That time of year again. A blackbird sings from a vantage point in a back garden somewhere along the street. And I feel a little more alive. Someone has lit a barbecue. And I don’t mind.
The sun is shining.
I used to view my life with a sense of disappointment. Compare myself to others who had made a better fist of it. Who had bigger houses, better cars, more glamorous lives, more exotic holidays. Covid killed that stone dead.
It’s not about grudging acceptance. I genuinely couldn’t care less any more. And what a weight that has lifted from my shoulders. I feel so sorry for anyone still suffering that malaise. For it is a sickness, that makes us miss so much that is right in front of us. Like a blackbird’s song.
I was probably moving in that direction anyway, but lockdown was such a reality check. I’m sure it was for many others who bothered to follow the rules and didn’t suffer too badly on a personal level.
A time for recalibration.
Here’s a poem I wrote at the time, which previously appeared on the Chichester Poetry website back in February 2021. I also uploaded a video of me reading it in my garden which appeared at an online festival that year. I could load it on Youtube I guess.
Something for a rainy day perhaps. I’m off to enjoy the sunshine. I hope you are too.
Holiday in a Portsmouth Garden
I bought my dreams of the open trail
beyond the humdrum thrum of city traffic,
but how these tracks were calcified,
as criss-crossed skies of wing-tipped stars
were cleared by a future that few could see.
Our lives made rivers filled deep with silt,
mouths dry from the loss of expectation,
so fragile this man-made dissonance,
we can’t see what we already have
for fear of what might be lost.
A blackbird sings two gardens away,
trills above near silenced streets.
Forty days straight I have heard his call
as batteries drain down on racing time,
all this energy spent chasing clouds.
Belted in tight on my rolling road
paying for a journey I couldn’t afford.
Now harmonies soar over warming walls,
the lilting notes of spring forgot –
so much I knew but did not know.
My open trail a trial no more,
aeroplanes grounded I travel at home.
All the mountains I leave unclaimed,
all the seas that I’ll not sail,
slipping away with this blackbird’s song.