May 2010

A great year for cuckoos! This year I’ve heard them all over, from the coast of West Cork to Slieve Liag in Donegal. Maybe they have it all worked out!

May glen

Cuckoo’s call carries
across the bird-sung valley.
Chaffs chase a kestrel.


Cuckoos cuckooing;
ultimate opportunists.
Are they mocking us?



And now, with the glorious weather of the past few days, Summer is really here, late though it may be. Trees are coming to full leaf and bloom; the birds’ song is overwhelming: a riot of notes, calls, full-throated symphony.


Hawthorn’s almond scent
honeying the hot May air,
sweet from blackbirds’ song.



How beautiful after all these bare, cold months with no growth to see the wind run through the new grass and ripple the newly unfurled leaves…


Young leaves prayer-dance
to the North wind’s warm hymn.
Long grass genuflects.



Our Sakura (what the Japanese call their cherry blossom) has arrived in full, glorious force. “Well done, everyone,” as Johnny Spillane would say!


Laden profusion.
Bare branches explode in clouds
Heavy with their light.



“Samhradh! Samhradh! Bainne na ngamhna,
          Thugamar féin an Samhradh linn…”

Bealtaine and the arrival of Summer – at least, in principle! The hills, the fields and, especially, the hedges know it:


May’s busy needle,
bluebells, violets, stitchwort:
the banks embroidered.