The Yellow-Hammer – Lewis Watling

The George Crabbe Memorial Poetry Competition
1997 Crabbe Memorial Competition – Third Prize
Adjudicator: Jo Shapcott

I heard her first in the heart’s darkness,
the singer who, like the stuttering yellow-hammer
awakening the hedgerow and copse and brackened heath,
sang her own song. So all birds sing
when Love’s impulse suddenly vibrates
upon the inmost core, the God of everything.
And then I longed to make my heart a cage
in which to keep the yellow bird, but Heaven’s rage
was awful … awful … making all songs cease,
spilling a chilling silence everywhere, closing the ear
to all supernal music, stilling the little bird.
And so, reluctantly, I set her free,
not dreaming what new dawns she’d bring to me.

Copyright © Lewis Watling 1997

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