It is World Curlew Day 2022. My first poem about the curlew is another one of my attempts at Haiku! I apologise, but I dreamt of this one! I woke up with it in my head last night… and scribbled it down on a paper bag…
A curlew callingHaiku Lesley Scoble 2022
Across the wintry mudflats
Is haunting the wind
I think the poem suits a little linocut I made.
The Seafarer is an old Anglo-Saxon poem. One of the few surviving pieces of literature from nigh on 1,000 years ago. A poem recorded when the English language was in its infancy. I came across it in an old tattered paperback of The Earliest English Poems, translated by Michael Alexander. A Penguin Classic (published 1966) on my bookshelf that I bought for a few pence at a jumble sale ages ago but never read till now! I love it because it mentions the curlew.
Here are the lines from the ancient poem mentioning the curlew.
I have written another poem about the curlew! My poems are like buses. Wait for ages for a poem about curlews (it’s 1,000 years since The Seafarer poem), then two come along at once! What a bonus!
The Call of the Curlew
The lonely curlew Gazes out beyond the sea ‘Who’s he looking for? Is it me?’ His haunting call A poignant sound Belying all And now cries low along the wetted ground Above the sand Marshland, mudflats, and estuary ‘Who’s he calling to? Is it me?’ The lonely curlew calls anew An unforgettable evocative lament In the hoary hue Of a wintry night. I preen my feathers Ready for flight— ‘Who he’s calling to? Is it you?’ “You know he’s mine! It’s true!—so wipe your tears” With that, off flew the curlew To her mate of thirty years. —Lesley Scoble
This beautiful enigmatic wader is in drastic decline in the UK — we must endeavour to do all we can to save it. Visit Curlew Action here