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  1. Culture
  2. Poetry
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

Select and enter your email address Your weekly guide to the best writing on ideas, politics, books and culture every Saturday. The best way to sign up for The Saturday Read is via saturdayread.substack.com The New Statesman's quick and essential guide to the news and politics of the day. The best way to sign up for Morning Call is via morningcall.substack.com Our Thursday ideas newsletter, delving into philosophy, criticism, and intellectual history. The best way to sign up for The Salvo is via thesalvo.substack.com Stay up to date with NS events, subscription offers & updates. Weekly analysis of the shift to a new economy from the New Statesman's Spotlight on Policy team.
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