There once was rhododendron, among
graves shadowed by cypress;
and in that rubbish of breakable
twig and bough with the green-black dust,
cradles, where blackbird hearts
jumped in their huddled eggs,
speckles gathered at the fat ends,
no batch the same.
Always there was an abandoned clutch.
The yolk could be blown
through careful punctures,
and the emptied shells
bedded by the row in sawdust.
Variegation was clear then.
But this was knowledge
exhumed from a bush
and forced to hatch,
a ranking of unincubated
shelled lives, and at the mercy
of a child’s fingering.
Dr Jim Stewart is a Lecturer in Creative Writing at Dundee.
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