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Bristol , United Kingdom
I'm co-director of the Leaping Word Poetry Consultancy, which provides advice for poets on writing, editing and publishing, as well as qualified counselling support for those exploring personal issues in their work - https://theleapingword.com. My fifth poetry collection, Learning Finity, is now available from Indigo Dreams or directly from me.

Friday 21 March 2014

A Crown of Sonnets for World Poetry Day 2014

I've been so busy distributing brochures for the Bristol Spring Poetry Festival next month - have I mentioned that before, the Spring Festival? - that I missed until now the fact that it's World Poetry Day.  Never mind, here is a Feather Crown.

Seven Feathers


Scattering sparks, glints of glass,
it scalpels down through solid light,
freeing lethal, sharp-edged feathers
of every colour that is black –
crackle of witchery, guilt-edged
misery, thunder, mussel shells, the cavern
that is absence

Watcher, jagged scavenger, dark harbinger,
the idea of raven

arranging pieces into claw, beak, sinew, eye
fused to horizon,
melting from the blazing sun,
emerging glossed, wing feathers
fingering bright air


Wing feathers fingering air, a quick
flickering in woods
Black or white, day or night,
it’s not that simple

Somewhere a river’s running backwards,
pebbles, stones are treading water,
flowers open on the coldest day of winter
so don’t spit rituals, mutter rhymes 
to make me safe, unwind bad luck 
Don’t read meaning into chance configuration

I don’t take jewels, the fairsies’ gold
I whet the silver’s sickle edge,
the half light of the half dark moon,
a stealing shadow


Steely shadows, colour of doubt,
pinned to the ridge tiles of the house
by silver eyes that do not blink

What makes you think, this time,
things will be any different?
Your feathers rags, your ageing bones
too thin, too frail to hold you high,
lift you clear

yet still they launch themselves on air,
urgent pairs of clattering jackdaws,
skilled practitioners of chance
and how to take it

their chackles words of love
hurled against the dusk

Rooky Wood

Hurled against dusk,
    the big bang. Oh, it starts quietly enough –
            handfuls of rooks, cartwheeling stars,
                        shining a path, beating the drum
              of coming night
              this strident tide of dark matter,
     haphazard galaxies
caught in its rip,
                  conjured from nothing
                       a black-tailed comet of raucous calling

                           a falling
                  down through failing light
          pulled by the wood, its need
                           to leaf the bare-boned trees


Leave these trees, night-watch rooks,
pack your black suitcases and go
sling your hook!  Bare branches need us.
We jays are ornament enough,
dressed in daybreak’s
rosy cloud, cerulean blue,
more celestial than the leaves
that startle grass

Treetop Puccinis,
we copy winter’s frosty opera –  
banshee gales, sexed-up foxes,
wind on stone

If you rooks will not be told,
we’ll sing you gone


Everyone wants them gone
somebody said they wire them up
let’s face it, they’re nasty
and it’s their screaming
they’ll eat anything, even road kill
that keeps the other crows away and
they’ll peck anything, attack anything
they’re left to hang till they’re

dead black wings
sails spread against mourning


Sails spread against morning,
chancing the breaking spray of light,
a couple of choughs, pioneer lovers
seeking haven, their new court,
dreams of a dormant people
feathering their shoulders

The old ones knew the truth
A man with no tongue
will lose his land

so map our granite, tells its edges,
jig these clifftops
in your scarlet dancing boots,
lit firesticks blazing in your beaks,
scattering sparks

'Seven Feathers' will be published in the poetry magazine Sarasvati anon.  

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