This sequence 'From a Diary of Non-Events' was written over one year but it started in December of the year 2000 and carries on until the November of the following year, 2001. And the title is slightly ironic because I do in fact include some events although the poem is mainly about what I call non events which are the cyclic processes, mainly of nature and of human life and the events are the things in the newspapers.

From a Diary of Non-Events – January


Damped light. The daily lane.
Four times above it
The dubious bird,
And no binoculars on me.
A blackbird silhouette
But the tones leafless, bare
As where it perches, the high willow bough,
Not the accented phrase
That’s small-talk still.
No stress, arpeggio, trill,
More monologue than call –
To whom, to whom whom whom, whom whom…
And that continuous.
With quarter-tones in it?
If so, not for these damned iambics,
Not for noise-cluttered ears
Another ‘elegy’ for Edward Thomas’s England,
His bird, the missel-thrush
Suburbanized even then, but commonly met,
Vernacular of the footpath, pavement, road.

Revenant now at best
In half-light, half-remembrance, half-recognition
Here, where by order once again
The skeletal hedgerows have been slashed
So that container trucks grown cottage-sized,
Tanker, delivery van
Suffer no damage, no delay
To their prefabricated bulk
Ever more smoothly coming, going, gone.

And in between, on the same willow bough,
This hint of a return the rumbling drowns.

from From a Diary of Non-Events (Anvil Press Poetry, 2002), copyright © Michael Hamburger 2002,used by permission of the author and the publisher.

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