The Word Catcher
Some days, words come with a lark`s free fall,
or drop, plump with soot, like fledgling
jackdaws in the hearth - a dark surprise.
An ashy buzzard`s plumy swoop to one fixed
would be my paradigm -
cruel, lovely brindled feathers hushing a
soft, wind-powered landing.
But I must work at words,
worry them like a thrush with a tight snail,
learn the deft crash of shell on stone,
peck out the snug meat, soft as mussels,
tough as squid.
And I must put on gear to catch my words,
slip my pen-cramped hand into a falconer`s
take blooded meat
and swing the baited lure.
While you, my speckled merlin, snatch at
with claws scaled as a tortoise`s stretched
I`ll slip the hood over your stony eyes,
take your full-feathered weight on my curved
and watch the brown stain of hung meat
spread on my leathered wrist.
To gain a bird’s eye view –
Not counting scale or distance
but feeling the sweep and pull
of landscape in ascendance.
Roads thin, electric threads,
houses squat shelters pitched
against the rain.
And she, my aviatrix – bird woman
will find her scope at last,
cease, like a hawk replete, to
and tangle in her forked routines.
See clearly or, renouncing sight,
let the wind take her to another
where no thick objects cry out to
no eyes and voices ground her
stiff on the boiler, drying
tug me like a lodestone.
I stop and pick them up,
fold the hard crotch over
to a shape fit for a drawer.
Have her legs really grown
her tiny greenstick pelvis
hardened to a cage?
(My own shape now too slack and sloppy for the zip’s squeeze sticks to
The door clicks - its nine o’clock in the morning.
She’s just come home.