Monday, 8 April 2019


On my recent trip to County Down , I fell asleep most nights to the rather grumpy serenade of rooks, who seemed to camp en-masse among the birches just outside the windows of the bautiful cottage I was staying in.  After a while, one got used to this nightly bantering, it was actually quite therapeutic, and my suggestion in the poem that the sound persisted all through the night is a slight exaggeration, but there was definitely a sense of something going on that was external to the human experience, like the evidence of another world, another community, going about its business while the human world was sleeping.


All through the night
they chuckle and croak,
clogging the birches,
clacking through the black

like pint-sized cows,
their throaty moos
ripple through the silence
as a winter midnight shivers
beneath the sooty hug
of hulking mountains,
outlines etched crow-black
against star-prickled sky.

From time to time
I'll see one,
hanging about in the late afternoon,
perched on a branch
with a twig clamped in its mouth,
straggler, raggedly gatheringcast-offs, scraps,
a sad mountebank,
a  happy goth,
or one of those lost looking, lonely souls
who know that life begins at night.

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