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18 May 2022

The NS Poem: Bede’s Sparrow

A new poem by Isobel Dixon.

By Isobel Dixon

A sparrow flits through the hall,
its hubbub of feasting men,
the meaty, fuggy, smoke of them.

A spell of warmth and hearth,
post to post, high perch,
a crossbeam bird’s-eye view –

head cocked to reckon it,
the mead-hall din below.
Jocular glut, jostling stories,

battle-talk and rut; crumbs
among the rushes, toppled cup,
the hanging cauldron’s heat.

Mark the sparrow’s pause, now
the slanting rain it tumbled from
has ceased to beat. This quieting –

breath upon a pipe, the click
of deer-horn dice. Sky-sough,
a sigh of flakes upon the thatch.

Hound-yawn, haunch-twitch
in the fire’s glow. A fan of feathers,
wing-flex, flight: bird-blink,

up and out into the night,
the mystery and purity of snow.

Isobel Dixon’s collections include “Bearings” (Nine Arches Press). “A Whistling of Birds” is due to be published in 2023

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This article appears in the 18 May 2022 issue of the New Statesman, Putin vs Nato