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last week, we had a strange, out of season bout of snow that sent all the spring birds mad. a confused Jackdaw found shelter under our chimney cap and unbeknownst to us, ended up falling down into the stove below, for all I heard was a strange noise that I couldn’t identify so forgot about. 

1

unit 1b

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2

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i

 

what is this?

this fertile holy scene

who is the architect?

who broke the neck of branches 

just for more to grow

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throughout my childhood, my mother often voiced her fears of rooks building a rookery in our village due to the constant foreboding caw they make, and how difficult it would be to live with that. an anecdote that I always found amusing, imagining rooks packing their suitcases and moving into the copper beeches a few houses down. 

fossilised

ii

there are fractures and coppices woven here

bridges and byways where things pass

where a child can creep inside a secret tunnel

that lies within a thicket of the land

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3

curtains hang, solid

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of soil and sediment

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they say, that once upon a time, somewhere in eastern europe lived a man with a nasty problem. he talked too much about other people. he could not help himself, for whenever he heard a story about somebody he knew and sometimes even about someone he did not know, he just had to tell his friends. the more he relished in the attention, the more he embellished the tales. (other than that, he was really a pleasant man).

 

                                                                but his stories hurt.

 

so, to teach him a lesson, another man asked if he had any feather pillows. the man scoffed and said ‘i am not poor’ and brought him one. the second man handed him a pair of scissors. ‘cut it open’. reluctantly the man obeyed. sending a cloud of feathers out into a vast churning mass in the wind. the second man waited for the feathers to disperse and settle. then asked him to collect every single feather to put back into the pillow. the man stared in shock. ‘that is impossible, you know I can’t do that'.

 

For which the second man nodded in a rather irritating way and said ‘that is what happens once a rumour leaves your mouth. flying on the wings of the wind, hurting as they go’.

4

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iii

someone ruined the blackbird's nest 

stole the eggs

who would do such a thing?

you watched

as she stepped into the hedgerow

dividing the copse

the corpse

her voice choked

who would do such a thing?

not an egg left

you looked at the thicket

that now veiled

the broken home

who would do such a thing?

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5

can you hear that?

rumours of skin

of life or death?

just over there

beneath the epidermis veneer

in the quiet damp?

 

retracted with time

you can see the gaunt decay

of empty skin untouched

forgotten, unseen

nocturnal

brings an intense silence
stunned, 
in the headlights

rest your legs

remain unseen

 

just over there

deep in the womb

this pliable mortal contour

with an inky fluorescence

life continues despite knowing of death

our own pale ritual

 

a fly on the wall

pressed to the glass

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disintegrating into a muted void

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6

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1      Corvus monedula - Jackdaw - Corvidae

2      Columba palumbus - Woodpigeon - Columbidae

3      Corvus frugilegus - Rook - Corvidae

4      a Jewish parable borrowed by Shoshannah Brombacher

5      Turdus merula - Blackbird - Turdidae

6      Pica pica - Magpie - Corvidae

All bird recordings borrowed from the British Library Sounds Archive, Early wildlife recordings, all recorded before 1940.