The Secret Song

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Algy flew into the edge of a forest beside the great sea loch, and found a cosy spot where he could recline on a soft bed of grass and dry bracken. Lying back among the autumn foliage he stared up at the tall trees towering above him, listening to the sounds of the birds and tiny insects who were going about their daily lives in this peaceful environment. It was much calmer inside the forest than on the shores of the loch, and he could hear many wee rustling noises and murmurings of the forest folk. Algy reflected on the amazing complexity of life that went almost entirely unnoticed most of the time… It reminded him of a children’s poem which he had discovered recently:

Who saw the petals
drop from the rose?
I, said the spider,
but nobody knows.

Who saw the sunset
flash on a bird?
I, said the fish,
but nobody heard.

Who saw the fog
come over the sea?
I, said the sea pigeon,
only me.

Who saw the first
green light of the sun?
I, said the night owl,
the only one.

Who saw the moss
creep over the stone?
I, said the grey fox,
all alone.

Algy hopes that you all have a calm and peaceful Sunday xo

[Algy is quoting the poem The Secret Song by the early 20th century American writer of children’s books, Margaret Wise Brown.]

Alone… Not Alone!

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Algy perched on a cushion of orange-brown seaweed on the cold, grey rock, as the storm clouds gathered overhead and the waves crashed all around him – a fluffy bird alone, facing the wrath of the elements…

For a moment he was reminded of a famous poem by Edgar Allan Poe, but then he reflected that in fact he was never alone, as he had so many amazing friends, all around the world.

So Algy sends you all his very fluffiest hugs, from the stormy shores of the wild west Highlands of Scotland, and reminds you that if you should ever feel isolated, as Poe did, remember that you are not really alone, as you will always have a very special friend, waiting to send you a fluffy hug 🙂

From childhood’s hour I have not been
As others were—I have not seen
As others saw—I could not bring
My passions from a common spring—
From the same source I have not taken
My sorrow—I could not awaken
My heart to joy at the same tone—
And all I lov’d—I lov’d alone—
Then—in my childhood—in the dawn
Of a most stormy life—was drawn
From ev’ry depth of good and ill
The mystery which binds me still—
From the torrent, or the fountain—
From the red cliff of the mountain—
From the sun that ’round me roll’d
In its autumn tint of gold—
From the lightning in the sky
As it pass’d me flying by—
From the thunder, and the storm—
And the cloud that took the form
(When the rest of Heaven was blue)
Of a demon in my view—

[Algy is quoting the poem Alone by the 19th century American writer Edgar Allan Poe.]

Wild the Clouded Gleam

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Algy perched on a large rock beside the quiet loch and watched the dark clouds scudding fast across the sky. It was clear that he would soon be drenched again, but for the moment a rare burst of sunshine was providing some much needed light and a wee bit of comforting warmth. The autumn was advancing rapidly, and the damp leaves and grasses were glowing with their last bright colours before the fall. Not that leaves often had a chance to fall naturally in the wild west Highlands of Scotland; more likely, they would be all be gone with the wind, when the next Atlantic storm blew in…

Somewhere on the hillside behind him, a robin was quietly warbling its autumn song, and as Algy listened to its sweet notes he was reminded of another song, by Canon Dixon:

The feathers of the willow
Are half of them grown yellow
Above the swelling stream;
And ragged are the bushes,
And rusty now the rushes,
And wild the clouded gleam.

The thistle now is older,
His stalks begin to moulder,
His head is white as snow;
The branches all are barer,
The linnet’s song is rarer,
The robin pipeth low.

[Algy is quoting The Feathers of the Willow by the 19th century English cleric and poet, Canon Richard Watson Dixon.]

Honour to those…

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Algy perched on a large boulder in a patch of pale autumn sunlight and stared at the waters of the loch.

He was reflecting on the strange nature of human beings; a few of them caused a huge amount of trouble and distress for others who they did not even know, and yet the vast majority were kind to one another, especially when those in trouble or danger were in need of help. The situation was entirely baffling to a fluffy bird, but by a strange coincidence it seemed to match today’s poem in the anthology “A Poem for Every Day of the Year” – a poem which was written over 150 years ago:

Whene’er a noble deed is wrought,
Whene’er is spoken a noble thought,
Our hearts, in glad surprise,
To higher levels rise.

The tidal wave of deeper souls
Into our inmost being rolls,
And lifts us unawares
Out of all meaner cares.

Honor to those whose words or deeds
Thus help us in our daily needs,
And by their overflow
Raise us from what is low!

[Algy is quoting the opening verses of the poem Santa Filomena by the 19th century American poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.]

Dancing Softly to Himself

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For as far as Algy’s eye could see, delicate, lacy spiders’ webs and gossamers were strung across the grasses and low-lying plants of the moorland and peat bogs, each one glistening with its own special string of dew drop pearls. It looked like a magical, misty fairyland, and Algy was entranced. Choosing a spot that was not too impossibly soggy, he perched there for a while, watching the webs sparkle in the morning light and their tiny inhabitants going about their daily business. He remembered a poem by Emily Dickinson, and wondered just how many spiders were dancing softly to themselves in his tiny wee corner of the Scottish Highlands… and how many must therefore be dancing across the great wide world as a whole…

The spider holds a Silver Ball
In unperceived Hands –
And dancing softly to Himself
His Yarn of Pearl – unwinds –

He plies from Nought to Nought –
In unsubstantial Trade –
Supplants our Tapestries with His –
In half the period –

An Hour to rear supreme
His Continents of Light –
Then dangle from the Housewife’s Broom –
His Boundaries – forgot –

[Algy is quoting the poem The Spider Holds a Silver Ball by the 19th century American poet Emily Dickinson.]

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.]

April is the Cruellest Month…

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Most days were grey – either cold, damp and dreary, or drenched in heavy rain and dense Scotch mist. But from time to time the sun shone, and then Algy found a perch where he could feel a wee bit warmer and drier, and watch the play of light on the sea or the wee burn which had found itself a new path across the beach, twisting in and out of the masses of rock in a mysteriously elaborate pattern.

It was undoubtedly spring; the light was much stronger, the days were much longer, and the skylarks were singing merrily above the sand dunes… and yet the air was cold and the wind was sharp. Algy was inevitably reminded of T. S. Eliot’s famous opening lines from The Waste Land:

April is the cruellest month, breeding
Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing
Memory and desire, stirring
Dull roots with spring rain.

[Algy is quoting the opening lines of that most famous of early 20th century poems, The Waste Land by T. S. Eliot.]