I listened to, and watched, skylarks at Corbridge on Sunday. Along by the River Tyne.
I set off with a sack of cares upon my back;
though the sunshine bathed my face with warmth;
and after spotting goosanders in the river
ended walking an inch above a sandy track.
I started out in bright sunshine
my mirror-mind besmirched with black.
My mood began to lift when I heard a tune:
a skylark singing a song I knew was mine.
My distant uncle heard the self-same sacred word
cut down in youth along with many men;
he answered another’s call but to his cost;
a soldier who sang about a wonder bird.
As I watched the dark envoy soar
I made a vow to John there and then:
to live my life in homage to his memory,
and to aspire to reach the other shore.