This poem was sent in to us by one of our readers, Peter Taylor
Warm May morning, pink azaleas alight,
never been so bright before, so
fiery so soon after winter’s wake
(quite late this year). I toast my feet beneath
a dodging sun, soaking up essential D, and
settle on a garden seat to listen to what I
cannot see: a tree-top high cacophony
of birdsong, every note unique.
I speculate as to the true translation
but know their secrets pass with species.
One thing that strikes me, though, is that
every melody is sung in a major key.
Does that mean anything? I think on this
while birds continue to give no clue.
Does a minor key mean sad, unhappy?
There’s a question that takes us deep.
A sudden rush of revelation gets me
heaping piles of poignancy: a lover’s laughter for
a lover lost; Viola “smiling at grief” for a
hopeless love – where we mix on canvas
colours that are forever bright with others
condemned to eternal night: she is dead but
so loved me; I love him but he can’t
love the person he has made me.
Sweet melancholy haunts the space between
light and dark: a love that was, now is no longer;
a love given that can’t be taken. A minor key
may begin a piece but, wait, move just one finger,
the clouds shift and linger long enough to cue in
light and love waiting patiently in the wings.
I know them now to be the same thing; and
wait for that, quietly, to sink in.
Meanwhile, the birds still sing away –
I wonder if they’ve seen the play or ever wear
attractive lockets (I’ve heard that magpies
pick our pockets). I’ll never know for certain.
But just before we drop the curtain, listen
closely, try to guess what they are saying.
I guarantee you’ll find a major key – beyond that,
your guess will be as good as mine.