A Flight Away

A Flight Away


Once again the bird song changed;

curlew is company for dusk and dawn,

while screaming geese murder

each other on the estuary.


In an earlier time

bright summer nights, nylon nighties

and wood-pigeons in the big oak

made home.


In adolescence – too busy learning

for listening to birds –

the years spent in those songless spires

are gone silent now.


Then the first baby’s cry,

deep-purple skin transformed to joyous pink.

I held my little-bird and was

sweetened by her song.


Together we migrated to the Shaky Isles,

where birds were master-kings

until rat, ferret, cat and man

ate them up for lunch.


Nothing was so acute a blow

on tender home-sickness

as a tui trilling

over the bush.


Yet there’d be no soft-hearted

remembrance without these breakages

and relocations

or that feeling

when landing

back on the shore.




Gabrielle Barnby, June 2013



Gabrielle Barnby