Andrew Howdle is a retired teacher and educational consultant. He lives in Leeds, England. He studied literature at the Universities of Manchester and York. Poems have appeared in Ekphrastic Review, Impossible Archetype, Singapore Unbound, Nine Muses, and Lovejets (2019), an anthology of poems paying tribute to Walt Whitman. His poem, ‘A Letter from York’, which won the 2018 Singapore Unbound poetry competition, was nominated for the Hawker Prize.
The bridge’s vast arch is usually
A fermata hanging over silence —
Not a concert hall, as today, where two
Youths make its span echo profanities.
As I stand and strain to hear a blackbird
Pluck music from a distant sycamore,
An image of the virtuous White comes
Into view: head down, counting every
Charitable worm and hopeful emmet
As he ambles through Selborne’s Creation.
Keeping faith with all that he sees and hears,
He enters a mossed and echoing vale
Where a lively “polyglot” nymph listens
And dutifully imitates his words.
Rapt, he cocks his ear and calculates how
A jubilant dactyl echoes better
Than a heartsore spondee. He had a fine
Ear that served Nature and God equally.
As he makes haste slowly and progresses
From the mind’s eye, I too resume my walk
And leave lapwing quiff and hooded crow to
Capture a laughing, self-praising selfie.