Starlings by Jane Lovell



Jane Lovell is an award-winning poet whose work focuses on our relationship with the planet and its wildlife. Her latest collection is This Tilting Earth (Seren). Jane also writes for Dark Mountain and Elementum Journal. She is Writer-in-Residence at Rye Harbour Nature Reserve. Her new collection ‘The God of Lost Ways‘ is forthcoming from Indigo Dreams Press.




























We use folders of bamboo and deerbone

to construct you: slinted claw

and oilbead plumage, its gloss-speckle and lustre


crisp-folded on the cusp of winter.

Tweezers pin your reedy legs

and thorny beaks, wings blown


from mountain folds and pleats,

their feather-strata paper-cut-sharp

and glorious as angels’.


Evenings, we line you up in trees to roost,

wind you up to hear your clockwork grobbling

and deep space radio whirrs.


Each dawn, exhilarated by the light,

you sing in clicks and shrills, wolfwhistles

and bright cellophane twists,


then fly your squadron down to land

and dandle determinedly across the grass

to yesterday’s pecked apples.


Fieldfares descend in reverse folds.

Unfazed you dance defence,

flyweight boxers on your thinstalk legs.


In dreams, we gather you in, gently open out

and press flat your mulberry squares,

their iridescent foil,


store you in a drawer, loose-wrapped

in leaves of tissue, for emergencies:

secret trapdoors to another life,


fast and dark and beautiful.


Jane Lovell

‘Starlings’ is from Jane’s forthcoming collection The God of Lost Ways (Indigo Dreams Publishing).




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