Sounding the alarm

The night watch

Walking the woods as twilight slips
Like a poacher between the fading trees
My every step sets off some new alarm:
A blackbird chinking like a mason’s chisel;
A stream of shrill invective
Pouring from an unseen wren, blazing with a courage
A hundred times her size;
Pigeons clattering from the topmost branches
In a fusillade of frantic wings;
Jays and magpies rasping threats, while the silly yaffle
Hides behind his nervous laugh.
The watchword is passing through the wood
Like a creeping barrage. I advance behind it,
All element of surprise long gone
And with it any hope of gaining ground.
And as I pass back into the world
Of cars and curses, litter and the ugly shouts
Of boys and girls abroad too late, grown up too soon,
The darkening wood still rings with song:
The all-clear, and a sweet lament
For what the world once was
And all that we have lost.

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6 thoughts on “Sounding the alarm

  1. It is quite hard to move stealthfully through the woods…always some creature sounding the alarm…and when you trying to get evening photos…you wonder who the spy is. 🙂 Enjoyed the poem.

  2. I’ve always felt sad that Nature instinctively feels threatened by our presence; we can never convince the birds and animals that we mean them no harm, however quietly and respectfully we walk. And then I see how we treat our own species and start to understand. Glad you enjoyed the poem.

  3. Same wood, different time, different day, different experience!!

    This is a wonderful series Nick.

    Thank you for letting me experience it with you

  4. You have described how I often view the world almost perfectly in these words:

    “as I pass back into the world
    Of cars and curses, litter and the ugly shouts
    Of boys and girls abroad too late, grown up too soon..”

    Oh, for a simpler life! xx

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