Christ passes a Baker’s shop, smells new bread,
says to disciples, “Fetch us a loaf.”
The Baker says,
“Thas nowt for free here.
Get him to miracle up his own.”
But Baker’s wife and six daughters
secretly stuff couple of loaves
in the disciples’ bags.
For this Christ sets them
in spring sky as Seven Stars.
He makes the Baker a cuckoo;
the Dusty Miller,
who so long as he sings in spring,
St. Turibuis Day to St. John’s,
can see his bright wife and daughters
warm the night.
Me mam dies as she gives birth to sis and me.
Our new mam murders us.
Feeds our cooked sinew and muscle to our dad,
separates heart and bones,
crams rest beneath gables of our home.
Buries our heart and bones
in a hole in a tree that coddles us.
Our bones lock our refreshed hearts
in a new cage, so we fledge in dusty grey feathers.
We fly to the local Miller’s,
pick up a millstone in our strong beaks,
let it fall as we fly over our new mam
whose blood and bones grind beneath its weight.
After my sis and I disappear,
Christ knocks on Dad’s door.
Says, “I’m parched mate,
can tha spare a drop of thee water.”
Our Dad brings stranger
a cup of fresh water.
As he sups, Christ says:
“Tha looks badly, cocker.
What’s up with thee?”
Our Dad says,
“Me kids are no where to be seen.
Pain right here says they’re both dead.
I miss them summat chronic.”
“Aye, it’s a bad going on.
Perhaps, next spring from east gables of this place
tha’ll see summat to buck thee up.”
Come April Dad hears a flap and flutter
from east gables and sees
a cuckoo and a swallow,
and he smiles.
Grey dusty cuckoo
The first time you hear the cuckoo in spring, ask him:
“Cuckoo, baker’s-man, true answer give, How many years have I to live?” And as many times as he sings, so many years more will you live.