Afloat on birdsong, hawthorn petals and young leaves
Sept. 26, 2021

Call of Wild Geese

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These are the mornings of mist that ring with the call of geese. What is it about catching sight of the flight of geese and hearing their wind-borne calls that evokes such  feelings restless longing and yearning within us? And yearning for what? We listen to the words of Wendell Berry, BB, David Whyte and Mary Oliver to find ways to capture those powerful emotions. 

Journal entry:

“24th September, Friday

A tangle of Victorian girders
 Russet brown; a lacy filigree 
 of metal, rivets, and musty glass. 

Anti-pigeon spikes 
Repel the reality in which we live.
 Willowherb smoke, rusty sidings, 
Bramble fountains – barbed and irrepressible. 

The sharp-edged wings of a gull, 
Outstretched, cruciform, alive.
 And my spirit rises with it, 
Soaring into the sunlight above the grime-streaked glass.”              

Episode Information

In this episode I discuss some of the ‘Little Grey Men’ books of the author BB (Denys Watkins-Pitchford). They are:

BB (1942) Little Grey Men reissued (2012) by Oxford University Press. 

BB (1948) Down the Bright Stream (later published as The Little Grey Men go Down the Bright Stream) also reissued (2001) by Oxford University Press. 

I also refer to Edward A Armstrong's (1958) The Folklore of Birds (Collins New Naturalist Library 39) published by Collins. 

Wendell Berry’s poem ‘Listen!’ can be found in his (2018) volume, The Peace of Wild Things published by Penguin Books. 

David Whyte’s poem ‘The Journey’ has a number of publications but can be read in his (2018) David Whyte: Essentials published by Many Rivers Press. You can watch him talk about it and recite it here: The Journey

The two poems by Mary Oliver ‘Snow Geese’ and ‘Wild Geese’ are collected in her (2004) Wild Geese: Selected poems. Published by Blood Axe. 

General Details

In the intro and the outro, Saint-Saen's The Swan is performed by Karr and Bernstein (1961) and available on CC at

Two-stroke narrowboat engine recorded by 'James2nd' on the River weaver, Cheshire. Uploaded on 23rd June 2018. Creative Commons Licence. 

Piano interludes composed and performed by Helen Ingram.

All other audio recorded on site. 

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