The Crown is Ours




I wrote this poem in my Greenwich garden, during the unfamiliar stillness of the first lockdown. I was struck by how Nature had been regaining her ‘rightful place’ during those months. Yet, rather than being triumphalist, She is waiting to welcome us back. Humans are slowing down under the weight of this ‘heavy crown’ (corona = crown in Latin) – and it is this slowing down that is both the burden and the cure – as we humans find balance once more. Birds are the protagonists of the poem, embodying Nature – and ultimately, they choose to help bear this burden with us, even though humans have long-since cast themselves as ‘rulers’ of Nature. I’m hoping this new balance will continue with us, into our Post-Corona World.

This place is ours now.
Ours again.
As once it was.
Shy (despite her trumpeting, vermilion breast),
She now lingers, atop the fence.
There is time to tweak out the hoped-for morsel.
We lift our voices –
At dawn, at midday, at dusk.
We are heard.
Trills, warbles, coos.
No longer drowned by engines’ thrum.
The humans have slowed.
What could have made them change –
Their ways?
Their pace?
They’re keeping to their nests now.
Food is left,
Time is taken,
And as we peck and preen and ruffle,
They look to us.
Touching depths anew,
Easing worry that lines their face.
This heavy crown they carry.
A load we’ll help them bear.

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