2/2 #BigGardenBirdwatch 27-29 January. Over these days please join Peter Donnelly, Andrew Darlington and I to celebrate our Garden Birds and count. I will feature your draft or published/unpublished poetry/short prose/artworks about your garden birds. Please include a short third person bio.


a pigeon sits in the field,
I think it might be hurt,
I crouch down to get real close,
talking to it as it watched me
with lazy half-asleep eyes,
it does not fly away,
eventually I stand and step back,
it waddles a few paces, it was fine,
nothing wrong with it,
maybe it was just tired?
but it lets me get up so very close,
that for a moment we are attuned
on a deep psychic level, bird
to birdbrain psycho-chemistry,
so that my mind has wings,
so my mind takes flight,
feather-brain, beak for nose,
I peek out through its lazy half-asleep
eyes and see my own ludicrous self,
know for sure it’s me that’s frayed,
it’s me that’s damaged
I should have known it all along…

By Andrew Darlington


It’s just their eyes
that look like those
of their namesake,
and not the eyes
of butterfly or bird,
but the ringed spots
on the wings of each,
or rather the feathers
of the fowl. They don’t halloo,
rarely stand still or close up.
It’s not them we think of
when we hear the word,
really only for the male bird,
like we think of a pair of compasses
as a compass, meaning
the geometrical kind,
forgetting the other exists.
One large, one small,
one mostly red, the other blue.
They are as similar as
a Jerusalem artichoke to an artichoke,
peppercorns to capsicums
or a pear to an avocado pear.

Heron at Fishergreen

Is it the same bird, he wonders
as he stands on the bridge as still
as I do in Priest Lane ford. The same man
who was there when I came here before,
though this time he wears
a turquoise fleece not a black
winter coat. Will he know it is me
I ask myself, when I disappoint him
as I did last time, as he takes his phone,
searches for the camera. I’ll turn
my head, fly away not towards him
as he gets it in focus. If he zooms in I’ll be
a blur, a silhouette in reverse, a cartoon.
I will haunt this place for him like a ghost.


In Wales they used to fear my call
like the sight of a magpie
or the sound of an afternoon cock crow.

I can’t imagine why they call me gylfinir
there, for it sounds nothing like
the noise I make, cur-lee.

Now they dread the thought
of my demise, rejoice
at my return to the Yorkshire Dales.

Some think my name means running,
which I never do at all. My beak
catches worms as chopsticks do noodles,

or a pair of tweezers pulls out
an unwanted hair, which when closed
it could be said to resemble. Curved.


They’re supposed to come
to the country in winter
not to the city in summer,
yet I am woken at 4 am
by their screeching.

It’s as if they know
they are in the wrong place,
lost, can’t find their way home,
like the ghost of Catherine Earnshaw
pleading ‘Let me in’.

Their wings are lit up by sunlight
in blue sky in the evenings
of early July, like goldfish
as they fly past my window
which I watch like a tank.

All four poems above my Peter Donnelly

Bios and Links

Peter J Donnelly

lives in York where he works as a hospital secretary.  He has a degree in English Literature and a MA in Creative Writing from the University of Wales Lampeter.  His poetry has been published in various magazines and anthologies including Dreich, High Window,  Southlight,  Black Nore Review,  Obsessed with Pipework,  One Hand Clapping and Ink,  Sweat and Tears.  He won second prize in the Ripon Poetry Festival competition in 2021 and was a joint runner up in the Buzzwords open poetry competition in 2020.

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