Saturday, June 02, 2007

I’ve never really been the one looked to to walk the dogs…there is usually a Jack, a Gillian or a Stuart for that kinda craic…but for the last few days I have been wandering up Cave Hill with Fox and Sox in tow.

It’s beautiful up there, particularly at the minute when the first hints of summer have added a lush touch. It reminded me of when I flew in to Belfast after spending an amazing summer in South Africa… Cape Town had dazzled me with its mountain and its surf and its sun but flying up the coast on a gorgeous, clear day and looking down at home I couldn’t help but smile. There’s staggering beauty right here too.

I love walking round Cave Hill - within minutes you go from suburbia to the middle of a nature which crashes against the paths one moment and opens out to give wonderful views of the city below the next. There was a great moment yesterday as, rounding a corner and looking up the path that lay out in front, a magpie crept out of the grass, darted a look right and left, paused, and then shuffled his way across the path as if he was managing to undertake his covert mission, swiftly and unseen. He was back again at the exact same place at the same moment in my walk today, this time taking to the air as the dogs ran his way. It reminded me of a poem by Emily Dickinson which we looked at at school. I don’t know much about poetry, coming in to contact with most of the poets I’ve read when studying English in Room 6, though I’ve attempted to write a little bit of something like it a few times and I have always liked Dickinson in all her obscure glory. So the poem that entered my head…

A bird came down the walk:
He did not know I saw;
He bit an angle-worm in halves
And ate the fellow, raw.

And then he drank a dew
From a convenient grass,
And then hopped sidewise to the wall
To let a beetle pass.

He glanced with rapid eyes
That hurried all abroad,--
They looked like frightened beads, I thought;
He stirred his velvet head

Like one in danger; cautious,
I offered him a crumb,
And he unrolled his feathers
And rowed him softer home

Than oars divide the ocean,
Too silver for a seam,
Or butterflies, off banks of noon,
Leap, splashless, as they swim.

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