Saturday, 30 September 2017


Up extra early this morning in time to take my dog for her early morning walk before going off with friend W at eight-thirty for our flu jabs, I was struck - as I am every Autumn- by the sound which blots out every other sound morning and evening out in the countryside (and for most of the rest of the day too if you stand and listen.)   The sound of the rooks chatting to one another.   If only I knew 'bird' and could tell what they are saying.

As we walked down the lane in that clear, early morning, still air, I could hear them stirring in their rookery down the lane and soon they were flying over in their thousands, shouting out to one another as they went off up Dale to their feeding grounds.

I can't begin to tell you what pleasure they give me every year in Spring and Autumn - nesting finished, feeding young finished - when they seem to be totally free to just BE.   Even Tess stopped and looked up to see what all the fuss was about.


It seems to me the wind
is your friend.
Soaring, tumbling,
or playing with the thermals
on a still day. 

Tacking, swooping,
cutting along the hedge top,
manipulating a gale.

Chattering, flying high,
sailing home on a
light breeze.

Building your stick nest
high in the bare branches
for it to rock and rattle
around the rookery.

You joyful bird
with your black, lustrous plumage
and your crusted beak
that stabs the ground
for leather-jackets.

You can
fill the sky with movement,
write a tune on the wires,
blacken a field with your parliament,
and fill my heart with joy
as you surge past my window
in your thousands
at dawn on a cold wintry morning.


littlemancat said...

Wonderful! I so understand the joy that you feel - beautifully expressed. Thank you.

Ruth said...

That's so beautiful dear Weaver - I hope with all my heart they'll follow you wherever you live. I can feel your joy way over here across the briny deep!

Tom Stephenson said...

I love Rooks too. I don't understand why some people persecute them. It is a privilege to have a rookery nearby.

Mac n' Janet said...

I wasn't quite sure what a rook was so I looked it up and it said a Eurasian blackbird with a bald face. We don't have them here, just crows who spend their days harassing birds of prey . Very noise too.

Derek Faulkner said...

Pat, you never said why you have a flu jab.

Good programme on BBC2 tonight, all about W. H. Auden - a good poet.

janipi said...

Lovely words. Hearing rooks reminds me of my childhood home. I find hearing them very comforting.

Sarah said...

There's an old rookery near where I live and whilst standing and listening underneath one day a very old man came alongside me and told me that it is the bachelor rooks that make all the noise. What a very lovely poem you included in your post.

Rachel Phillips said...

I love to watch the rooks here too, and listening to their constant cackle as they pass overhead. A strange sound which can earth one to the spot gazing upwards.

Hildred said...

What a lovely post, Pat....rooks are not familiar in our part of the world, but they seem to be a dear and familiar part of yours. In the fall I have to rely on someone phoning me to let me know a flock of geese are migrating from the north, as I am not able to hear their wonderful honking noise any more....wonderful to watch though!

Librarian said...

You should read out your poem at the next poetry meeting!
Rooks and crows are common here, too. They are often very noisy, and usually I don't mind, but sometimes they make such a racket out there early on a weekend morning in spring or summer when I'd like to sleep a little longer...

Joanne Noragon said...

"shouting at each other"
That's what they do, and I never put the thought that way. It's what they do.

KitKatCot said...

We were down your way today, just past Richmond going north, we saw a flock of birds, firstly I thought they may be seagulls, as there was a lot of ploughing being done. Then at a closer look, I saw they were Lapwings, maybe 50 or more.

Billie said...

I am so glad you have apparently decided to keep your pup. They are excellent companions. When you might feel like staying in bed, there they are looking at you. So out you go and when you return, you are in a much better mood. I have been widowed 2 years. It will get better. Praying for a lovely day for you. said...

I love the imagery in the poem you shared, so wonderful. It's lovely the way nature alerts us to the changing seasons. I am awaiting the starlings and their murmarations in the orchard behind our house, one of my favourite autumnal events.

Midmarsh John said...

Much the same here. On our early morning walkabout the local corvids rest on the roof tops on their way to their feeding ground. It always sounds as though they are catching up on the local gossip and deciding what to do with the rest of the day. I've also noticed the Robins are re-establishing their territories, resting on their favourite vantage points and singing their little hearts out.

justjill said...

When we have our evening meal we watch them wheeling round and eventually settling down for bed. I also listen to them having a conversation (through the bathroom window) as they visit the bird table. Hilarious. Why did one of your commentators ask about the flu jab? The DP and I have been invited for ours due in October. I also had some years back the pneumonia jab, which now is life long lasting, depending on your life length I guess. All free and for me a must. As it was bird or swine flu which sealed my fate.

The Weaver of Grass said...

KitKatKot - we do have quite a few lapwings around - luckily.Derek - why do I have the flu jab? I don't know whether it worksor not but it doesn't hurt and it is one way of trying to cut out the risk. I have had flu once - and that was enough.Thanks for the comments on the rooks too.

Alphie Soup said...

A parliament of rooks. An apt description.


Cro Magnon said...

We have just a few Rooks (or maybe they're Crows). They seem to spend all their time annoying the Buzzards; and making a lot of noise..

Virginia said...

I just love your line "Write a tune upon the wire" It lit up the most wonderful picture in my mind. Just brilliant! Thank you.

Rosie said...

We dont have rooks but love to hear the geese flying over in the evening and like you would love know what they are saying to each other!

Heather said...

That is a beautiful poem and as you have not mentioned the poet's name I am assuming it is one of yours. It perfectly expresses your feelings - thank you for sharing it.
It reminds me of a lovely weekend, many years ago, when we stayed in a B&B in Cornwall with a rookery at the end of the garden. No need for alarm clocks!
I must remember to book myself a flu jab this year as I have changed surgeries for practical reasons - the new one is only about 100 yards from my flat.