Sheena Blackhall

Gold Star - 6,611 Points (18/8/1947 / Aberdeen)

Dead Robin - Poem by Sheena Blackhall

The inadvertent fact of a robin
Carelessly snapping its back on a glass bus shelter
Is not a major tragedy of epic proportions.

Nevertheless, today there has been a death,
Two beautiful slender legs
Are crossed, a demure crucifix of twigs.
Tail feathers, folded away
Like ironed packing.

The small red body nestles in my hand
A cold flame
Fragile as an egg.

I do not want to bury it.
I do not want to draw earth's curtain over its closed face.
This delicate two-winged coffin.

I stroke and stroke the fiery breast
The light brown back
Turning it round and round like a roasting spit,
Regret its fading essences
Its lightness and its grace

Its softly thudding heartbeat
Has sunk without a trace
Into a sealed silence.

Over morning smells of toast and tea
I have read columns of obituaries
Black lists of names on thin cheap paper
My eyes dusted the dead as lightly as swatting a fly
But today one of the winged ones
Has tumbled from the sky
And I may stroke and stroke that small stilled throat
But cannot stir one feather with my gentling.

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Poem Submitted: Sunday, February 7, 2010

Poem Edited: Sunday, February 7, 2010

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