Resting, Waiting and A Mike Harding Poem

20 Oct

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



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9 responses to “Resting, Waiting and A Mike Harding Poem

  1. maureenjenner

    October 21, 2017 at 5:26 pm

    Reblogged this on Musings of a Penpusher and commented:
    A sad, sombre epitaph for nature and natural things.

  2. saymber

    October 21, 2017 at 1:25 am

    I had a beautiful caterpillar visitor today. I love sitting and just watching all the different insects that grace me with their presence. I don’t ever want to live in a world without them.

    • mybeautfulthings

      October 23, 2017 at 7:29 am

      I agree with you. Sadly we have seen far fewer butterflies this summer and we haven’t seen any furry caterpillars this Autumn. Mike Harding’s poem really hit home. Love to you xx

  3. Shelagh Smith

    October 20, 2017 at 7:17 pm

    My last small Sunflower is dormitory to seven bumblebees every night. Apparently the center of the flower stores daytime heat, so they come home to roost in the warmth as it gets dark. Who knew?

    • mybeautfulthings

      October 23, 2017 at 7:35 am

      I didn’t! That’s fascinating. Thank you. Next year I will check our sunflowers in the evening to see who is spending the night there.🙂

  4. nrhatch

    October 20, 2017 at 7:06 pm

    Glad you’re happy to be relaxing at home with a good book after your holiday.

  5. John Roberts

    October 20, 2017 at 7:05 pm

    Thanks Sally. What a poignant poem by Mike Harding. One of my favourite broadcasters; I listen to his Folk Blog every week online. His daughter’s favourite band is 3 Daft Monkeys, so they get plenty of plays, and Mike has invited them to perform at Costa Del Folk next Spring in Ibetha!


    • mybeautfulthings

      October 23, 2017 at 7:33 am

      Costa del Folk, is that the event you mentioned the other day? Sounds like fun. I follow M H on Facebook and appreciate his philosophy. It’s good that he plays Three Daft Monkeys regularly. 🙂 xx


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