Monday, 30 November 2015

Lars Gustafsson's 'small wingèd singers'

Spring’s joyous choir of birds

Dedicated to Staffan Söderblom

Ah those joyous voices of birds in spring!
How well I too remember the choir
of those small wingèd singers

They were borne in on a special tray
by schoolmaster Gustav Edin,
extremely dusty, increasingly pale in colour
and – it might possibly seem –

somewhat overambitiously
stuffed:
sparrow and nightingale, hawk and pied fly-catcher,
meadow pipit and dipper –

And from a gramophone record
from Radio Sweden, much over-used,
all their joyous voices were played

I never learnt
to distinguish one chirp from the other

And now in October the dull voice
of the curlew is all that is left

In any case
I did finally learn that one

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