Sand Martins

Sand Martins
(Evening Roost - Pagelsham Essex.)


There were sand martins:
         just a few -
the other year they settled here in thousands
and no-one knew exactly whence they came.

Speculation: chooses what it will -
sandpits in Essex, Suffolk, or Norfolk;
the steep-sided banks of our Anglian rivers.

They had more sand to come -
their sub-Saharan winters drew them on
towards the sun and other warming instincts.

The evening roost expanded:
the wires could not hold them -
strange staves - strange notations.

The music summer makes can overcome -
     dirges, laments, threnodies,
all the valedictions and the strains
         of mournful cellos.

      Thousands, thousands,
beating their wings against the harvest moon:
that massive, molten, amber-full illusion
resounding: in the owl-light - like a drum.