I love to see the old heath’s withered brake by Robert Sheppard

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



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

web: www.robertsheppard.weebly.com

%d bloggers like this: