For one night only



For one night only


By 5.30 they were gathering.

The paintbox sky was losing the will,

and I called you from the shore,

to draw you out,

to parcel up the moment,

before the darkness scrubbed everything away.


Ten minutes later you were by my side,

your face in profile –

bruised from another day’s assault,

but reliably perfect –

gaze following the swarm of starlings,

over and above and around and over the water,

lost in their murmurations,

wanting to be neither explained nor described in words.


Lapsed finally into that state, immeasurable in time,

we prayed for the inevitable gloom to somehow spare us,

we begged each one of the thousand birds

to circle once again before dropping to the reed bed.


I kissed an exploratory tear as it left your eye,

knowing exactly what it was for.



first published in Wildflower Muse, 2016



6 thoughts on “For one night only

    • Thanks, Sarah. Witnessing the murmurations is such an amazing privilege. And it’s coming up to that time of year again over here. If I’m honest, I think I probably DID try to describe them just a little bit!


      • One of my very favorite things too. We see them when we’re going across the country usually in Nebraska. Lots of sky there for them to decorate. You didn’t describe enough to take the poetry out of it. Now if you DO want to take the poetry out, it seems that their peripheral vision is so fine-tuned that they can keep track of the 7 birds closest to them. That’s how they accomplish the murmuration. Sometimes science just ruins the moment completely, doesn’t it.

        Liked by 1 person

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