In Praise of Birds

Sarah Nathan


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I wrote a poem once, aged sixteen, all about a bird. Red kite screeching, dancing in the air. I see her again now, distant cousin, small mouse dreamer, keeper of the skies. Not a naturalist by nature, but it’s a definite theme; some strange winged and uninterpretable dream. You asked me once about my spirit bird and I’ve finally found an answer. The skylark and its trill? A glimpse of sunshine and summer thrills, hiding in the dunes. Or the swallow, dip – diving into autumn, lamenting its return?

There was a man, trenchcoat goth, a crow perched upon his shoulder – beady eyed, piercing Embra’s soul. Is that the one? Or the magpie? Kleptomaniac in monochrome, who made the local news: Brazen Pencil Thief, Cricket Match Spectators in Disbelief!

And once, aged twenty- two, I heard at four a.m., a nightingale, its concerto rise and fall. I thought I might die from the beauty of it all.

Rose -ringed parakeets on Hampstead Heath; masters of their jungle. Flash of green amongst the oak – too fanciful for me. But, it’s the kite, again, I’m drawn to; her solid circling, wild high cry, wise and fundamental. She turns my garden inside out – from a small backyard, to a world expansive and consequential.

Sarah Nathan

is a

Guest Contributor for Panorama.

Sarah Nathan is a teacher and writer living and working in East Lothian, Scotland. She has an MA in English Literature from the University of Edinburgh and has completed numerous online writing courses, most recently with Goldsmiths University, London. She has previously had work featured in Outcrop Poetry, an online and print journal and Wrong Directions, an Edinburgh zine.


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