Brown Dwarf Star by Deborah Harvey

Deborah Harvey’s poems have been widely published in magazines and anthologies, and broadcast on Radio 4’s Poetry Please. She has three poetry collections, Communion (2011), Map Reading for Beginners (2014), and Breadcrumbs (2016), all published by Indigo Dreams, while her historical novel, Dart, appeared under their Tamar Books imprint in 2013. Her fourth collection, The Shadow Factory, will be published in 2019. Deborah is co-director of The Leaping Word poetry consultancy.









Brown Dwarf Star


for CB


Marooned in your cupped hands

a juvenile starling


washed into our garden

on a tidal wave of fledglings

trying out their wings,

who mistook our patio door for air, crash-

landed on concrete


Stunned, eyes shut, she huddles

her feathers cut

from layers of grey-brown slate,

a globulet of blood

crimson in the ebbing sun


What’s the diminutive of little star?

starlingculus – starlingette

or brown dwarf star

too small, too weak, too dazed to shine?


I stroke her back

with the back of my finger,

she opens her eyes, closes her beak

sits in the cup of your lifted hands


your gentle, capable lifted hands


feeling the dusk beneath her pinions, her feet

gripping your palm till she’s steady                                                       


ready to fly     



Deborah Harvey