Posted by: Peadar Ban | September 7, 2017

Birds, Beethoven, Chesterton and Communion

This is the kind of thing I will do when I find the time is quiet and the place is empty.  I scribbled this on a piece of paper one day in June this year while I was sitting outside watching the sun come up, and listening to some music.  It was the 25th.


Up on the roof peak facing woods and water

Landed a bird just as the music began.

“Could he hear it,” I wondered, listening to

Beethoven flowing out the door, wind soughing

Through the trees, the soft steady stroke of oars

Marching upstream that old man in the morning makes

At his daily test of current wrestling stamina

Against water and time flowing by.


The bird is not like any I have seen before;

Not much more than a sparrow, and tree bark brown

All over, except for a dull orange “bib” around chest and “chin”.

I know birds have no chin, but no other word seems right

Given his position on the peak. Well, maybe scarf, bandana,

Balaclava, the things commanders wear.


Oh, well, there you have it.


As I watch him, my peaked friend, he notices me.

Keen, he eyes me down here. Chesterton on my lap

Ignored for a moment, I watch him. He looks away

To the river bordering trees. I follow his turn of head and see

All the deep shadows, the lighter meadows of sun above,

The colors match him who would never be seen

In these deep cool places. What a clever fellow

I marvel, to grow light all around him to wear.


Smiling at this revelation I look again at him who

Puffs himself and gives out the most gentle, subtle call

Ever I have heard any bird give. One more glance

And he is gone, disappearing into shadow shapes

In the middle not fifty yards from me.


I wait to be sure then pick up Chesterton as Beethoven

Continues soft inside. It is his Third Symphony, The Eroica,

Which some say he wrote for Napoleon. Maybe so.

But I think that poor fellow would not have seen the point,

Or accepted the gift if it was a fact.


The deaf composer in his silence has conquered more

Than the little Corsican, and ruled longer.


I’ll watch the trees in the afternoon

Sweep the wind like a great green broom

Sweep the clouds across the sky.

Softly, silently.







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