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Snake illustration
Illustration credit: Tiffany Francis-Baker

V

The days passed into months and years,
the forest slept in peace,
until one morning, from such
hopeful dreams they were released.
Awoken by surprise, the air
was steeped in something new,
a sound, long-lost, from high up in
the bright and boundless blue.
A fluting, velvet, liquid note,
a voice they hadn’t heard
since days of old - the ballad of
a jubilant blackbird.
Down it floated, down into the
white erupting blossoms,
to hop inside the canopy
and linger in its bosom,
for here were leaves and twiglets, a
most advantageous mess
for blackbird to pluck out the pieces,
Leap! and weave its nest.
And though the land was broken, still,
the forest looked around
and saw cornflowers growing through
the concrete-smothered ground,
and here a beetle burrowed in
the earth, and there a hawk
darted low upon a vole and
held it tight within its claw.
‘What happened?’ sighed the alder,
‘Is our gentle kingdom cured?’
‘Be patient,’ said the yew. ‘The Earth
too long has been obscured
in shadow and calamity,
let’s wait awhile, my friend,
for broken hearts than broken bones
take far longer to mend.’
Day by day, each trembling thing had
relearned how to grow,
a blossom here, and there an
ivy creeping, soft and slow.
The soil had stirred, awoken from
the cruellest nightmare,
and like a vixen, trapped within
a red and rusting snare -
if she sets loose, she does not bound
and bounce away with glee,
but weeps, embodies how it feels,
at last, to wander free.
The wild world was healing, from
each seed to silver sky,
relieved, reclaiming, no longer
just waiting there to die.

Read more

Birds by Tiffany Francis-Baker
The Tangled Web - part VI