Wednesday, 23 January 2013

The Robin OR Sweet Sorrow

I love to watch and hear birds. For me, though, (yes, even after the skylark) the robin has to be the most inspirational.

Most if not all of us of us discover at some time or another that parting is, indeed, a sweet sorrow; the sweeter for happy memories that continue to sustain us.


In a field of snow I thought I saw
a red berry on the branch of a tree,
but as I came closer I discovered
it was but the breast of cock robin
calling to me

Robin, living in the hope of spring
where love grows in a field of dreams
though snow lay on the ground,
Earth Mother’s way of preserving
her better options

I stumbled, watched the robin fly
till I could barely see, nor was I looking
for hope to kindle my soul;
you took that with you when you left
along with spring

How my legs found the will to move
I can only guess was to honour the bird
as it returned, its bitter-sweet song,
among clouds torn to shreds by the wind,
the loneliest ever heard

Suddenly, you put your hand in mine,
leaning your fair head on my shoulder,
and somehow we staggered home;
together, as we’d sworn forever to stay
we grow closer if older

At the door of our house, we parted,
a glorious light in your eyes like a rainbow
among my tears you wiped dry
with a timeless hand that wears my ring,
a guiding light in the snow

I thought I heard you speak my name
then saw it was but the wings of a robin
vanishing into the worst winter can do,
inviting me to follow, as I did, less blindly 
than I waved you farewell

If a robin can see a harsh winter through,
be sure we lovers, though parted, can too?

Copyright R. N. Taber 2010; 2016

[Note: This poem is a (slightly) revised version of the one that appears in 1st eds. of On the Battlefields of Love by R. N. Taber, Assembly Books, 2010; revised ed. in e-format in preparation]

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