On Wimbledon Common

On Wimbledon Common

A fine clear dazzling morning
           as I stroll out
the sun scarcely an hour high
           the air just tart enough
How my whole day is shaped
           by the song of that meadow lark
perched on a fence-stake
           twenty yards away!

Two or three liquid-simple notes
           repeated at intervals
full of careless happiness
           and hope

With its peculiar shimmering
           slow progress and swift
noiseless action of its wings
           away it flies
alights on another stake
           and so on to another
shimmering and singing
           as it goes

John Lyons

(adapted from Walt Whitman, Specimen Days)

Yellow Flag

pond

Yellow Flag

In the shallow waters
of the pond
on Wimbledon Common
yellow irises thrive
in May and June

Here where water fowl
come to breed
they rise up
with their long
sword-shaped leaves
standing almost a metre tall

As yellow flag or sword-grass
they have entered
the popular imagination
and were once believed
to keep the powers of evil at bay

When herons spot them
from the air they know
that they are close
to a place they can call home

John Lyons