A common man marvels at uncommon things. A wise man marvels at the commonplace. CONFUCIUS

Thursday, 14 October 2010

With The Dawn Comes Fresh Hope

I've been trying to create a separate website for my poems, but it's proving somewhat of a challenge! In the meantime, here's a poem I wrote some time ago...


after long night of wind & rain
lulling the tent, there is silence at dawn
then birdsong & faint roar of faraway streams

woodpecker tapping frenzied telex
chaffinch's trickle-down song
the cushat's burr burr-burr
& great tit's insistent bi-syll ab-ic

all bursting with communication
but i know not what they are saying

my heart is beating
against the ground

night thoughts

my heart is beating
hard against the ground

but i know not what it is saying

my body is warm
on the cold ground

put aside the arcane things of the night
the fox's bark, the owl's shriek

the dark thoughts of the night

for it is dawn & there is

the heartmelting cry of lambs
& my heart is beating so hard

as if i am really living at last


Ruth said...

My heart is beating fast. Or did it stop? I'm not sure. I can't tell what it's saying. But it's OK in the silence at the end of this poem, which was heartmelting, like the lambs.

I felt just like that, like I'm living at last, when I got to the end.

I don't know what I'm saying. (And frankly I don't care.)

And well, of course the word verification is: guessest

So I guess your guess, or my guess, at what is being said, is the guessest.

I think my comment is longer than your poem, and I'm only feeling slightly ridiculous in the wake of it.


George said...

This is a terrific poem, Robert. Loved every word of it, as well as the silences in between. Loved the rhythm and the leitmotiv — heart-heart-heart, beating-beating-beating, ground-ground-ground. Maybe the heart only beats — and maybe we are only alive — when we are grounded in the natural world and our own authenticity.

I'm looking forward to the poetry site. Sound exciting!

Friko said...

My heartfelt appreciation to you for writing and publishing this poem.
There speaks a man who is in tune with nature, who listens and feels, and whose body, mind and soul feel nature's heartbeat as if it were his own.
I expect it is, at that.

Anonymous said...


thanks for sharing this. Just back from four days walking in Shropshire and it is so good to read this. I hope the poetry site comes off,


The Solitary Walker said...

Thanks Ruth, George, Friko and Andy for your comments.

I wrote the poem while camping in the Lake District after just such a squally night (during which I'd kept waking up) and tranquil dawn. It's meant to have an ambiguity to it, which Ruth has so nicely picked up on. Why does my heat beat so fast? Night terrors? Joy? Isn't it better to be still, the word to which both symmetrical halves of the poem point? Yet the word 'still' can also be taken two ways here.

If I'm deep in the heart of nature - so close that I can recognise individual bird songs and attempt to descibe them onomatopoeically, and am moved by the calling (not the silence!) of the lambs - then why do I feel at the same time divorced from nature, in the sense that I can't understand what's it's saying? The last line is hardly confident, too, with its qualifying 'as if'.

Thanks for picking up on the leitmotif and the 'insistent' repetitions, George.

In fact, as human beings, we always stand both within and outside of nature simultaneously. Don't we?

Caroline Gill said...

Thank you, Robert, for posting these poems. Do let us know when your website is up and running.

Loved those animal thoughts, too!

Blogs are so much easier, but (if it will link in) here's my website, in need of a little updating ...

The Solitary Walker said...

Thanks, Caroline. I already knew your website a little (congratulations on winning that poetry competition, btw!) I think a pared-down Blogger URL will do me fine, though - I won't really need lots of buttons and links and fancy stuff.