Spatial awareness

This poem refers to a natural marvel that is currently happening every evening.  A particularly spectacular event occured on December 14th 2010, which the poem recalls.

Click on the image below to enlarge it

Part of the roost at the cliff edge


A week away from the shortest day.
The cerulean canvas of the sky
is streaked with dark, dense alto-cumuli,
each sporting a pink flush,
a last touch from the fleeing sun
dropping with the temperature.
The grey sea’s queasy heaving waves offset
the lighthouse purity, white across the bay.

In the final fifteen minutes of light —
as if imagined — a giant protozoa
cruises from the west, pulsing through the air  
towards the scrub and reed bed of Minsmere.
At this rendezvous, the shape compacts
to a perfect sphere, then peels in ribbons
that fall, fold, re-fold and float upward again
smoothly merging to the ever-swirling mass.
Small drifts, like smoke, approach and merge.
Dark forms flex within, morph to solid —
then part again, a moving pointillist sculpture,  
with ten-thousand daubs of iridescent life
in graceful shifting shapes, – contracting
and expanding above Coastguard’s heath.

As the light dims to gloom, black snow falls
      steadily from the animated cloud
     onto the barbed security of  gorse,
     draining the vortex of its energy —
        and suddenly we feel the chill
            of our awe-locked stance,
             as the tumbling starlings,
               rustling like dry leaves,
                create a night’s haven
                       in the density
                           of their 


The starlings start to gather

Click on Jean’s photo to enlarge it.

Back to Top