Whee- oo

Eleanor our daughter died 21/04/2020


It is one of those autumn days where the dull light

Lets everything stand out as it is;

From the late forget-me-nots across the red ploughed

Field to the farmhouse, the eye misses

Nothing and enjoys the lot. I say hello and again hello

To Romanian fruit-pickers passing

Then hear a bird call whee-oo, and again whee-oo;

From elder scrub or long grass it sings

As if hoping for reply, but there is none. I’ve been

Listening so intently, I step in a puddle

Off -balance squelching the brown water over

My legs and I guess the mud will

Not easily be deleted from my socks.

Whee-oo it calls from a new location,

Nearer me, and I wait companionably

With my invisible musician

For a responding phrase, but no, only the yelp

Of the buzzard circling the acres

Provokes an alarm from sparrows then silence.

I tell my bird to hide from the breaker

Of necks, as I turn past the brick battlement

Of a mighty barn. Whee-oo it sings, I reckon

Close by, and whee-oo (oh yes) another voice resounds.

But how will it tell an answer from an echo?

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