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June Kingsbury

 

I am nearly three years old. My father is carrying me on his shoulders down to the river to feed the swans.  I walk part of the way and fill my pockets with banded snails, Cepaea Hortensis.  Feathers.  Small treasures.

My father was for a time a shepherd. We learn the names of the trees, of the flowers and birds. My mother collected the broken glass from church windows, my grandfather a glassblower in the Netherlands.

I am half Dutch. Stories of war and of loss. I am half English, trout swimming, birds singing, summer green and endless, leaves falling in autumn.

In my pocket, a leaf, the brilliant iridescent blue banded feather of a jay.

These are the stories that make up my life.

In my hands a memory. On the table an accumulation of small treasures. Poetry stones of clay, creatures of the forest, antlers, a wren. Windows of brilliant cast glass - colour, diamonds of light. By my side my granddaughter, small stones, a leaf, a feather