By Lynda McDonald
Yet be it less or more, said Milton,
but first there is the vast white-out
of space punctuated by their smallness,
which invites approach, but only so far.
They sense I intend to decipher them
and go all out to resist.
The palette is not after all so muted;
the ‘Muddy’one has a flamingo-pink spot,
there is almost a rainbow arch and comets
dash vividly about. I should not add
what is not there,
but we see what we see.
Now three wise men have emerged.
(This is what I mean) One appears
to have real tears, one half smiles,
the third looks in quiet amazement
at my close scrutiny. I move on,
leave them to it. In them,
the observer has become the observed,
but there is calm in their gaze.
Perversely I now decide I can see
a cabin under spectral northern lights –
a refuge amidst all the uncertainty
of forlorn dramas, played out by people,
in the paradox of impenetrable space
they can’t explain.
But it is the birds I like, more than the mystery
of predicament. I can re-vitalise the birds through
their normal patterns of behaviour.
They are just they.
The chaffinch, cuckoo, owl, starling, lapwing, thrush….
emerging hopeful from their quirky placement.
Note the painted platform for us to climb to see more.
See in the no-ness of ‘No birds do sing’,
a mere suggestion of a bird –
I spot it swooping and soaring
in a flourish of the brushwork.