Curlew for Christopher : Peter Roberts


Your last email arrived with the curlews

the day of spud planting   late   the spuds

and the curlews   after the easterly blast

and I wished your message later still or never

only two or three months you said and I heard

a new acceptance in the way you phrased those words

colder than the spuds’ damp trenches

and the cooor-lee call shivered down my spine

wings folding like angels as they landed

in their water meadow nesting place

spearing me with spectral sounds to the moors

of childhood like spirits of springtime past

whilst the postcards from your migrations

to Baltic summers and the world’s lecture halls

were messengers from possible futures

so leaning into my digging I was held

in perfect balance between root and growth

though I didn’t know it or make the link

until I knew that you and perhaps one day

the curlew would be no more and my world

will be quite unkiltered without you both.