Annaghmakerrig, October 2011
On a dripping day that never really wakens
when the sun is weak behind the line of Gothic firs,
flaring through the clouds sometimes like the flames
from a distant winter war, my head is in Fallada’s Berlin
and there are lights needed for reading in the afternoon,
the old glass of my window becomes a focus for the birds.
There are blackbirds landing in a lichened birch—
the branch giving under them to hand them
delicately to a lower ledge like a dancer
passing on a lift, then coming down to the ground
to scuffle, tail up, in the gravel and the wet leaves.
Suddenly from a lamppost a spray of little passerines
flow like a wave from tree to tree—from the ash
with its ghostly white berries and the spindly birch—
wenny and mouldy with lichen. A giant Irish jay
prances on the lawn—too big and colourful to be real—
like one of Hoffman’s mechanical toys he’ll make a lesson
I have been a happy hermit here
and when the wren visits the windowsill, a great tit
hangs on the stone and stares in; a chaffinch,
lemon-grey and then the rosey male dip their heads
into the coppery gutters that splutter with rain.
The old house is lit from the outside in.
© Maureen Boyle