Feather and Shell by Steve Xerri



Steve Xerri : former teacher, musician & designer now engaged in poetry & pottery. Was Canterbury Festival Poet of the Year 2017. Published in Acumen, Amaryllis, Brittle Star, Clear Poetry, Envoi, Ink Sweat and Tears, The Interpreter’s House, The Poetry Shed, Poetry Society Newsletter (Members’ Poems), Proletarian Poetry and Stride Magazine


Feather and Shell




The same rind of early moon

hangs over the blackbird

and me, he pecking

under the lantern bush

and I heading for home : I see


the startled stop, the stiffening

of wing and tail. Between us we

hold a brief bright nothing, each

quite still, my gaze confronting

the gold-ringed pip of his eye,

obsidian mirror deep enough

to swallow the world entire.




Later, on the brink

of sleep, my thought

dives deep to the sunless

home of the nautilus,

of glassy things that move

like stars alive with hunger,

delicate as filigree

in the crush of unlit seas.


They squiggle in silence

away from my light,

signs leaving a page

to blankness, entering

their lives’ long night,

where the fading mind

yoked to this flesh

can only dream

of following.


Steve Xerri