Nature’s Alarm Clock

I’m woken by the Dawn Chorus. Not yet the full orchestra. A solitary blackbird playing oboe (chirping is too unrefined a word for it) from the uppermost branch of the wind-stooped apple tree and the dot-dot-dot-dash-dash refrain of a wood pigeon playing Morse code in the rhythm section where the telephone wire arcs up to meet the pole: that tar-barked tree which a bar later reverberates to the staccato beat of a woodpecker tapping up breakfast or test drilling for a new housing development.

I’m up now. Watching as well as listening. A cock pheasant is picking his way across the silvery field like a cross-dressing party goer in high heels. Not wanting to get his feet wet and weaving a snail trail across the dew. All burgundy and wine bottle green with neck curved up and tail curved down. A tipsy tightrope walker turned through 90 degrees.

The hen bird is dowdy by comparison. Brown but not mousey. Making her way up the hedgeline from the stream with an arthiritic strut. More Max Wall than Max Factor.

They’re on a collision course these birds of a feather. Choreographed perhaps? (It’s not just the sap that’s rising). A dance set to music. But if it is, he doesn’t know the moves and she rises entrechat* in a crescendo of ruffled pride. Her alarm muffled like an overwound clockwork toy heard through a blanket. And for a moment the chorus is quietened.

*Entrechat (pronounced: ahn-truh-shah’) is a ballet term which means to jump in the air from two feet – beat the legs together in the air, land either on one or two feet.

4 thoughts on “Nature’s Alarm Clock”

  1. I really love this…fine descriptions of pheasants and birdsong – my horse can do a good entrechat except he does it from four feet and would be pronounced more like ‘entre SHIT!’

  2. Hi Richard
    Your blogging course earlier this year taught me how important it is to keep reading other people’s blogs and as I recently posted something on poets (not my own poems) I was on the lookout for a poetry blog. Yours didn’t disappoint and I was really struck by the range of form and topics. I also like the way you host other poets’ work and your dad’s is great, especially the way he worked the London voice in with the metre.

    1. Thanks Dena for your kind words. And sorry for the slow response. Clearly I need to go on my own blogging course!

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