of my choosing.
I am not your friend.

Hidden in my depths
is the power to destroy.
The power of unconsidered hate.
The flash of resentment
long withheld.
A whip sharp bitterness
hides in the sting of my waves,
lashing out at random,
showering venom.
I do as I please.
I take.
I destroy.

Remember my words
as you parade your folly
in the gentle heat
of a long summer day.
You are there
on borrowed time,
bought by my indulgence.
I am waiting for you.
I will come.

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Seagoing Crows

We have carrion crows in the bay here and they are by far the most fascinating birds that I share the beach with when I walk my dog. They are sharply aware, careful but unafraid, eyeballing me as they strut past, puffing out their chest and lifting their feet high. They will only rarely allow themselves to be interrupted, using a minimum of effort to keep their distance. They clearly regard themselves as more than my equal, and in these circumstances they are absolutely right. They know exactly who they are and what they can do and they have worked out long ago that I am clumsy and inept in their world by comparison. Their look tells me that, frankly, they have never met a human being who is their equal and certainly not this one. A few hops or a casual flap of a wing are usually enough to deal with me and if they are concerned they will just soar lazily upwards for a few yards. If I stand still and look straight at them they are happy to stare me out. There is nothing like facing the stark, bright eye of a crow- one of the most intelligent of all birds- to put you in your place. You know that you have met your match.

Life is relatively easy on the beach for them as there is plenty of food along the tide line, where both the corpses of sea life and the discarded remains of holiday packed lunches end up. There is not too much competition- seagulls are all mouth and easily fooled. All the crow needs is a quick eye and the wit to get their claws and beak into what they find fast. They have to be ready for anything. I have watched them rip apart and eat a range of things, from a sparkling fresh cuttlefish to a soggy pizza, dumped at the edge of the sea, still in its open box. It doesn’t pay to be choosy.

A beach crow has worked out early in life that dogs may be quicker on their feet than them but they are no threat and quite easy to deal with. When a dog interrupts their meal they will simply take a few flaps back to stand and wait, knowing that someone else will often sort things out for them by calling the dog away. As payback for occasional losses I have seen them knowingly tease one of my dogs all the way down the long stretch of sand, making her run and bark, staying just out of reach, occupying their mind and having fun- just seeing what would happen and testing their power.

There is no undignified squabbling to mar a crow’s life as they do not live in bad tempered flocks like many seabirds. They walk their walk almost alone, independent minded and practical, above such things. We could learn a lot from them.

At present their conservation status is classed as “least concern”. I am not surprised as they are well able to look after themselves. Long may that continue.

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