Chancing Their Claws

I was prompted by ‘Time Clock’, today’s thought-provoking post from SueW, to visit my library to retrieve

a teenage poem I penned more than sixty years ago. I began with the classic iambic pentameter, then tried something more concrete.

Through mirky windows on this the gloomiest morning of the week I watched still timid visitors who had just found bird feeders installed a few days earlier.

This robin can’t have been one of our normal residents, because

it flew off upon coming aware of me, even though I kept behind the glass.

Most small birds don’t alight on their target immediately, but, like this great tit, first occupy an intermediate perch taking a shufti around to be reasonably assured of security before

chancing their claws on the proffered food.

This evening we dined at Lal Quilla in Lymington. My main course was Chicken Jaljala; Jackie’s, Chicken Dopiaza; We shared mushroom fried rice and egg paratha, and both drank Kingfisher.. In the two months since our last visit they have been tastefully redecorated and staff have changed. Manager Raj is still there and the service is as friendly and efficient as ever.


    1. Thanks very much, Leslie. My English teacher thought so – he wanted me to take S level English, but the head wouldn’t allow it because I wasn’t going to university. In fact I got S(scholarship) marks but hadn’t sat the extra required paper for that reason.

      1. Iโ€™ll never understand the differences in our educational systems. Of course I often donโ€™t understand our own, so itโ€™s not surprising that I donโ€™t understand yours. His frustrating for you and for your English teacher.

  1. Oh! I just read your poem in your comment on Sue’s WP site! Her post on Time was wonderful! ๐Ÿ™‚
    And I “liked” your comment there because I thought your poem is amazing!
    Amazing for any writer, but especially a teenage writer! (My writing from my teen years is filled with lovey-dovey, and boys, and a little angst. Ha!)
    ‘Tis a joy to see the birdies enjoying The Bird Restaurant. ๐Ÿ™‚ Thank you so very much for feeding them!
    HUGS!!! ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. That poem is really great – I especially like the phrase “anguished shoe.” I think I’ve worn one of those during exam time! Love the bird pictures too – do you make those treats that are in the bird feeder?

  3. You were so young to write such a wise poem about TIME.
    I like watching the birds timidly decide if our birdfeeder is safe. After a few weeks, they become old friends and allow us to get near and watch their eating prowess.

  4. It is good to see a selection of treats for your bird visitors. You are very competent to be able to find a piece of work written 60 years ago. I can’t even find my cap most days.

    1. They are quite happy with small birds visiting their own feeders at the back of the house. These new ones are at the front, so I guess not on their territory. Thanks a lot for the comment on the poem, Dolly

  5. It is serendipitous that I have come to drop my daughter to an Examination, as I read your poem penned way back in time, and I guess little has changed, except that they use computer terminals.

  6. It wasn’t until I got to umashankar’s comment that I realized my assumption that the ‘examination room’ was a physician’s office might have been off the mark: or, at least, an alternate reading! Your reflection on time reminded me of one of my great-aunts. Her name was Rilla, and she was given to malapropisms. A favorite, that still can be heard in family conversation, is “Tempus fidgits.”

  7. I really like your poem! It so perfectly captured the exam room in a William Carlos Williams kind of way.

    Are your birds feasting upon suet balls with sunflower seeds?

  8. The birds at our feeder still haven’t learnt that if we’re in the dining room, we’re not after them and they fly off straight away. On the other hand, they do show a lot of interest in the room and sometimes they perch and seem to watch me at the computer.

  9. How lovely to read your poem in full – I have to agree with everyone else on here. Way beyond your tender years.

    Our long standing bird nut feeders appeared to have been untouched for a week or so, eventually I went over to the trees and took a closer look and found they were full of mould. That has never happened before but with so much rain this autumn I suppose it was inevitable.I cleaned out the feeders and left them soaking in bleach to kill the mould.

    The birds are back feeding once more.

  10. Everyone who reads your blog knows you have a way with words. Your poem definitely conveys the feeling of an examination room. Murdering time sounds Shakespearean.
    Wonderful photos–I particularly like the bird in the tree with the berries, swirling-looking branches, and a few gold leaves.

  11. I’m late to the comments and almost all has been said about your poem, which for me was very concrete and visual. Amazing Sue’s blog called it to mind and gave everyone here feelings about time as well. And I’m looking forward to more birds at the feeders pictures.

  12. The teenager in you penned a stunning poem! You must have been much wiser than your years. Shakespeare would have certainly been impressed by your use of iambic pentameter. Superb. xo

    Sweet tit โ€” a true athlete?

  13. I enjoyed your poetry greatly, and how cool is that–to see the same words in two forms. I should try that out. Also it is fun to see the page typed on a typewriter, as I have reams of from when I first started typing them out. They looked much the same.

    Curious, how these birds eat in a new place, much like I do, when I eat in public, looking about. Also, shufti is a new word for me.

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