Sunday, 16 April 2017


Dear Reader,

                                                                                 Peter Rabbit and the Robin

                                                                          Mr McGregor in his garden

I was so put in mind of Mr McGregor, Peter Rabbit and the Robin, all characters in a wonderful book written by Beatrix Potter, on Thursday last week.  Alan, a friend, had come to help in the garden as I am hopeless in this department.  Well, in fact I know nothing about gardening, and even less about which plant to put where, or how to dig in mulch, or anything else that needs to be known about gardens for that matter.  But mulch is, apparently, the soil that plants like and thrive in.  Alan, who was mulching the borders, loves birds, and our garden robin must have known that because he followed him about, sometimes pecking for something and sometimes just watching.  Later, when Alan was having a mug of tea at the garden table, the robin joined him, perching on the empty chair.

Robins are the British people's favourite bird, with its bright red breast, and it is familiar throughout the year, especially at Christmas.  Males and females look identical, but the younger bird has not got  a red breast and is spotted with golden brown.  Robins sing nearly all the year round, and despite their lovely appearance they are aggressively territorial and quick to get into a fight.  In the 15th century, when it was popular to give human names to familiar species, the bird became known as 'robin redbreast', which was eventually shortened to robin.

An old British folktale seeks to explain the robin's distinctive breast.  Legend has it that when Jesus was dying on the cross, the robin, then brown in colour, flew to his side comforting Him with his song.  The blood from His wounds stained the robin's breast, and thereafter all robins had the mark of Christ's blood on them. 


As dawn breaks Afia and Tamika
place their pitcher pots
on their heads,
start walking to Potura
many desert miles from home.
The sun scorches, the heat intense,
the girls silent.
Many hours later
at the waterhole
they carefully fill their pots
each drop of water precious.
Wearily they walk home
under a sky full of stars.

I brush my teeth
watch the clear water
stream  into the basin,
turn on the dishwater,
the washing machine,
see rain pouring down drains.


With best wishes, and A Happy Easter to you all,

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

A very happy Easter to you too Patricia and thank you for your very poignant post on the robin and even more poignant poem. Wonderful. Xx