joanna paterson

along the way

8 July

pausing for a moment the ruffled feathers of a blackbird, with a worm

somewhere between peach and apricot the colour of the underside of all these swallows

watching the shape of the swallow’s tail a sudden flock of starlings

just a youngster in the tractor mowing the field and four swallows round and around

almost lost in the shade-light of the river under trees, the sudden movement of a wren

the blueness of the sky in the breeze above the field this blackbird song


7 July

grey July morning the comfort of steam rising from my tea cup

somewhere behind the veil a bird cheeping in purple buddleia

the weight of the clouds above Edinburgh the raucous laughter of gulls

all day chasing anxiety the scent of roses by the war memorial

behind the hoardings at India Quay three large magpies on a patch of wasteground

scraping for poems in the wasteground the flash of a goldfinch


6 July

three used teaspoons on the counter their light glinting

another heavy grey morning the softness of its rain on my fingers

driving home to The World At One so much sadness under these swallows’ tails

the manse through raindrops on the skylight for a moment just impressions of brown

bare branches of a dead tree at the field edge a gathering of crows

washing raspberries I hold the wetness of the water in my hands

5th July

first morning back the way the sky pulses with blackbird song

boys carrying chips the gull circles over and again

approaching Lidl the six spot burnets on ragwort

gathering small stones the way this bee in the ragwort

driving to work the mystery again of this tree tunnel, and a white van

walking back behind a gull the way it swaggers

4th July

morning onslaught of news the rhythm of my windscreen wipers along the bypass

hollowing out a kiwi fruit the brightness of its green

rain all afternoon a string of silver drops outside the office window

July afternoon the dazzle of headlights in a rain puddle

leaving work a jackdaw drinking from the puddle in the drive

before bed: street lights glisten on the rain-soaked roof tiles, like the moon