River of wings

It starts with a drip, a drop, a splash

as a handful of starlings zoom past my window,

causing me to glance up from the computer screen.

I get back to work, but then

the trickle becomes a stream

and holds me, mesmerized.

Pulses, waves of flickering, fluttering birds,

hundreds, then thousands.

I cannot help but marvel,

following them with my eyes as they streak past,

just one tributary of a giant river of wings,

following them with my mind

to the nearby reedbeds

where they will join, and dance.

Thousands upon thousands coordinated

in breathtaking choreography

until on some secret signal

they descend to the reeds to roost.

Outside my window the river slows to a trickle

For a while, small flocks of stragglers whizz by

just drips and drops as darkness falls.

Sleep tight, little birds.

Wild Cat Island

We adored the place. Coming to it we used to run down to the lake, dip our hands in and wish, as if we had just seen the new moon. Going away from it, we were half drowned in tears. While away from it, as children and as grown ups, we dreamt about it. No matter where I was, wandering about the world, I used at night to look for the North Star and, in my minds eye, could see the beloved skyline of great hills beneath it.

Arthur Ransome


Floating in the perfect

rock channel harbour

of Wild Cat

Island of my imagination

and childhood reading.

Today I didn’t land

but basked in the sun

reflecting on half forgotten dreams,

happy that a life where this place

is just down the road

was one dream

I made happen.

And I wonder if there are

other dreams from younger days

buried in the habits of adulthood,

shadow realities

which I could choose to bring to life.

I really should be working

The sun streams onto my desk

distracting me with an open invitation.

I wander outside into the crisp

freshness of September

(I really should be working)

air cool, sun warm,

what a delicious combination.

I stroll, and admire the flowers.

This year’s robins practice their trills

and chase each other around the garden

(I should be working, really)

Dewy cobwebs sparkle.

The Chinese lanterns glow

like orange setting suns.

(Should I really be working?)

I have all the time in the world

to work,

long years of it left,

but this one moment of early autumn,

this particular combination of weather

and flowers and birdsong

will never happen again in

exactly the same way.

So I savour it.