The hedges are covered with the delicate frosting of Blackthorn blossoms. I love all flowers, but Blackthorn has a special effect on me – a bit like the effect swifts have. Blackthorn blossom utterly alters the hedges. Swifts utterly alter the sky. I feel altered seeing both – opened and raised up. Blackthorn is an early, and all-too-brief, herald of Spring here, but there is another early herald – the Buff-tailed Bumble Bee. Both are welcome sights, insouciant of their effect on me in the sense of Denise Levertov’s wonderful poem,”Come Into Animal Presence”.
COME INTO ANIMAL PRESENCE
Come into animal presence
No man is so guileless as
the serpent. The lonely white
rabbit on the roof is a star
twitching its ears at the rain.
The llama intricately
folding its hind legs to be seated
not disdains but mildly
disregards human approval.
What joy when the insouciant
armadillo glances at us and doesn’t
quicken his trotting
across the track into the palm brush.
What is this joy? That no animal
falters, but knows what it must do?
That the snake has no blemish,
that the rabbit inspects his strange surroundings
in white star-silence? The llama
rests in dignity, the armadillo
has some intention to pursue in the palm-forest.
Those who were sacred have remained so,
holiness does not dissolve, it is a presence
of bronze, only the sight that saw it
faltered and turned from it.
An old joy returns in holy presence.
And finally, my own response:
Blackthorns and Bumblebees
Blackthorns and bumblebees are buzzing and blooming –
vibrations of colour, sound, and smell.
Energy rises from dark, damp earth
through the bones of my feet.
Blackthorns and bumblebees are presenting themselves
to the morning sun.
I am present to this and see them as presents –
gifts to all life around them.
The beauty within blackthorns and bumblebees
shakes my heart awake.
They are not me. They are blackthorns and bumblebees,
briefly being busy.