Shadow Stands Up #15

It seems unintentionally appropriate as the coming days of feasting approach to remember how, when I lived in Jordan in the late 1960s, I noticed that people would touch a left-over bread crust to their lips and then place it on a wall where 'the birds' could find it.

Season’s greetings to all. What a year it’s been.


There’s one of those early birds
in the (green now) tree outside
our bedroom window – you know
the kind, they get started in
the dark just when you think it’s
safe to try and dream again
but the dream’s gone already,
a transport hub was it, or
a place where people gathered
to hear the news, a battered
bus was leaving but waited
while the poet spoke on the
radio, the imbriqui
paused while the poet spoke,
and then the coffee was poured,
one of the weeping listeners
put his breakfast crust on
a low parapet by the
bus station so the birds could
make sure nothing was wasted –
was this what my early bird
was singing about in the
dark before dawn, or was it
a memory pretending
to be a dream I couldn’t
wake up from in time to go?