Wednesday, 22 December 2010

"Caw!" by Walter de la Mare


Ho, ho, ho, ho!
Now old Winter`s winds do blow!
Driving down his flocks of snow.
All the fields where daisies were
He has frozen bleak and bare;
Every bush and hedge he decks
With a myriad shining flakes.
Waiting for the sun to rise,
They stand up like hills of ice;
Glisten, gleam, and flame and burn
Every dazzling hue in turn.
Now the farmer`s boy he goes,
Scarlet ears and redder nose,
Whistling as he shuffles by
A sea of white, a cloudless sky.
Now the hare peeps out to see
What strange wonder this can be;
And the solemn-headed rook,
Perched above his hooded oak,
Hoarsely caws, and shakes the snow
From his sooty wing; and "Caw!"
Cries again: "what have we here,
Neighbours dear!
The Magician, in one night,
Has changed a world that`s green to white!"

by Walter de la Mare

This old poem of rhyming couplets, remembered from childhood, came into my head today as I trudged through the snowy fields with hay. A single crow perched on the top of a boundary tree and cawed into the still air. Often, a pair of crows will watch as I feed the animals and then will fly down to find any scraps or seeds that are left behind. As this freezing weather stays around for day after day, night after night, I feel as numbed by the cold as the shuffling farmers boy. It is a cold which smacks the face with raw ice and which slows the brain.

Back in the warm house, I watch the garden birds, hungry and braver in their need to survive.

A female blackbird waits in the pear tree, before she flies down for seed and grated apple on the kitchen window sill.

A song thrush fluffs up feathers against the cold.

The robin watches for fallen seed......

....and a blue tit pecks for peanuts as the snow still falls.


ChrisJ said...

WONDERFUL photos, Warbler! Robin, thrush, blue-tit and blackbird! I love them all. I also love the poem. I've never even seen it before. I'm going to copy and past it into my journal folder. Thank you. Stay warm.

WOL said...

Bless you for feeding the wild ones!

Bovey Belle said...

What a lovely poem - new to me. I love Walter de la Mare's work.

The birds are desperate here too, and I'm about to go and top up the nut nets and seed feeders. Keep warm.

annie hoff said...

We are feeding so many birds at the moment. We had a fieldfare in the garden last week.
What a lovely poem. Have a happy and joyful Christmas

Karen said...

We're expecting our first white Christmas here since 1947 and I'm watching the birds fly in and out of the small garden to feed at the three bird feeders. So I'm off to get my hair colored and cut and then to the pet store to buy more seed because once it snows here in Greensboro, we will be completely shut down as North Carolina handles snow very poorly.

It's been a weird, weird December for weather here this year as it has been for you in England.

rachel said...

Have a lovely, warm, homely Christmas; I look forward to reading more of your delightful blog in 2011....

Dartford Warbler said...

Thank you Rachel, and thanks to all for your kind comments.

Hoping that you all have a happy and peaceful Christmas, wherever you are in the world!