My father would come this time of year
the hawthorn needled into flower
the sycamore and elder in full leaf
to relish a call that ravelled him back in time.
It takes whole seasons to map a valley
to find a mushroom stone on a high bluff
to deepen the veined trace of rising tracks
to source the mill race on a vanished river.
It takes time for the weave of rustlings and calls
to engrain or simply settle, and for the body
to move as a common element,
to fold in with the daily course of light and rain.
Our instinct for home
our desire for the physic hill
or the ample body, or the absolute sky,
or the dawn song on the still crest,
the ordained moment
like finding the cuckoo’s call nesting in your hand,
or in the furlong field watching
the braiding course of a daylight fox.
It was always the cuckoo that he came to hear,
like a tailwind ride downhill
or seagulls in the wake of home bound boats,
there was a freedom in it, a tuning
to a world of constants, grassheads rising,
the long lane full of uncurling fern,
faith that the fact of their occurrence,
made plain the numinous chorus to his life.