Claire Orchard

Early morning on the Sand-walk, Down House, March 1857

Praise be for fan-tailed pigeons, for flies
who lay their eggs in the navels of animals,
and every parasite that clings to life,

for red-grouse the colour of heather,
black-grouse that of peaty earth,
for the abundance of hair on the breast of the wild turkey,

the inherited peculiarities of the horns on cattle,
for tidal floods of starlings in massed tumblings
across winter skies, for the plumed seed that is wafted.

Praise be for brown beetles diving in streams,
for the wolf pack in snow,
hard pressed for food,

for upland geese with webbed feet
who seldom go near the water, for the beak
and tongue of the woodpecker,

for humble bees sucking at red clover blooms,
for each form, lightly chalked upon a wall,
divided into great branches, oddly perfect.

Author’s Note


Previous section.

Next section.