The Blackbird and the Teapot

The Blackbird and the Teapot
( A spring song )

Big black blackbird,
hopping on my backyard wall,
you may know nothing
but your songs tell me you know it all,
and you’ve got everything
between the trees and the sky,
and when you want to
you can spread your wings
and you can fly,
you can fly, you can fly, fly away.

Big brown teapot
on this April afternoon,
I may know nothing
but I can still craft a simple tune.
I could be anywhere
but here life led me to try
the best I can do
to live without wings
so I can fly,
I can fly, I can fly, fly away.

Between the blackbird and the teapot,
my kitchen chair.
Between the silence and the door bell,
steps on the stair.
Between the lamp post and the roof top,
a link of light.
Between the drain pipe and the tool shed,
a string pulled tight.

Far green countries,
and so much for you to see.
You want to go there
to try to touch what you may yet be.
I wish you everything
between the trees and the sky,
and if you want to
you may dream the wings
so you can fly,
you can fly, you can fly, fly away.

Memoir Of A Moth

Memoir Of A Moth

The memoir of a moth
in black ink on white cloth
may only be of interest
to another moth.
A wasp would not want to read it
nor would a maggot or a bee,
not even a spider
in its webbed complexity.
A moth can be blown away by a cough,
eat into a coat in a wardrobe,
be traced as it flits about
across the rounded globe.
Hid in the shadow of a corner,
a moth is revealed as a silent survivor.
A moth has dusty wings.
Onto a lamp shade
it flutters and flings,
has a purpose in the pattern,
made clear by the study of insect lore
that crawls below a microscope,
and both delights and stings.
A butterfly is a close cousin of the moth.
It may be expected, if only for a moment,
to settle on the pages of the memoir of a moth.
Perhaps not, however,
when taken in, all together.
A moth is considered to be a lower, grubby cousin of the butterfly,
even to the common cabbage white.
A bluebottle professor would think that quite rightly right.
A snail likes to dwell as a hermit in its shell,
has no time for a winged creature like a moth,
would prefer to read the diary of a slug
or any other bug.
An ant works with other ants to build an ant hill,
though it does not need to earn a wage to pay a bill.
Classed as social entities, like a swarm of fleas,
ants would not waste a moment on the memoir of a moth.
What, after all, would such a memoir say?
What wisdom would it hold in its bag?
It may read this way: I became a moth,
I flitted about until I was swatted
by a human with a newspaper or possibly a rag.
Then it went blank. I was no more. End.
A centipede would not see the need
to say the memoir of a moth
would be a riveting read.
Not even a grasshopper would so pretend.
Personally, I would like to read it,
even if it was in need of an edit.
A dragonfly on a reed, as it feels a quiver,
would rather reflect on the motions of a river.

Before the Cross

Before the Cross

( A ballad I wrote for Good Friday in 1986 when I was 34, I am now 68. )

Daughters of Jerusalem,
do not mourn or weep again,
Jesus said as he bore the cross.
A victory that seemed a loss.

No, do not weep, do not cry.
They do this when the tree is green.
What will they do when the tree is dry?

Barefoot children in the lane,
shelter from the pelting rain.
And when the rose breaks through the ice,
you will sing in paradise.

No, do not weep, do not cry.
They do this when the tree is green.
What will they do when the tree is dry?

Silent soldiers on the hill,
waiting for the sign to kill,
one day your captives will be free,
sailing on a sunlit sea.

No, do not weep, do not cry.
They do this when the tree is green.
What will they do when the tree is dry?