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The Quiet

By: Margaret Haig

About The Poem

While working from home and when lockdown was at its height with no cars or aeroplanes to interfere, I noticed the birds in such detail. The words fell just like a stream of birdsong.

The Poem

now and then I fall into a deep quiet and even the hum of the fridge and my tinnitus cannot stop me from hearing the sweet music of tiny birds who sit in the trees which are only just now budding reluctantly against the cold snap outside my windows on the first floor and the lack of a balcony no longer bothers me in these moments because glorious nature is alongside and above me and below me and I can see green without too much effort with a stretch of the neck and even though I do not know which birds these might be maybe sparrows or maybe even goldfinches and pigeons coo intermittently but I definitely saw and heard geese honking as they flew overhead the other day rather than the usual aeroplanes and also heard an interloper parakeet somewhere but could not spot it despite its lime-green feathers

and somehow it is comforting to think that these birds chatter all the time whether or not there are vehicles and construction sites and children going to school all making noise and it is only now that I can actually listen sufficiently carefully to hear them protect their patch because usually you only hear the loud birds like magpies which have their own dark beauty but also inspire fear based on old rhymes and once a long time ago I think I saw nine together and the rhyme had run out for that number so I had no guide but recently it has only been the one for sorrow two for joy variations but for sound I definitely prefer the little birds as they are more tuneful
but now I think I understand twitchers a little but even more those people who can identify a bird by its chirping or long and looping melodies that swirl around the courtyard and make it through my window panes at certain times of day and even though I like to have some noise around me so I feel less alone with this quiet I can just be

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