#World Curlew Day 2022: 1,000 year old curlew poem and my new ones.

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 calling
Across the wintry mudflats
Is haunting the wind

Haiku Lesley Scoble 2022
Curlew call | Audio: Fabrizio Grieco, Xeno-canto
Here is a little linocut I made of the curlew.
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 Curlew

The lonely curlew
gazing o’er the sea.
Who are you looking for?
Is it me?

The poignant,
haunting 
 sound,
cries low 
o’er the wetted ground;
the sand,
marshland,
mud-flatted
estuary.

Are you calling to me 
across the sea?

In the hoary hue
of wintry weathered night.
The lonely curlew calls anew
with all his might,
without
pent of
breath
his unforgettable, 
evocative lament.

I preen my feathers
to make ready
for flight.
You know you are mine
‘till death
‘tis true,
so wipe your tears
and wait.

Hereon, I flew 
to my curlew mate
of nigh on
twenty years.


Lesley Scoble 2022
The Curlew | Making a Linocut: 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

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