The Year-End

The Year-End

The pitter-patter of rain
             on the skylight
and visible through the glass
             against a dull grey sky
the bare branches of a poplar
             upon which a large crow
has perched — birds are
             the most common accessories
in our landscape and never
             more necessary than during
the long barren winter months

Birds go way back
             over 200 million years
and in our lives
             their song is ever present
from the moment we are born
             right down to the wire :
the marvel of their flight
             the variations of their melodies
back and forth they go
             harbingers of tidings good and bad
and with a tune for all seasons

Yesterday the arc of a perfect rainbow
             encompassed the whole of Thamesmead
a bright ring of colour that warmed the heart
             with the promise of better times to come
another of nature’s simplicities
             there to lift the human spirit
just like birdsong
             or the beauty of the rose

Today at dawn
             a blustery wind is blowing
through the darkness
             it too a reminder of our status
as it rattles the eaves
             as it runs through the trees
as its howl suffocates
             all sound but its own
We are at the year-end
             on the cusp of change
at a time when the ledgers
             of profit and loss are pored over
and consciences are up
             for examination
at a time of prayer :
             let peace reign
let there be – we pray – less pain
             less pointless loss
of life 
and love

John Lyons


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