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Call of the Cuckoo


Call of the Cuckoo - Richard Jefferies Reimagined #8

Have you heard a Cuckoo this year ...

[…]“‘There's the cuckoo!’ Everyone looked up and listened as the notes came indoors from the copse by the garden. He had returned to the same spot for the fourth time. The tallest birch-tree—it is as tall as an elm—stands close to the hedge, about three parts of the way up it, and it is just round there that the cuckoo generally sings. From the garden gate it is only a hundred yards to this tree, walking beside the hedge which extends all the way, so that the very first time the cuckoo calls upon his arrival he is certain to be heard. His voice travels that little distance with ease, and can be heard in every room.”[…]

The Hills and the Vale (1909)

sunshine filling every room the cuckoo’s call 

Artist Credit

The featured image of a Cuckoo is from an original watercolour (1976) by Basil Ede. A short biography can be found here ...

Artists Inspired by Nature – Basil Ede

Audio Credit

The recording by Stanislas Wroza is used here under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 license. This and many more can be found at - Xeno-Canto a website dedicated to sharing bird sounds from all over the world.


The one-line haiku was first published in Presence Issue 68

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Josie Holford
May 10, 2021 11:41 pm

We don’t get the cuckoo here so how lovely to be reminded of the sound. And of course what it signified: summer is coming.

And for me, it reminds me of all that as well as the parodies of the letters to the Times about the first cuckoo that appeared on the Wipers Times about the first cuckoos on the Western Front in WW1.

May 10, 2021 11:50 pm

When I read that you had the sound of a cuckoo, I had something else in mind. I’ve been living with a cuckoo now for 46 years! 🤭🤭

Clare Pooley
Clare Pooley
May 11, 2021 3:10 am

There was a cuckoo heard regularly near us last year for the first time in ages! Unfortunately, I didn’t hear it! I hope for better luck this year.

May 11, 2021 10:06 am

I wish we could expect the arrival of the cuckoo each year but sadly not. I’ve not heard one since arriving in Cornwall 5 years ago and only once in our previous abode. I remember when to hear the cuckoo was an annual event.

May 11, 2021 11:59 am

I haven’t heard a cuckoo in years! Great verse!

Reply to  Clive Bennett
May 12, 2021 10:37 am

🙏 🙏

May 11, 2021 5:15 pm

Oh, the haiku! I love it!

Andrea Stephenson
May 17, 2021 7:58 pm

I don’t recall ever hearing a cuckoo but it must be an evocative sound.

May 18, 2021 12:40 pm

[…] This summer hokku was composed by Clive Bennett. […]

May 18, 2021 12:52 pm

Enjoyed every part of this fascinating post, Clive! Thanks, for the transplant…getting to be quite a Garden!

Richard Sutton
May 21, 2021 10:49 am

My son heard a cuckoo in the New Forest a few weeks ago. So there are a few left! I’ve heard no other reports of them this year. So sad that this lovely haunting call is now little more than a past memory for most of us.

Lesley Scoble
May 21, 2021 5:20 pm

I haven’t heard the call of the cuckoo since 11 May 2019 (I noted the date because I was so excited to hear it). I’m worried about their numbers.
I live in the City of London so that may have something to do with my not hearing them often…

June 16, 2021 6:46 pm

This blog is so beautiful..glad to find it, arts are breathtaking. 🙏💞