Forsythia…

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It was spring at last. Algy’s home in the wild West Highlands was still being blasted by an icy wind carrying battering showers of rain mixed with hail or sleet, but it was undoubtedly spring at last, and there were times between the showers when the sky turned blue and the bright new flowers revelled in the sunshine.

Algy loved the early spring because there were so many flowers which shared his own sunny colours. Waiting for an auspicious moment when the wind seemed to have dropped to a tolerable level for a wee while and the clouds had dispersed, temporarily at least, he settled himself into a sunny forsythia bush and thought of a poem he had once read… and of you, all his friends around the world…

You said, take a few dry
sticks, cut the ends slantwise
to let in water, stick them
in the old silver cup on the
dresser in the spare room and
wait for the touch of Easter.
But a cold wave protected the
snow, and the sap’s pulse beat
so low underground I felt no
answer in myself except silence.
You said, winter breaks out in
flowers for the faithful and
today when I opened the door
the dry sticks spoke in little
yellow stars and I thought
of you.

[Algy is quoting the poem Forsythia by the 20th century American poet and philosopher, James Hearst.]

The Mist

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As the glorious West Highland summer continued, Algy reclined on the dripping leaves of a garden hedge, wondering how long it would take for the tiny droplets of dense mist to soak right through his feathers. There was no point looking out to sea, as the sea had not been visible for quite some time. And there was no point watching the sky, as the sky had long since vanished. So Algy struck up a conversation with a song thrush who, despite the weather, had been yodelling vigorously in a tree nearby. The thrush was not a particularly well-read bird, so for his benefit Algy recited an appropriate poem, in the hope that the thrush would add it to his repertoire:

I am the mist, the impalpable mist,
Back of the thing you seek.
My arms are long,
Long as the reach of time and space.

Some toil and toil, believing,
Looking now and again on my face,
Catching a vital, olden glory.

But no one passes me,
I tangle and snare them all.
I am the cause of the Sphinx,
The voiceless, baffled, patient Sphinx.

I was at the first of things,
I will be at the last.
I am the primal mist
And no man passes me;
My long impalpable arms
Bar them all.

[Algy is reciting the poem The Mist by the 20th century American poet Carl Sandburg.]