Saturday, 22 November 2008

Rooks - in the Wiltshire landscape

Rooks - field foraging

Rooks in a field out near Tan Hill in Wiltshire today - just before a shower of freezing rain blew over.
Although part of the crow family, they are distinguishable from them by their bare greyish-white face and thinner pale beak. Rooks are rarely spotted alone, they roost in flocks in the winter (see link). Mainly seen in open fields, they largely keep clear of towns and cities.

Rooks on a telegraph wire near the village of East Kennet (taken in September this year)
There where the rusty iron lies,
The rooks are cawing all the day.
Perhaps no man, until he dies,
Will understand them, what they say.
The evening makes the sky like clay,
The slow wind waits for night to rise
The world is half content. But they
Still trouble all the trees with cries,
That know, and cannot put away,
The yearning to the soul that flies
From day to night, from night to day.
Charles Sorley (1895-1915)
Charles Sorley wrote much of his poetry while attending Marlborough College. He was killed in WWI at the age of 20 and is also highly regarded as a war poet. The above poem was published in 1916 a year after Charles Sorley's death, I do not know if it was written from a quiet Wiltshire landscape or a bleak war zone. Where ever it was written, it has the still-quiet quality of melancholy and reflection.