Red Squirrel, Red Kite

Bank holidays remind me of my dad: sleeping late then driving out mid-afternoon, scorning the queues by the B&Q roundabout and escaping somewhere. Pagham, Fishbourne, Brighton, Rottingdean, Selsey, Arundel….there was always one place open where we stopped for tea and lemon meringue pie. We’d go back around dusk to catch Oddbins and Blockbuster. Magical times only reveal themselves once they have passed. I suppose that’s the tragedy. My ignorance was not that I didn’t value these experiences, but that I thought they would last. I never imagined this was only a precious handful of years.

We’ve had a good bank holiday weekend with a steep climb up to the top of the waterfall in Buttermere on Saturday. An agile red squirrel was doing death defying jumps between spindly branches. This was followed by two good films (for very different reasons) – A Dog’s Purpose and Nocturnal Animals. I caught up on politics (dreadful, dreadful) and today we went to Eskdale and walked up a secluded path through the forest. The trees were full of birds – one so lively and insistent in its calling we waited for ages to see if it would reveal itself. If didn’t. The woods were a mix of old redwoods, oaks, sycamore and beech trees. A red kite was riding the thermals and we watched it for a long time. There was a real sense of peace that comes from being distanced from the human world.

I’ve written my first review for Mslexia this weekend on Grace Nichol’s The Insomnia Poems. I was pleased they sent me this one to review as I have a lot of experience in the field of insomnia! I hope I did it justice. I wrote a poem tonight, it just came out whole as poems very seldom do. I don’t think I’ll revise it much but that might change when I see it in the cold light of day.

I loved the poem Unlocking the Incredible Power of Small Stones by John Foy. It’s in the recent edition of The Dark Horse. I found it witty and refreshing as an idea – a collection of ‘book titles’ such as “the wisdom of the unemployed”, “a few drinks after church – Jesus and gin”, “Cognitive behavioural therapy for Bolivians” and “How to get along with others in a federal penitentiary” . An excellent poem that reminded me that laughter and poetry are not mutually exclusive. I’m going to get on with reading by book about the 1665/66 plague now. Gripping enough to distract me from thoughts of what’s looming tomorrow.

Author: kittydonnellypoet

Kitty Donnelly was born in Oxford in 1979. Her mother was born in Cumbria, of Irish origin, and her father was born in Newry, Northern Ireland. She has lived in London, Cumbria, Swansea and Chichester. She had poems published in Acumen in 2005, as well as being long and short-listed for several poetry competitions. She was also published in The Samaritan's Anthology and by The Forward Press. In 2007, she took a long break from submitting poems after having her daughter. In 2016, she has been Commended in the Southport Writer's Circle Poetry Competition, long-listed for the Canterbury University Poet of the Year 2016 and has had work accepted for publication in The Dawntreader. She currently lives in Cumbria where she works as a psychiatric nurse.

2 thoughts on “Red Squirrel, Red Kite”

  1. You look like very much like your father. Especially with your long black hair. That’s how I remember him you see, with long black hair. But that was a long time ago nearly 50 years I think. He lives on in you.

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