Echoes by Andrew Howdle



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 ReviewImpossible ArchetypeSingapore UnboundNine 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.


Andrew Howdle


Gilbert White