Saturday, September 18, 2010

Two Sparrows Dead


Two sparrows dead
navigational error
involving clear glass
a cock & hen
or hen & cock
either way
one must come first
female and male
she created them

Wrong turning
start again

Old Bede explained it all
by a metaphor involving sparrows
but though atoms
from the Venerable’s
rotted carcase
could well be in them
these two have finished
this part of the journey
through the dim-lit Hall
they’re in the dark again

most things work but not for long.

Harvey McQueen

Every now and then I put on my blog an early poem. Hindsight is interesting. Questions hover. Why did that early self write that? Did I really feel that way? Do I want to own that younger self? What has changed?

Since the poem’s creation so many things have happened that shaped and developed the person I am now. When I wrote that poem I was still living in Hamilton. I left there in 1977. I didn’t realise it at the time but my marriage was increasingly shakier. It was a calm sunny Spring day when I heard two little explosions. A sparrow pair had rammed into the large plate glass French door. Both lay dead on the patio. A sad ending to what was probably a courting flight.

I’d been reading a life of Bede – a recent trip to Britain had seen us visiting Durham where the venerable man’s tomb was in the cathedral. At that stage (I was in my forties) I was still wrestling with issues of meaning. Feminism had burst upon this masculine consciousness. Theological heresies were free-floating in my mind. I was all set to make a career change. Looking back it was a mid-life crisis – of a very mild form, typical of my nature. Philosophical and linguistic issues were also part and parcel of my mental landscape.

So the poem! A capsule of being from a long ago moment. Interestingly I didn’t write about burying them in a corner of the veggie garden. There was another stanza, segment, whatever, more scientific and philosophical. I discarded that piece when I selected the poem to go into my first published volume, 'Against the Maelstrom'.

No comments:

Post a Comment