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james mcgonigal
Poet  •  Critic

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       The Camphill Wren

For days I’ve come back to the wren
that takes flight from my doorstep
or fossicks in honeysuckle for spiders.
Tonight it escapes me again
to merge with dead leaves in the hedgefoot.

‘Ah,’ my ornithological Irish friend
concurs, expert in fauna and verses,
‘The wren is not an easy bird to start
a poem on.’ Its wing-beats
sweep the doorstep empty as a heart.

As I stepped out one summer morning
with thoughts of our grandchild awake in France,
a spool unravelled just at the height
of this hand where she fed beforewrens
part from honeysuckle as carelessly as that,

each having taken its fill and turned
small as a leaf in the dry hedgefoot.
Once-in-a-decade sightings
made me think that the wren was declining—
But no, Gerry says: only for years I’ve had my eye
                                                  on other things
.

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