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Poem: Peregrine

Books & Poetry

In this week’s Poet’s Corner, Louise McKenna shares a poem of both avian and pastoral association.

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Cumbria, between the Lake District & Northern Pennines.
A response to the Helen Mort poem ‘The Dogs’
Some days I am thankful I am not a falcon
having to plan my next murder.

I am glad I do not have to be the fastest on earth
or hatch in mid air like a lightning fork

to skewer a pigeon
at two thousand feet.

And I am comforted by the fact
I am not a falconer’s bird

dressed in Lahore bells and jesses,
disciplined by my need to eat.

I do not pluck my food, swallow things whole
or vomit up what I can’t digest,

nor is my cry a harrowing, dissonant note
or my lovemaking crude and passionless –

but one day I will turn the pinions of my shoulders
on the world,

take off through Flakebridge Wood
over the Eden Valley

beyond the summit of Cross Fell
and nothing will summon me back.

Louise McKenna was born in the United Kingdom, where she completed a joint honours degree in English Literature and French. Her collection A Lesson in Being Mortal was published in 2010 by Wakefield Press as part of the Friendly Street New Poets Series. Her poetry has also appeared in Australian and American literary journals. In 2013 she was shortlisted for the Irish Fish Publishing Poetry Prize. Her new chapbook collection The Martyrdom of Bees is published by Adelaide’s Garron Publishing this month.

Readers’ original and unpublished poems of up to 40 lines can be emailed, with postal address, to A poetry book will be awarded to each contributor.

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