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Friday, 16 October 2015

hawks, toads and biscuits

Last week we had the launch of my new book The Dog, Ray. This is a very special book to me - I wrote it quite a few years ago and at the time no publisher wanted it except the Chinese and a publisher in Taiwan. This is, I believe, because they believe in re-incarnation. But Ray's time has come and Hot Key books have done her proud.

 Beezle did me proud too. The book is his really, he let me into the ways of dogs and was the inspiration for the story and he came to the launch and followed me up to the stage and lay at my feet the whole time I talked and read from the book. (That's me reading from the book - not Beezle though he could have done if he'd wanted to of course. I did ask him but he'd forgotten his glasses.) He's thirteen now which I think is about ninety one. Actually what he really needs is an ear trumpet. He can't even hear the sound of the chews box being opened, unlike Pixie who gallops over in a flash. What a star he was though. (and still is of course.)

We made masses of biscuits in his honour and have only just finished eating the ones that were left over. The book was published on October 1st and I suppose it's out there in the book shops but it's such a strange thing when you have a book published because you don't really know what happens to it. Will anyone review it? Will anyone like it? Will anyone read it? I'll be doing a book signing in the Salisbury Waterstones next Saturday 24th october between 12-2 so if anyone is around please come and say hello. (and buy the book if you can stretch to it)Beezle will be there too. We'll both be signing but not if Beezle forgets his pen.

 In my last post I mentioned not putting up a picture of a toad I'd found swimming in the dog's water bowl recently so here it is along with another toad who was sitting on the water metre when I came to read it.

As Beezle and Shakespeare would say " Sweet are the uses of adversity which, like toad, ugly and venomous, wears a precious jewel in his head."

If you didn't see the post before last I'm putting up the picture of the sea eagle again. As I'd said, in Ireland recently we had the good fortune to see a sea eagle in the wild - it was sitting in a tree overlooking a lake and it is only thanks to an amazing lens on a very small and basic pocket camera that we can see the details so well. To our naked eye it looked like a huge post sitting high up on a branch. They are huge.

Back in England we went to a steam fair and saw a display of eagles and hawks. This is a sea eagle too - they have a massive wing span. One of the hawks - a goss hawk - decided it would fly off for a while and soar in the thermals above the trees. Two wild red kites flew over head, watching the hawk, it was a wonderful sight. The hawks owner seemed unfazed but told us the reason he didn't fly golden eagles was because they were prone to picking up little dogs in the crowd. I'd like to have seen it pick Pixie up.

On a horticultural note the dahlias are still flowering well and these gorgeous gladioli called Plum Tart.


Mary Oliver

This morning
the hawk
rose up
out of the meadow's browse

and swung over the lake -
it settled
on the small black dome
of a dead pine,

alert as an admiral,
its profile
distinguished with sideburns
the colour of smoke,

and I said: remember
this is not something
of the red fire, this is heaven's fistful

of death and destruction,
and the hawk hooked
one exquisite foot
onto a last twig

to look deeper
into the yellow reeds
along the edges of the water
and I said: remember

the tree, the cave,
the white lily of resurrection,
and that's when it simply lifted
its golden feet and floated

into the wind, belly-first,
and then it cruised along the lake -
all the time its eyes fastened
harder than love on some

unimportant rustling in the
yellow reeds - and then it
seemed to crouch high in the air, and then it
turned into a white blade, which fell.

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