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Seaham Sea Glass in Winter
The sea dashes and rolls
while we play catch with it
stepping into its trail of foam
as bubbles dissolve and break.
We pick through fresh pebbles
for fragments of glass, sea-scratched
smoothed into these nubs,
half jewel, half solidified drops.
Worth the punishing steps
freezing wind and rain
to find these chips of light
some clear, some pale green,
some lapis blue, or jade.
How long before the sea
pounds them to powder
with its relentless churning?
A silver song is trapped in the branches—
a winter melody that flutters against black
playing itself thinly in forlorn places.
Sometimes a robin threads harmonies,
or sparrows’ percussive chatter thickens.
On windy nights there’s a full orchestra.
Spring brings a softer tone, as light buds
blur the starkness. A pizzicato juxtaposition
of blossom offers a frothy descant.
Each season plays its own composition:
the wild semi-quavers of summer
when all is bravissimo ornamentation.
In autumn the score is full and sombre.
Its symphony is in a minor key and speaks
most eloquently, of all that passes.
Hop under the hedge
out of the cold
not much left in the feeder
but rummage these beech leaves
lifting each with my yellow beak
there’s a feast of bugs,
delicious crawly things.
No tidy gardeners here
raking up autumn’s loss.
I toss each leaf, gobble
Fill my hollows with
their little lives,
quick to peck
my head dots and dashes.
Then fly up to preen
on these chimney tops,
catch the updraft
from their coal fires,
fluff up my feathers.
It might be winter
but life’s pretty good.
Angela Topping is the author of eight full poetry collections, and four pamphlets. She is a former Writer in Residence at Gladstone’s Library. Her work is widely published in journals and anthologies. She blogs at angelatopping.wordpress.com