swallows to woodpeckers (28/March/18)

you never know when they’re going to appear, equally you never know when they’ll be gone again… but appear they do and then vanish in a blink…… they aren’t here yet, the swallows, or at least I haven’t seen one and for me that means they haven’t got here yet from their sunnier southern climes… but they will be, like clockwork, almost, though you couldn’t set your watch by them you can set the season…… the old post office is being renovated, not as a post office but as a private house now, hence the name ‘old’ as in was… not a full time house as it turns out, so yet another half-dead property in the village…… not that it matters, not much happens here anyway, although there is the village hall, or should I say Community Hub, yet another exercise in rebranding… there’s dog training there, there is, a whist drive, been going for years, I think a yoga-type class, a body fitness class too, and the bingo, mustn’t forget the bingo… the bingo rides roughshod over all else probably because it’s been going so long it expects as sense of ownership…… Citizens Advice turns up once a month raking through the apathy of village life, and the community council talking shop meets also once a month…… it’s the polling station at election times too, complete with the same two rickety polling booths and probably the same pencils on a sting getting decidedly shorter each year…… the hole where the telephone box used to be is still empty and for anyone that never knew it was ever there wouldn’t know there ever was…… there is a bus shelter, of a sort, no seat, just a stark green metal unforgiving frame with some kind of acrylic glass on one side… open-sided to the path allowing the wind to howl through it… the other shop, what is now the only shop, at the far end of the village has been through a lot even in the time I’ve been here, on its fourth owners now that I know and is more than a bit shambolic, though not so in an endearing way, the outside resembling more a scrapyard for bits of cars, whole cars, engines, trailers, building materials, once even an old tractor sat there half disassembled… very unvillagey…… the GP surgery’s always kept busy though despite offering a limited and about 30 years out of date skill-set reluctant to catch up with changes in community health……… jackdaws are busy arranging the rookery just how they like it begrudgingly alongside the rooks…… a few trees are gone since the last storms… “and then there were none”, might be the story one day as some got removed years ago for houses, not that there was a housing need, just happened, almost like the ugly houses of old, as though they popped up overnight…… the graveyard wall looks about to fall down if someone doesn’t fix it soon, and it wouldn’t be the first wall falling down on the road here, it’s happened three times that I’ve known…… neglect’s a funny thing, so easy to do…… there’s still a post box, little ‘un on a stick, red of course…… the so-called community garden behind the hall is still there, built years ago and half-heartedly managed, still used but not often though usually by older kids as a smokers corner, out of sight out of mind…… every morning almost a train sits in the cutting, sombre rumbling resonates not intrusively, just there, stays for a while then it’s gone…… another trailer pulled by a tractor crashes past, as they do… the half-built houses still half-built, must be coming up for maybe their fifth anniversary?…. five/ six years or so since they’ve been built, got half way then abandoned, forgotten, derelict before they even had a life… vacant histories… it’s one of the few mornings a week the red Post Office van comes and sits for a few hours then leaves, perched in front of the shambolic shop gaping like a beached basking shark…… “the more things change the more they remain the same”, isn’t that what they say?…… the woodpeckers at it again, pecking, pecking wood, just as well they’re called woodpeckers then isn’t it……

© 2018 robert greig

quiet rain (15/March/18)

quiet rain… makes a change… rain nonetheless though… the jackdaws are picking their spots, it’s that time of year, prime real estate for their upcoming respective nests… they’ve not left all winter, never do, they’re always there tending their rookery, or jackery, although there are rooks there too but nevertheless it’s still called a rookery whether there are or not, much no doubt to the jackdaws chagrin… and here I am talking to the air as I do most mornings….
… the woodpeckers are drumming, being that time of year of course… rooks are carrying sticks too big for them in their bid also for the best the canopy can offer in position and height and prevailing wind… I bet they can’t wait for the leaves to burst through and give them some much-needed cover, but that won’t happen for couple of months yet… these are tall trees, tall deciduous broadleaved in the truest sense trees and in no rush to, as they say put-out… all in good time, they say, all in good time… that’s the nature, literally, of things…
… gulls are gulling, always made restless by an uncertain wind… there’s also always one, two, three maybe even four or so but it’s the wind, and sea mist sometimes so far out at sea as to not be visible from shore, that brings them forth in greater number and much more voluble… gulls don’t have a song, not being songbirds, or not as we would recognise as such, instead they have a call or cry, or more fittingly am explosion of discord, a cadence which defies any mimicry we might attempt…… in other words, you have to hear to hear it… though I do make a passing raven call and even a Manx Shearwater… oh yes, you have to hear a Manxie, as they’re affectionately known, to believe it, ideally a real one, and to stand among them in the dead of a new moon night not seeing but hearing their desperate, almost blood-curdling cries as they come to shore after having been at sea no doubt for days sometimes weeks on end with a gullet full of food for their single chick and some for their partner who has patiently waited all this time for their return and after which they swap, and the other then heads out into the great pelagic for days and maybe weeks before themselves returning which another bounty of fish… underground and overhead the earth and air come alive…
… around my head they’d fly unseen because of the darkness which is their strategy to avoid predators to flop hopelessly to earth as close as possible to their burrows (yes, they nest in burrows) and waddle uncomfortably, as they aren’t really designed for walking, to their still huddled other-half and offspring underground guided by his or her hopefully-recognised welcoming call of their partner… they also share nesting duties equally… not surprisingly they all sound the same to me so how they manage I do not know among the cacophony of hundreds of them doing it hours on end in the deepest dark…… suddenly finding myself surrounded by the woes of the dead in manic surround-sound…
… yes, it’s that time of the year…

© 2018 robert greig

the jackdaws know (11/March/18)

the natives are restless, or the Jackdaws in this case… as well they might be…… creeping apprehension creeping like the ivy up the trunks to tickle their feet……
the Jackdaws know,
the Jackdaws see,
from way up high in their canopy,

they know more than they’re letting on… but why should they tell us, the ungrateful bunch we are… they know that when the levee breaks they’ll be fine way up there watching all going to hell in a handcart, seeing our egos get the better of us and convincing ourselves that maybe it’s not that bad after all… as long as we start 3-D printing that Ark asap we’ll be fine… won’t we?

I mean, hey, he’s no worse than any other despotic dictator, right?…

neither has it gone unnoticed among the canny Jackdaws, misappropriating  tweets that were the sole domain of the birds and twisting them into an anthropomorphic bun-fight of bile-ridden proportions… but the Jackdaws aren’t bitter… much…
but the Jackdaws know,
the Jackdaws see,
from way up high in their canopy,

just waiting for our self-annihilation to stop us chopping down their trees……

he’s feathering his own nest, you see that, right?….. it’s as plain as the beak on a Jackdaw’s face… every decision, choice, policy pushed through designed merely as a pension-plan for a certain Mr President… which sounds in itself as a title a bit comic-book… but who am I to judge, I’m not even a Jackdaw…
but the Jackdaws, they know,
they see,
from way up high in their canopy,

you know in the outside world his name has become a by-word for bile and shorthand for a certain kind of nasty… don’t be coy, you know who I mean, Mr comic-book President…… note: beware leaders with a track record of naming projects after themselves …
but the Jackdaws know,
the Jackdaws see,
from way up high in their canopy,

Red Bull doesn’t give you wings, just diabetes, tooth decay, headaches, irritability, constipation, attention deficit disorder and addiction issues… being a Jackdaw gives you wings…
as the Jackdaws know,
the Jackdaws see,
from way up high in their canopy.

© 2018 robert greig