Artist: Hua Tunan
Image used with permission
Morning time. So I leave my door, descending the four steps
My feet are bare upon the grass. Its wetness is almost sexual
If not for the cold.
A spider’s web catches the silver promise of light within a single drop
Of moiisture. Such a perfect fragile jewel;
It’s the sound I catch first. An impatient fluttering, daubed with
High-pitched peeps of distress.
Step over the log, my feet finding primordial satisfaction in its
The chicken wire lies in a tired bundle, threaded through with grass
And a single impatient thistle.
There. In the middle of the roll. A tiny brown speckled form. A thrush
Trapped within the deaf wire.
My feet stop. With each step closer, the bird becomes more animated
Beating its tiny form against the wire.
How can I say ‘I mean to help you, to tear back the walls that encircle you,
To give you back your universe? For we are so deeply
Alien to each other.
I am torn. I cannot leave this other life. Yet I cannot help. Energy drains
From me. I am now unnecessary.
A watcher only.
The bird is still. Its chest heaves once. A wing slips and hangs loose,
I begin to hate the wire.
Copyright © 2002 – Jerry Beale
This poem describes an actual event which had a profound effect on me. It emphasised how separate we have become from the simplicity of nature.