Good Morning 2022: The Call of the Curlew

Good morning New Year! My first poem of 2022 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… perhaps it was something to do with the New Year Eve’s champagne? It is not only my first haiku (ahem) of the year—it is my first dream!

A curlew calling
Across the wintry mudflats
Is haunting the wind

Haiku Lesley Scoble 2022
Curlew call | Audio: Fabrizio Grieco, Xeno-canto
I think the poem suits a little linocut I made just before Christmas.
The Curlew | Linocut: Lesley Scoble

The Seafarer

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.
The Seafarer | quote from the Anglo Saxon poem translated by Michael Alexander | Mead Cups sketch: Lesley Scoble
Curlew call and flight call | Audio: Fabrizio Grieco, Xeno-canto

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 Christmas Curlew

The Christmas 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
mudflats, and estuary
‘Who’s he calling to?
Is it me?’

The Christmas 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 Christmas 2021

The Curlew | Making a Linocut: Lesley Scoble
 I wish you all a happy, and above all, healthy New Year!

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