Simon Williams is the new and amazingly inventive Featured Writer. He’s deservedly been elected as the new Bard of Exeter and his fourth poetry collection A Place Where Odd Animals Stand has just been published by Oversteps Books. Simon is a poetic acrobat and his performances are witty and delightful. His observant eye misses nothing. He might think that my garden a place where some odd animals stand, though in this case it was a bird.
Drawing himself up to his full height a robin swayed from side to side, like an avian belly dancer. He wiggled his torso from side to side while staring in deep concentration at another robin who stood transfixed (as well one might). It lasted no more than few seconds, I noticed this behaviour twice in that period when we thought spring might be on the way before today’s cold wind and snow showers began. Robins are aggressive and usually fight one another, males even drive away females. I have heard of the female being fed by the male. This dance must surely be another facet of courtship display.
If you look at a robin, its breast feathers are not exactly red though they are traditionally so depicted on every Christmas card. To me, they are distinctly orange and, as the spring gets closer, the flame colour of those feathers will intensify – as will his cadenced and blossomy song that is full of the threats and curses he flings from the top most twigs at every other robin in earshot.
I found this lovely poem to share with you… with thanks to the poet who won the National Poetry Competition in 2010:
Robin In Flight by Paul Adrian
Let’s imagine for a second that the robin
is not a contained entity moving at speed
through space, but that it is a living change,
unmaking and remaking itself over and over
by sheer unconscious will, and that
if we were to slow down the film enough
we would see a flying ball of chaos,
flicking particles like Othello counters,
air turning to beak in front just as tail transforms to air behind,
a living being flinging its changes at a still universe.
This would require infinite alignments. Each molecule
privy to the code of its possible settings,
the capacity of a blade of grass to become
the shadow of a falling apple by pure force
of the tree’s instinct. Every speck of world with the potential
to become stone, dog’s breath, light twisted through glass,
filth under fingernails, the skin’s bend at the bullet’s
nudge the moment before impact,
the thought of a robin in flight,
the thought of the thought of a robin in flight.