Summery sonnet

The weary gardener sets aside the spade
Now heavy as the August day is long
And seeks a quiet corner in the shade
To breathe the flowers’ fragrance, hear the song
Of busy birds among the shrubs and trees.
The wren trills in the hedge; the thrush replies
With liquid notes, and carried on the breeze
The shriek of black swifts harvesting the skies.
Then all at once a midnight silence falls
Upon the garden. Nature holds its breath.
No pigeon pipes, no finch or blackbird calls,
And summer shivers at the chill of death
As in the whispering ash beyond the gate
The sparrowhawk alights to watch and wait.

13 thoughts on “Summery sonnet

    • Many thanks, John – always flattered to have my work compared to Thos Gray! I guess any sonnet with a ‘rustic’ theme risks sounding like the Elegy (or a parody of it…) seems I’ve got away with it!

  1. That’s very good; it’s amazing how intensely and instantly silent it goes isn’t it? – I had one swoop in to my feeders, and although I didn’t hear the hawk at all, I heard the sudden halt in chatter as if the mute button had been pressed. Holding their breath as you say…

  2. A beautifully constructed sonnet Nick. I love the switch in the ninth line – took me unawares.

    I was sitting in my young brother’s garden in nairn a few years ago. The sudden silence made me look up and then the sparrowhawk arrived. Beautiful bird!!
    Nature is nowhere near as serene as we sometimes wish it to be. 🙂


  3. It is absolutely a pleasure to read well crafted, imaginative poetry such as this. Your imagery is breath taking and it struck me immediately. We have a couple of much larger hawks who visit our woods here. Your poem reminded me of a day a rabbit sat frozen in my back yard. I think I could have approached and actually touched it, but I didn’t because I assumed it was frozen for a reason. And it was. Looking up I saw one of the hawks perched in a large tree watching me. It flew away shortly after that and the rabbit scampered away. I’ve written several poems about our hawks also. It is so hard to put raw emotion into words like you just did so magnificently. Thank you for sharing this…

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