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Red Kites over Loch Ken

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Have they been wheeling and waiting for me, how long,

Over these bare February branches,

skeletons they will neither roost in

Nor pick at, wood-bones for which they have no use?

 

Waiting all the while the silver water slides as rustled silk

Right to left, under the old viaduct at Parton?

Driven by massive air

That I can only guess at, from Greenland, arctic, God knows where,

They circle now; the world is stilled, only the kites revolve

In their great arcs of prey-seeking.

 

What strange concatenation of events

Has brought me here to see them, how could they know

I would be brought within the ambit of their circling?

Did they know the tide was out at Carrick, and the wind

Too strong, too blustering, there, to launch?

 

When all of us could just as well be elsewhere, yet

They still achieve their stasis in the frame of my eyes;

Was I recovered from the clutch of darkness, from the pull

Of an even wilder, darker shore than Galloway’s, for this vision?

Just to see the red kites wheel in the glint of February sunlight

Burnishing the loch beneath them, the rippling surface

Silver out of grey, some alchemy of light unknown to me.

 

I have a sense this moment is important

But, like so many others in my life, no inkling why,

No sense of wide significance, except their dark magnificence

Up there means something I don’t know yet:

All I know is the moment when, above bare February branches,

Crisscrossing sky in black patterns like veins, the kites

Rose over shores, hovering, huge, majestic; here

Soar red kites in the cold sky.

 

And I am watching them, and watching water; maybe

Spring will come back after all – there have been other signs, now I think on it,

And here am I, today, watching the red kites over Loch Ken,

And, for once, not drowning, but waving.

 

 

 

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Comments

Tom Harding

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Tue 21st Feb 2012 22:55

great effective poem, the words have a wonderful weight and strength to them.

Poets Corner

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Mon 20th Feb 2012 16:06

Great Poem!
Great Words!
Great Subject!
Very Well Written! - Like the Pertinent Punctuations which add to the Poignancy of the Poem when read!

Thank you - Graham

Cynthia Buell Thomas

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Mon 20th Feb 2012 15:23

I enjoyed this. It could well be tagged for 'serendipity', for it personifies 'delightful discoveries' and you emphasise the 'unexpected' aspect of it.

Greg Freeman

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Sun 19th Feb 2012 10:27

I think this is a fabulous poem, Steve: acutely observant of the kites, looking for a deeper meaning, and ending on an uplifting note.

Ann Foxglove

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Sun 19th Feb 2012 09:41

Hi Steve - I saw your query about the competition. It's something we do on WOL sometimes - there's a subject (this time it's "serendipity") and at the end of a set time (this one ends on Feb 29th) people can vote for their favourite. There's no prize but the winner can, if they wish, set the subject for the next competition. If you go to my profile page you can see that I've made a couple of blog entries explaining it cos I was one of the winners last time. If you want to enter, just go to edit on your poem and tag it "serendipity" and you'll be included.

Steve Rudd

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Fri 17th Feb 2012 21:30

The double comment is courtesy of Richard Branson's stick-on comedy attempt at an internet connection

Steve Rudd

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Fri 17th Feb 2012 21:29

Hello Dave, thanks, yes they are indeed.

Hello Harry, it's a Stevie Smith reference not Sylvia Plath. But thanks anyway for your views, you have a point. What is the comp?

Steve Rudd

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Fri 17th Feb 2012 21:28

Hello Dave, thanks, yes they are indeed.

Hello Harry, it's a Stevie Smith reference not Sylvia Plath. But thanks anyway for your views, you have a point. What is the comp?

Dave Bradley

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Fri 17th Feb 2012 19:53

I liked this a lot Steve. The intense feeling of the moment is conjured up beautifully. And Red Kites are beautiful birds.

Harry O'Neill

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Fri 17th Feb 2012 19:39

Steve,A Nice effectively wonderous rendering of the `significance` of magnificance`
Waiting all the while the water slides as rustled silk` is a very fine line.
The last stanza about hope is apt, but I don`t think the power of it needed the Plath thing at the end.
I couldn`t help thinking (with respect)that -given other references in the poem - the last stanza could have included serendipity...and gone in the comp.

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