Sense of Place Poetry Bloging


Tom Hirons has written another wonderful poem. If you don’t follow his blog, you’re missing out. I’ve been previewing a book that is largely about relationship with landbase, ancestors, place, and so, perhaps, his poem resonates even a bit more with me today than it otherwise might. (Update: Mr. Hirons tells me that the Waveny is a river in Bungay. I was trying to figure out if it was some sort of pier or something! 🙂 )

Watching a Kingfisher on the Waveny at Bungay
~ Tom Hirons

You need to stay still to learn
Anything worth learning.
In the forest, by the river,
At dawn, or dusk or midnight,
Sit down, be quiet and
Soon enough, you’ll hear
And see your fill.
Sit longer and your body
Will begin to speak to you;
Longer still, your heart;
Sit four days, your soul,
Maybe, or the soul of the place,
If you’re lucky.

Dream in the same spot for a month or two
And perhaps there’ll be something to report.
Those that live their lives
In one place, with eyes to see
And ears up for hearing –
They’ll have something to say
To pay attention to.

We fly-by-nights and flit-by days
Hear only the crash-bangs and thunder,
See only the lightning-flash and fireworks,
Don’t notice the darkening river or
The pale-becoming Earth.
Full of our own chattering,
We cannot hear the long
Slow roar of the oak or the yew
And the great granite headlines pass us by.

We are not slow enough,
Nor wise enough, nor brave.
Mindful only of our babbling,
We report the news of our own madness
While the song of the world goes unheard.
Not silence, but the endless, soaring
Melody of anguish and wonder
In a key we dare not unlock
Or fathom or enjoy.

Sit in the same spot,
At the same hour,
For nine years or more.
The news you have to share
Will be rich with that music,
Food for the starving souls
Of the blind and deafened
Adversaries we have,
In our foolishness, become.

I watched the kingfisher fly low upstream over the river;
It stopped on a tree-stump and fished for a while,
Then moved along to a jetty,
Then to an alder,
Then to a poplar,
Before I lost sight of it,
Only hearing the intermittent splash
As its magical, beautiful body
Struck the water and then
Seeing the extraordinary flash of blue
Return to the bank to sit vigil again
Over the slow, still water
In the August afternoon.

Picture found here.


2 responses to “Sense of Place Poetry Bloging

  1. wow. thanks for sharing. & i’ll take your advice & start following tom’s blog.

  2. silverapplequeen, Thanks! Glad you liked it. I bet you’ll enjoy his blog.

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