Turtle Dove (a poem in six cantos)

I.

Since you’re leaving, take the eye I made you,
The one attuned to the movement of flight,
Demeter’s crops are no longer so new,
Little Turtle Dove, they wilt out of sight.
May your own harvest be plentiful,
With rewards reaped amid the din and rush,
Exit and entrance are unconditional,
If ever you need to perch in the hush,
Surely you will miss your other neighbours,
Swallow, owl and thrush, your friends since youth,
Or do I now seem bare and ageless,
Knowing they too have flown from nest to roof?
But go not heavy hearted at that height,
Here the stars can be seen, bright even is my night.

 

II.

Welcome,
Smile for me,
We’ll ruffle those feathers,
Into the frying pan,
Out of the boredom,
Flying straight’s no fun,
Divert and transgress,
There are many more branches for you here,
Little Turtle Dove, embrace me,
Soak in my strange sounds,
Soar through my nuisance and clamour,
Opulence and glamour,
I was made for you,
You chose me,
I offer double,
Give me your wing,
Learning is only ever wanton,
We’ll make peace yet,
Divest yourself of that country eye,
And tawny plumage,
Here you will be
The hope which Noah saw,
Either visit or stay, don’t settle,
Autumn is the cruellest season
For stagnation.

 

III.

‘Don’t you just love it?’
‘The plough sows the words’
‘Don’t bother locking the door
The frost will keep it closed,
Just on the other side of it
Is where I know you want to be,
Don’t you just love it?’
‘The plough sows the words’
‘An open door is still a cage,
A forest is just as empty,
Go out or can’t you face it?
Have you bitten off more than
What can fit in your beak?
Don’t you just love it?’
‘The plough sows the words’
‘How far are you from going back?’
‘The plough sows the words’
‘Surely not, surely stay,
The isolation will only make you colder,
You must stay, what about me?
What about this?
Don’t you just love it?’
‘The plough sows the words’
‘What about her and him and them over there?
They’re singing at you
Why don’t you sing back?
Or haven’t you grown into your voice.’

 

IV.

A house from home
Contains a bed unknown,
Like a plant replanted.

The return to familiarity
Competes not with similarity
To stark independence,

Not to say that one withers
In the city or shivers
Just to feel crowded.

Honesty does prevent if true,
Separation of home and you
From being labelled fairer.

If it were up to me
You’d stay rooted to a tree
And I’d embrace you with branches.

 

V.

Who knits the fleece that
Comforts the infant sun
When dawn is over and
The day is yet to come?

Not murky clouds
Ensconced in blue
Holding droplets sweet
And image new

Nor the high song of
Winged creatures small
Do such damage to
The midday thrall

As the mind of one
Who knows not yet
Of dispositions
Flying cold, unkept

Just as the river
The brook, lake and stream
In downhill travels
Grow progressively clean

As must you Turtle Dove
Still to stillness return
Unrest in journey
Is quickness to learn.

 

VI.

Please don’t despair for your broken wing,
Caught and wounded in the lengthy process,
Knowledge itself is a desperate thing.

There’s nothing wrong admitting ‘aspiring’,
Soaring from stark minimum to bleak excess,
Please don’t despair for your broken wing.

Now you have stopped, maybe now you can sing
Melodies of vision and of sight even less,
Knowledge itself is a desperate thing.

Perched on a rooftop and cold in the spring,
With letters self-referential and of harsh address,
Please don’t despair for your broken wing.

To hear your own voice is to dethrone a king,
Admit your position and hop through the mess,
Knowledge itself is a desperate thing.

Even if now you’re flying in a ring,
With little pride and reaching for less,
Please don’t despair for your broken wing,
Knowledge itself is a desperate thing.

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