The poetry party revisited: Kin, by Deborah Harvey

The previous day I had managed to find and organise a date for us cousins to have our annual gathering – not until the autumn, but better late than not.

I was sitting finishing off the last knitting on the shawl, listening to R4.  The poetry programme came on (Poetry Please).  The introduction to the next poem made me laugh out loud – a reference to a phrase in the poem – ‘an argumentation of uncles and aunts’ – oh yes!  I recognise that.

The poem was new to me.  Kin, by Deborah Harvey, a poet who lives nearby in Bristol.

Another phrase resonant for me in connection with my family: ‘cacophonous cousins’.  Oh yes indeed.  We’re a noisy bunch when we get together.

2015-09-19 14.08.00

The poem uses the metaphor of ‘a parliament of starlings’ for a description of her family, and is a delight.  You can read it here on her website – I hope you will.

And what a lovely phrase – ‘a parliament of starlings’.  If you’ve ever listened to Yesterday in Parliament or PMs questions, you’ll understand why that phrase is so perfect (for good or bad).

How interesting that birds have such descriptive words associated with them.  Though I think ‘parliament’ is usually applied to rooks (and owls?).  The collective word for the image below is a murmuration of starlings.  And a very beautiful thing is it is to see*.



*the image here was taken by Malcolm at Ham Wall RSPB Reserve in Somerset early in 2015.  I wrote about it here.

About deborah @ the magic jug

Now I've passed 60 I'm still doing all sorts of things I haven't done before, as well as carrying on with the things I already love. I live a happy life with my long term love Malcolm. In my blog I explore local and low tech ideas, food, growing, making, reading, thinking, walking, and lots of other words ending in 'ing'.
This entry was posted in Community, Family, Nature, Poetry party, Reflections on life (and death), Seeing differently, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to The poetry party revisited: Kin, by Deborah Harvey

  1. What a lovely thing to still meet up with your cousins. I’m afraid I’m a lot better at catching up with friends than family. Have you come across the Danish word, Hygge? Although it is hard to translate into English I think family and friend gatherings, especially around a table with lots of food, drink and noise is a perfect description. Sounds like that explains your cousin meet ups too X


    • We were very close as children, and one of the uncle and aunts got us together again as adults and ‘handed over the baton’. We’ve kept it up ever since, and apart from enjoying each other’s company we’ve also found it a helpful support when things have been difficult with our respective parents for various reasons, and also through illnesses and a death.
      I know hygge very well, through our long friendship with our Danish friends, and love it. We try to build it into our lives every day.


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