13 Ways of Looking from a Window
Heavy rain spatters on a plain and grubby pane.
Here is a grey, subdued Northern Matisse,
no Prince Charming to wake it from neglected slumber.
I peer out of the kitchen window to Branxton Hill,
caught in a spider’s web of high telephone wires,
weeping for bloody Flodden’s carnage.
Thin willow withies whip the hostile sky
and yellow rosebuds taunt the thorn-scratched wind.
The giant pines are dancing to the beat.
No sleep for me as the days break ever earlier.
Pigeons and rooks set up home in multi-storey branches.
They squabble from first light, and the seagulls screech back.
Like winter’s moon, silent and pale,
a barn owl lilting over the shadowy field,
it came, silent and pale over the low stone wall.
Brightness of the sky tells the time.
Sparrows coming and going do not interest the child.
Far away – horizon where sea meets sky.
In this view is a huge and glorious sycamore.
Today, in wind and wet, its bare branches poke
their black fingers across, prodding and accusing.
whilst windy gusts conspire to hinder them in their task.
A splay of small white feathers – only sign of sparrowhawk’s call.
The dreich garden and frozen birdbath join the wake –
migrant starlings, expecting their de-lousing bath, slide and skate.
Graceless, they clatter into each other shaken and bemused.
The colours, clouded by the pulsing rain,
are doused until the greys alone remain.
Then deepest red electrifies the scene.
The sudden lighting of two acid orange streetlamps
illuminates a stage set through my uncurtained window,
as the winter afternoon closes in around me.
An unseen toddler asks: “Why do gardens have fences?”
“To keep the cats and dogs out and you safe,” border logic replies.
I think of cats, dogs, weeds and people, of Flodden Field.
Raucous and raw as a winter dawn trailing scarves
tattered and grey, rumpled and red.
One curved white feather twirling down.