Repeat that, repeat (Gerard Manley Hopkins)

Repeat that, repeat,
Cuckoo, bird, and open ear wells, heart-springs, delightfully sweet,
With a ballad, with a ballad, a rebound
Off trundled timber and scoops of the hillside ground, hollow hollow hollow ground:
The whole landscape flushes on a sudden at a sound.


Heron (Elisabeth Bletsoe)

A page that encompasses the whole sky folds down to the shape of a heron, flying. Avian blood-cells a reliquary from cretaceous days; the serpentine throat, the gist of reptiles. Pterodactylar span devouring land gifted by Athelstan as barter for the soul's yearly mass; to Aenna's pool, the Coombe of the Pigsty, Ecgulf's Tree, Aetta's Dean, "for all time". Pastures garlanded with wire & electricity. Barbed & tanged. Bird flesh that waxes & wanes in lunar synchrony with the lady's smock, vacillatory cress-hordes at the margins of the parish water-meadow. Fons limpidus. River-ephemera gather at Smear's Bridge; pollen spicules, florets of eltrot, a meniscoid bulging. The circumspect gaze; irides chrome-yellow, orbits naked, livid. From the banks of the Yeo, a stone frieze of three Maji, one bearing apparently a head, severed. A boy bringing to school a heron killed while attempting to swallow a live vole; the children of Bradford Abbas being "deeply interested in this riverside tragedy".

                     water glancing light;
                           the long patience


Oʻahu ʻōʻō (Katharina von Aachen)

You.


Explosions of soft black tendrils everywhere.



Erratic, tangential, intimations of chocolate liquidity trickle through the trees’ green limbs, floating on the viscous afternoon


      air           “From the first moment I saw you,”


your vivacity, your openness, your joy;


from the depths of the underscrub emanating: Black. Earthbrown Black. Yellow vented, underwings yellow, tailsides magnetized white, the beak’s curvilinear elegance


        drifting    through these bushes, cutting through delusion, green-gold -


                gold -


        through these tiny brushes I unexpectedly brought something inside myself to life. Skin on skin. Breath, as though nothing but lungs. Tendrils on neck. Soles slip, mingling, disturbing equilibrioception. Pericardium rotates, fissured. Arms encircle vainly, an almost-catastrophe, resisted:



and now that this is lost. A thing so individual, "quite unique", its genius erased. Separated now by continents or perhaps centuries the ache of its impossibility is a confusion best experienced only briefly


        But you: gods speaks through flashes of goldblack explosion:


                Alive;


                        alive;



(Author's note: A stunning nectivarious songbird endemic to Hawaiʻi, the oʻahu ʻōʻō suffered from habitat destruction through the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, and was subsequently hunted to extinction.)


Unnamed, identified as Goldfinch (Elisabeth Bletsoe)

Days of brief transparency, viewed through a window of ice, lifted. Powdered across the lane. Having a porous cuttle texture as if drawn “using a thin & rather scratchy nib”. A stricter regimen being currently observed, blood temporarily withdraws. Lenthay Copse smokily obscure. Brittle scrapiness of reeds, bones packed tight with air. Fish-spine delicate. A tenebrous rustle, like the breathing of books. Fields growing nothing but stones, bone white, buff white, ivory white, carved by the river Yeo, formerly the Gifle or forked one. Abounding in small flocks among the alders; a c’irm or charm indicating a tinnitus of small bells, blended, a continual weaving of waters. Angel speaks with multitudinous voice. “Thistle-tweaker”, a conflation of thorns with the scarlet forehead becomes the iconography of crucifixion myth, ousting earlier fertile goddess affinities. Its nest a vaginal metaphor; a labyrinth of tender intricacies. Lucina, caged by the fingers of holy infants.



                        sparkling up from
                        the dried burdock heads, “a shrill
                        piping of plenty”

The Windhover (Gerard Manley Hopkins)

I CAUGHT this morning morning’s minion, king-
  dom of daylight’s dauphin, dapple-dawn-drawn Falcon, in his riding
  Of the rolling level underneath him steady air, and striding
High there, how he rung upon the rein of a wimpling wing
In his ecstasy! then off, off forth on swing,
  As a skate’s heel sweeps smooth on a bow-bend: the hurl and gliding
  Rebuffed the big wind. My heart in hiding
Stirred for a bird,—the achieve of, the mastery of the thing!


Brute beauty and valour and act, oh, air, pride, plume, here
  Buckle! AND the fire that breaks from thee then, a billion
Times told lovelier, more dangerous, O my chevalier!


  No wonder of it: shéer plód makes plough down sillion
Shine, and blue-bleak embers, ah my dear,
  Fall, gall themselves, and gash gold-vermillion.