Here’s a Tanka prose from a while back. I thought it was time for a more relaxed posting. It’s tempting, after my recent reading of a book of poetry criticism, to write about the poem. But I won’t, because it won’t improve anything.
This was first published in Ribbons, in Winter 2023.
The Shadow of the Red Kite
Simon Wilson, Nottingham, UK
The autumn sun warms my back as we sit in the old stable yard. My wife outlines her plans for the day and I run my fingers over the grain in the silvery surface of the weathered tearoom table. Our tea and bara brith arrive. Translated from the Welsh, bara brith means speckled bread, referring to the dried fruit that is its most noticeable feature.
Three wasps also arrive. Two fly away as my wife flaps her hand at them, but one lands on the table and stalks my food. It hauls itself over the rim and begins to gorge on the juicy centre of a raisin. My wife tells me to chase it off but I don’t have the heart. It is September and soon it will die. I can spare a little dried fruit for a fellow struggler.
She breaks off the conversation and points over my shoulder. I turn to see the distinctive silhouette of a Red Kite overhead. When I was a child, it was a very rare bird in the UK, and survived only in Wales. I remember the combined thrill and disappointment I experienced on a family holiday when I was ten years old–the profile and the flash of red that denoted a kite, but at a distance so great I could hardly see it, and never quite believed I had seen one.
kites in the sky
and mist on the mountains
with you beside me
if this is all life is
it is enough