Comeback

Time was you never saw them here. These days
They’re everywhere. They haunt the trees; with eyes
That glitter cold and pitiless, they’ll gaze
At me a moment, trying me for size,
Then seem to shrug and insolently drift
Into the air on wide, dark-fingered wings.
On sunny afternoons, the thermals lift
Them, lordly, over we poor earthbound things.
And from those circling specks a keening cry
Resounds; an echo of the age before
Our persecutions swept them from the sky.
Defiant, they have claimed these lands once more.
A whisper from the wildwood; and I yearn
For more than just the buzzards to return.

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13 thoughts on “Comeback

  1. Hi Nick
    what a lovely poem 🙂 you always describe nature and longng for older times so beautifully! A good start of my day.

    Occasionally a buzzard (never plural) comes in from the dunes to the village here. Although they eat other birds chicks, (that is nature) I do like the sight of them flying, staying in the air waiting for a catch.

    Ina
    x

    • Thank you Ina – buzzards are essentially solitary birds, and it’s unusual to see more than two or three together, so your lone hunter is quite normal! Although they’re now fairly common around here, I still get a thrill from seeing them: a big bird of prey is always an impressive sight, and an encouraging reminder that the Wild still hasn’t been driven out completely. Even more exciting though (for me anyway!) was seeing a red kite patrolling over the fields near my parents’ house at the weekend: these birds have made a very successful comeback in Wales, where my mother-in-law lives (you can see 30 or 40 at a time near her house!) but they’re still pretty rare over here. Wonderful to see them returning, and proof that we’re finally doing something right. N.x

      • Hi Nick, I just walked in the dunes and I saw one enormous bird, it did have a greybrown colour, but I am not sure it was a buzzard, wings spread, it must have been 1,5 meters lol! 🙂
        I wanted to take a pic, but my battery went flat.

      • Sounds buzzardy to me, Ina – the wings are broad and rounded, and 1.5m would be about right for the span. Shame about your camera battery; modern technology, eh?! But thank you for sharing the moment – always happy to receive nature reports from friendly foreign shores!! N.x

    • I would love to publish, but I’m having trouble summoning the nerve to submit anything. For my mother’s 70th birthday last week, my wife put together a handmade book (using traditional bookbinding techniques – amazing) of my sonnets and riddles, which was a great thrill (for me, if not for my mother!!) and made me start to believe it might be possible to see my work in print one day. One day…glad you liked the piece; it wasn’t what I’d intended to do at all, but it sort-of happened anyway! N.xx

    • I think she is; she used to write poetry herself, many years ago, but it always seemed rather gloomy to me. I wonder if that was anything to do with bringing up me…although my sister was WAY more trouble. N.x

  2. Simon Barnes would be full of approval for this poem.

    I don’t believe I have ever seen a buzzard in the wild.
    I have seen red kites -often visible north of Leeds in the area behind Harewood House – beautiful birds.

    And when I was up in Scotland visiting one of my brothers I was privileged enough to see Golden Eagles.

    And I am quite sure your mother was really thrilled with the book. I know mine was with my book. Not that she told me that you understand!! But she did show it to everybody and tell them “my son wrote this” 🙂

    My very best to you Nick

    David

    • Now that IS a compliment, David – IMHO Simon Barnes is one of the finest journalists and nature writers we have at the moment; thank you very much indeed!

      I’ve seen golden eagles in Scotland; beautiful birds. I did read somewhere that the buzzard is known as ‘the tourist’s eagle’ north of the border, as so people many can’t tell them apart, but when you’ve seen a golden eagle, there’s no mistaking it.

      Whether my mother actually likes the contents of the book is hard to say…but I guess it’s not really the point, either! As ever, my friend. N.

  3. Ahhh, your sonnets, Nick. You are a master. This one has a chill to it. It soars on dark wings toward a wilder time when buzzards and eagles were omens, and the woods could lean with shadows toward a man and make him pause to look suspiciously at the way branches clutched at a silver full moon.

    …with eyes
    That glitter cold and pitiless…
    …wide, dark-fingered wings…
    …A whisper from the wildwood…
    And I always thought I could write a sonnet! You are the Sonneteer! I have made that into a title that is more honorable than the title Lord could ever be.

    • I’d rather be a sonneteer than a lord any day, Tom – especially if I were thus ennobled by so great a poet as you. Your words are a blessing and encouragement as always, my friend – thank you. N.

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