Daily Archives: October 20, 2017

Resting, Waiting and A Mike Harding Poem

It’s been a quiet, stay-at-home, curl-up-with-a-good-book, rest-after-hectic-holiday sort of a day while Storm Brian begins to make its way across Britain, starting with us in the South West.

I saw this in Tiger in North Finchley on Wednesday and it made me laugh so I had to buy it. I do cook with Tarragon too.

Here is a brilliant poem by Mike Harding for you that came my way yesterday and which touched a chord.

One Swallow

Remember how you’d drive at night in summers past
Through fogs and mists of midges, 
Blizzards of fat bugs, snowstorms of moths
All melting on the windscreen glass?
Long, hot, country miles, you’d drive
Dry eyed and squinting out into the dark, cursing,
The windscreen frosted with their last moments,
The wipers useless, washer water gone.
You’d get back home to find the hurl and heft
And spatter, the great smears of death,
The legions lost, all dashed and hurtled to their end –
Guts, brains and wings, thorax and antennae –
Pulped into a patina you’d have to soap and scour away.

But Death comes easy for them now, no battering
Oblivion at seventy miles an hour, head on,
Just the toxic rain of money slathered across 
The meadows, hills and downs.
One swallow makes a summer now;
Soon she’ll be gone too with the bees, 
The birdsong and the riotous great clamour
That once welcomed every dawn.
And, as we face each silent year
And see the dustbowl fells and fields, 
We’ll weep for what we all have lost:
For clouds of midges, nights alive with moths, 
The scimitars of swallows, martins, swifts,
The wrens and sparrows, nightingales and jays
And the chanting birds that caroled once
All across those golden, summer days.

(From “Fishing For Ghosts” Available via the online shop at

Sunflower to attract insects September 2014



Tags: ,

%d bloggers like this: