Wednesday, 24 September 2014

Ode to the Brent Geese...

And now for something completely different....
One of our ring-readers, Lindsay Hodges, has written the poem below, and I think that you, too, will find it worth circulating here. It describes her recent visit to Lough Foyle, on the north coast, when she came across a late wheatear in the presence of a big flock of recently arrived geese...

On the clear, grey runway of the Lough
Brent Geese are landing –
their ailerons of feathers open as they slow,
flaps of feet prepared for touchdown,
pale bellies bumping water like a skimming stone.
One skein after another draws itself to here
for the eel-grass, for the ambience,
their sound the hum of airport passengers
waiting for their luggage, greeting relatives,
ready for their holidays, homecoming.
Is this what the Wheatear has been waiting for –
the lingerer, the one who should be gone,
flying solo all the way to Africa?
Did she simply want to witness this,
the spectacle of camaraderie, thrill of arrival.
Is she watching Anatidae in the first class lounge,
beak pressed sharp against the glass,
trying to imagine what it’s like to stay for winter,
not travel on her own,
not be the only one.


  1. You seldom encounter poetry with such qualities from naturalists; there is an interesting or even: touching contrast between nature and phenomena belonging to human culture, and the wheatear acts as a deputy for the writing subject. One point to Graham as well, for bringing it to our notice.

    Christer Persson

  2. Hopefully we will see a few poems emerging from South Dublin, Christer, on your migration back there from Sweden!!

  3. Such a Superb Poem, it give me goosebumps reading it, i was so thrilled and delighted to be there also to witness it all.