Curlews


If I fail, say, and work on a supermarket checkout
I can’t think I’d be less happy
Or live with less meaning
Than my prized career, my treasured vocation,
And the proof is in markets and also in curlews.
Markets, like the one in St Hippolyte
Where the cheese man is flirting
And flattering, and laughing,
And ladies take compliments they get nowhere else.
There’s love in those sales
And ladies leave glowing.
And I wake, feeling lucky, to hear calls of the curlews
Which people call liquid
And most beautiful of birds
(And to a scared boy in cities where curlews weren’t singing,
A wide, unexpected chorus of peace).
But I wonder if it’s really deliberate, this beauty,
As practised an art, as anything can be,
Where, with noble intention,
The act doth become so.
Like loving, for a few moments,
Anyone through the checkout,
Which might be their portion of love for today
And you gave it. What a thing to say of your life!
Wherever I was, I gave love to the moment.
Makes me think of the curlews and the nature of their calling
And I wonder if their calling isn’t their calling?

By Henry Berry

long-billed shorebirds standing on rocks by ocean


Henry Berry lives in a rambling old house in the rural Vale of York, England. His writing focuses on external and interior, mental landscapes inspired by intimate contact with the countryside immediately around his home. His blog can be found at www.henryberry.blogspot.com/

Photo by Tamara Kulikova

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