Steve Leddy is a business writer and editor, based at various times in London, Dublin, and Paris and once even part-owned a villa in Tobago, where the birdlife is out of this world. Steve now live in the Auvergne volcanic region a few hours south of Paris, where the birds sometimes inspire him to verse. This is his first contribution to 10,000 Birds:
Near the lightning breach in my blister-barked beech –
Its leaves tuned tightly to the sea-sharp breeze –
The fat thrush lit on her favourite stage.
As always before her overture,
She fluffed her lines with her twiggy claws
Bringing early applause
And a dribbling smile
From the rain-strained, eye-level sun.
I could have slipped indoors, slippered my feet,
Low-lit the logs and hi-fied my ears.
But the fat thrush had some other ideas.
Came a quick Callas cover (they’d have loved each other)
And then the surprise “This one’s for my brother.”
Each minim, each crotchet, each major-key phrase
A power-rich charity of
Such imaculate clarity that
The grass stood aghast
The breeze held its breath,
The sun dropped its anchor and held itself fast.
The blackbirds backed off (at least until dawn)
And the roses bore dew
Not due to be born.
Then it was over.
And in near darkness
Just the faintest silhouette
Of a tiny chest