from (Un)threading Clare: part of British Standards: book three of The English Strain I love to see the old heath’s withered brake In this poem, I force myself out of doors, face the heron flapping across Greenbank lake – it tips bold wing over long-legged arrest, alights amid a squad of cormorants that shuffles aside oily wings in silent grudge. On the fallen ash stump, a robin poses, without sharp trill, all life in its eye – out of the generation that love-struck Audubon sketched here, snatched in a line’s quick fling. Stranger birds, screeching parakeets, hide or are hidden, in a communal flip and rip atop the old holly tree; its unhorned leaves, grown smooth and unberried, shake – not a flash of yellow-green flitting, just migrant voices under the poem’s hood. (i.m. Christopher Middleton) 16th December 2020
Robert Sheppard is author of many volumes of poetry and criticism, including recent volumes The English Strain (Shearsman) and Bad Idea (Knives Forks and Spoons), which are the first two parts of a trilogy of ‘transpositions’ of traditional sonnets. Shearsman also publish his selected poems, History or Sleep, and a book of essays on his work, The Robert Sheppard Companion, edited by James Byrne and Christopher Madden. He is emeritus professor of Poetry and Poetics at Edge Hill University, and blogs at www.robertsheppard.blogspot.com .
My links; blog: www.robertsheppard.blogspot.com