a small grey bird has begun to visit
he pokes his little beak
over the white timber frame
at the bottom of my sitting room door
most days he stops by
just for a moment
pecks on the glass to get my attention
then waddles across the deck
his delicate birdie feet
clicking softly on the weathered timber         
birds bring me comfort – consolation
a few days after the death of my son
I crumpled keening in the garage
I could not find a sketch he had drawn
a small black bird with an orange beak
stood in the doorway watching me
unafraid of my shrieking
as I foraged manically
through the remnants of a life that ended too soon
each year on the anniversary of our son’s death
my husband and I would take a bottle of French champagne
to Squeaky Beach on Wilsons Prom
where we had scattered his ashes
we laughed – cried
shared stories of our boy
as we sipped his favourite bubbly
and each year on the almost deserted winter beach
a little black bird with an orange beak
would leave little birdie footprints in the sand
as he wandered between us and the ocean
on the morning after my husband’s death
unable to sleep
I stumbled through the sand at Half Moon Bay
searching for solace in the coming of dawn
as black turned to grey I heard birdsong
I looked toward the sound
and saw two black birds
soaring together
dipping and diving as day began
the new bird in my life
brings with him peace
a sense that soon
it will be my turn to soar
Tricia 04/2011


About triciabertram

I have written all my life. Writing helps me to make sense of a world I often don’t understand. Poetry is my supreme solace, closely followed by literature and music. When my son ended his life in 1999 I embarked on the most difficult journey of my life, my grief journey. To survive in this unknown, harsh landscape I had to write. It was for me, the only way I could even begin to move forward. Then in 2009 my darling husband died suddenly and so my journey continues. I write about other issues but because of my life experience, grief and death are continuing themes in my writing life. In our culture I believe there is a fear of death, an inability to accept the inevitability of our mortality, and this creates enormous difficulties for the bereaved and those around them. I have begun this blog in the hope I will create a small ripple in the pond of fear that is currently drowning the reality of death and grief. I will continue to skim the stones of my truth, watch them bounce, and see how many ripples I can make.

Posted on January 27, 2012, in Poems and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 14 Comments.

  1. This is just magnificent, Tricia. Achingly beautiful. Debra

  2. Very well written Tricia, I must find that last line somewhat troubling.

  3. Beautiful and clearly heart-felt poem.

    I find it strange how, now that I am taling time to observe and listen, birds play a more significant part in my daily life.

    I have a bird-feeder on the balcony outside my bedroom – it is visited daily by a family of blue tits – They never fail to make me smile when they visit.

    And I shall visit Whitby soon in order to speak again with the herring gulls 🙂


    • David I’m so pleased to discover someone else who speaks to birds. Somewhere I have a piece of prose titled The Fog, The Duck, the Willy Wagtail and Me, i must search it out and post it. I think you may enjoy it.

  4. ‘taking’ not ‘taling’



  5. A very moving piece Tricia; I could “feel” it all the way through.

    We have a great deal to thank the birds for, not least their beautiful (mostly!) song.

    And it is good, too, to see that they bring you some peace.

    Love and hugs

    Christine xx

    • These days Christine I talk to birds as one would a gurgling baby, and they turn their tiny birdie heads as if trying to understand me. They often sit on the fence outside my study window and sing away, flashing their tail feathers at me. I sometimes wave or blow them a kiss. It’s wonderful to have reached the age of not giving a rats arse about what people may think.
      hugs across the oceans

  6. This is powerful poetry, Tricia. I am not sure how much it helps to write about our sons, or your husband, that died too young, but I, like you, feel a deep need to express in words the experience, hoping, I guess, to somehow keep memories fresh and vibrant. The birds as a source of solace in this poem are a powerful metaphor for life to me. They provide a link from memories to the world of nature to your spirit caught in mourning and grief. They reaffirm that you are alive in spite of the moments that wring you deep in your heart. I am not totally sure of the last stanza. I suspect is shatters into a kaleidoscope of meaning: One being someone new in your life (we can hope), one being life as metaphor, which is indicated earlier in the poem, and one could be literal, a new bird, a new feathered friend. I hope you do soar into health and some measure of peace in what can be a difficult world.

    • Thomas I write to learn about the things I know but don’t know that I know. Sometimes what I think a poem means changes with time. When I first wrote this, the last stanza was, I thought, about the end of my life, but I find I was wrong. I have found peace in my grief, and my life as it is now.

      There is no one new in my life. As far as a partner goes having known the best I have no interest in the rest. I refuse to refer to myself as a widow, I will not let death define me, and I will be married to my Rod until I die.

      For me my son and husband live on in my memories and my writing, and when I share my words with others their stories continue. I love it when you share your son’s work, and your stories of him, it gives me the opportunity to know a little of the special man who is your son.

      These days I soar in the writing of my poetry, and the loving care of my extended family and my wonderful friends.

      Warm thoughts to yourself and Ethel

  7. Wonderful poetry. your reaching is magnificent Ethel

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