I drove from Greenhills to my parents’ home in New Plymouth a few days ago, pausing at my uncle’s place to collect some quinces. My uncle’s tree is recently planted, as these things go, and in its third year, it has given 30 pieces of gold. He gave me eight to take to my mother. Their fragrance is mellow; they smell of autumn and golden.
My uncle is a man who notices things, with quiet rejoicing. He listens for the first shining cuckoo each year, and sees where the clematis is blooming in spring. He tracks the growth of trees, and smiles when he hears the riroriro singing in the gully behind his home. He makes me think of Thomas Hardy’s poem, “Afterwards“, but more especially of Harvey McQueen’s lovely poem, “Thomas Hardy“.
I notice how finches delicately
bend the dandelion stalks to get at the seeds.
I notice how the cat sniffs the air
before she ventures outside….
I first read Harvey’s poem when I attended his memorial service in January, and I’ve read it often since, thinking of Harvey, who noticed things. I think he would have rejoiced in these golden quinces too. I’ve missed reading his blog this year, hearing his voice and sharing in his noticings. He made me stop and look again at the small beauties, and the large ones, as the seasons turn again.
As does my uncle. I don’t think he writes poetry, but I do know that he too, is a man who notices things, and reminds me to notice in my turn.
If you haven’t read Harvey’s poem, it’s on-line at his blog, Stoatspring – “Thomas Hardy“.