Christmas Eve the blackbird started carolling,
Two months back, tricked by the stillness, by a lingering
Moment before dark and the sudden mild, into the song
He keeps back normally as a surety of spring.
I was in my hut, heard it and held my breath. Since when
The snow has come and lain forgetful on the fields, and gone
And still the blackbird has never held its tongue.
Soft light this evening in the garden, and the murmuring
Of warm rain. One daffodil now. And the blackbird again
High in the blue firtree. He sings. And then for some
Time he listens as if for reply from beyond the rain,
From a silence that is in from the sea, or beyond, listening
For where that diffuse quiet should end in confluent song.
I watch from the porch him tilt his head. Then he’s off again,
Trilling, carolling. And somewhere in the house the whisper
from Welcombe Overtures (Revised edition, The Write Factor, 2012), © John Moat 1987, used by permission of the author