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

Careless roughness.


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,



It’s quiet.


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.