The Eaves By Jonathan R. Parsonage

The Eaves By Jonathan R. Parsonage

‘Free as a bird to settle where I will…’ – William Wordsworth


Composed. Prepared for flight.
A black eye beholds
An unfamiliar sky.

Sudden as the forming
Of clouds over the sun,
Bow-wing begins, buoyant,

Expanding, floating like the
Chink of a windchime,
And circling The Eaves.


Martin sits in his chair.
Parsnips blacken in the pantry.
Then, sighing, he stands up.

Fledging, preparing to climb
His single flight of stairs.
He pauses. Considers.

The window lolls ajar.
A mysterious breeze:
‘Come in’, ‘come in’, ‘come in’ –

Like a tape in reverse
Or an old transistor:
‘Come in’, ‘come in’, come in’ –

Then, a bold arrival.
The Eaves, empty for
Evenings on end, are full.


Bow-wing cajoles his young
Blue-bonnets to gather
Around a plump aphid.

On this mild night in June,
The family of four,
With beaks poised for feeding,

Prepare to hunker down
And nibble violently
On those long twiggy limbs.

‘Eat well’, ‘Eat well’, ‘Eat well’,
‘There’s travelling to do,
To mystic-winter haunts’ –

Next door, the mood’s the same.
Bow-wing twitters of change
And the need to move on.

For these are The Eaves,
Temporary, ending, they know
Flight knows no fixity.


A dog, soaking, limps home.

Lost, innocently,
While its owners drank wine
In a cold English field.

Howling ensues beneath
The Eaves. Bow-wing peeps out:
‘Look down’, ‘Look down’, ‘Look down’ –

Three blue bonnets inspect.
But for all their peeping,
‘No fear’, ‘no fear’, ‘no fear’.

Not a hound’s bleak howling
Nor an owner’s wailing
Could move them. They betray

No lapse in confidence,
No blinking, no trembling.
The reason? Reasonable:

A ley line between
Mystical heights and The Eaves
Is etched beneath their wings.

So, why fear the yelp of a
Whippet, stood underfed
On the bitter tarmac?


Slow pan of a village
In Yorkshire. Air full of cow.
An egg fills a steel pan.

Jayne opens the window.
Mary shushes the cat.
Elizabeth, Liz, squeals.

Will kills the radio.
Jack unplugs the TV.
A child is ushered in.

Martin stands in his yard,
Binoculars in hand,
Back tight as a longbow.

Body, reaching skywards,
Filter-tip limping earth-wards,
Gasping blue and white.

A snatch of blackening eye,
A whip-crack of belly,
The windchimes cackling.

But only the hoary moon
With its sensual pattern
Can understand bow-wing.

Like the moon, they are chained
To the sky. Paradigm.
Eyeing those damned to land.

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