A Cuckoo: Heard But Not Seen

Poet Keats’ favorite walk was beside the banks of the River Itchen.  I can certainly resonate with that because it is also my favorite walk; hence I write about it a lot and walk beside it frequently.  Every day, every week there is something different to see……and hear. Be it rippling water creating shimmering effects. Or when calm and still, photographic images of trees looking as though turned upside down would be challenging to tell the difference.

For William Wordsworth’s poem, a lake rather than a river was his preference for his most famous poem:

‘I wandered lonely as a cloud’.
‘Beside the lake beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing beneath the breeze…….’

He also wrote poems featuring birds. Hence ‘To a Skylark’. A favorite of mine.

‘Ethereal minstrel! pilgrim of the sky!
Dost thou despise the earth where care abound!’

Close to the Itchen, woodland with exceptionally tall trees enhances an already beautiful landscape. A cuckoo was voicing  its distinct call seemingly coming from uppermost branches, but impossible to tell precisely where its unique sounds were coming from.  Illusive, playing games with humans in the full knowledge that a cuckoo can but be heard and not seen,

An example of Wordsworth’s amazing words:


‘To seek thee did I often rove
Through woods and on the green;
And thou wert still a hope, a love;
Still longed for, never seen!’

An invisible element. The sound was clear as if this elusive fellow were sitting on a nearby fence.

When strolling around woodland near the Itchen, many sounds greet the senses but unlike a cuckoo, visible presences are to be seen.

However, the ones not ‘talking’ loudly to each other are swans. Their regal majesties not requiring the need for other species (as with ducks; quack quack quack) to hear what they are saying and apart from their impressive forms, remain calm and quiet….unless their signets are in danger.  Then the hissing and threat of wide wings protect their offspring will visit an intruder.

Hearing a cuckoo for the first time is a surprising and extraordinary experience. But is it a bird?  Freeing the Imagination towards fantasy, perhaps cuckoos in a physical form do not exist but their place in the Universe reserved for entities of sound, created to generate curiosity; and frustration for those humans longing for a sighting.

‘Cloud cuckoo land’.  A fantasy land where fairies and angels hover around exchanging comments about invisible beings that they can see but mortals cannot. Perhaps engaging in conversation. Or flying with a cuckoo to places unknown, helping it choose a location where……….it can be heard but not seen.


Simon Lever
Simon Lever
Prior to his retirement, Simon engaged in software and services sector search and recruitment for American companies around Europe. He has retained the enjoyment of engaging with people from other countries and cultures. His energies are now directed towards voluntary community activities, journaling, and exhibition stewardship. He is a Featured Contributor for BizCatalyst 360°. As an Exhibition Steward, at the 1000-year-old Winchester Cathedral, he is responsible for guiding visitors from the world over, around the award-winning 'Kings and Scribes Exhibition', which includes the 900-year-old Winchester Bible. The exhibition introduces visitors to Winchester's historical significance as a former capital of England. Simon's journaling activities are published on BizCatalyst 360° and accompanying posts on LinkedIn, He acknowledges the inspiration afforded him by Carol Campos of Massachusetts: Life Strategist, Writer, and Intuitive Business Leader who introduced him to writing with feeling; from the heart. Simon's forté is creative writing; the accent on the natural environment, transforming feelings, emotions, sights, sounds, and scents of Mother Nature's landscape; hills and rivers and woodland into words, transporting the reader to the locations. Essays include accounts of his life in former days. Instinctively writing in such a spontaneous manner, descriptions become life-like. His often emotionally charged writing, whether describing a surreal 'Son et Lumière' at the Grand Place in Brussels to experiences acquired during European business travel. Journaling and Exhibition Steward activities are his key sources of inspiration and creativity. Kindness is ever more important, where he is a promoter of Shelly Elsliger PPCC's 'Decide to be Kind' Campaign. Simon champions Positivity, Empathy, and Kindness and has been described as a 'Beacon of Positivity'.

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  1. Dear Laura,

    Thank you so much for your comments, where it is clear we have the same synergy with Nature. I am about to go for a walk along the same pathways this morning, The sky is pure blue and the temperature a civilised 22c. On the way I shall stop and enjoy a double espresso (rocket fuel!) and some some soft orange sponge cake with dark chocolate covering the outside. Nature can be overlooked. I am so fortunate in living in England’s former capital city’ with beautiful rivers, downs, hills and pristine countryside, which I can never take for granted.

    Thank you again Laura my friend


  2. Dear Simon, What a delightful journey you’ve offered here-especially to the places where our eyes fail to see certain beings, creatures, even as our ears can hear their clear presence-and likely our bodies sense them moving through the trees-the cuckoos, the fairies, and maybe some gnomes…I absolutely love how you bring the natural world to life with your words and the ways you honor the words of other writers like Keats and Wordsworth. Thank you so much for sharing your gifts, your passion for the glorious natural world-those walks you take by the River Itchen. Ahhhhh. A respite. A sanctuary.

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