In the Orchard - Poems with Birds

A Report from the Border


In the Orchard is not so much a collection of poems about birds as a book of memories and rare moments in which a number of familiar birds have played a spark-like role in bringing poems about. They are chiefly lyrical in character and range in time from 'Resurrection' written over fifty years ago to recent poems like 'The Bully Thrush', but they are not ordered chronologically and shouldn't be associated with events in the poet's private life.

With etchings by Alan Turnbull



Black bird, black voice,
almost the shadow of a voice,
so kind to this tired summer sky,
a rim of night around it,
almost an echo of today,
all the days since that first
soft guttural disaster
gave us 'apple' and 'tree'
and all that transpired thereafter
in the city of the tongue.

Blackbird, so old, so young, still
happy to be stricken with a song
you can never choose away from.

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