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This poem is taken from PN Review 261, Volume 48 Number 1, September - October 2021.

Two Poems (translated by Michele Hutchison) Miek Zwamborn
Translated by Michele Hutchison

Callinago callinago - Common snipe

In the marshy field wading birds stitch grass
to the earth’s underlay  

one of the birds ratchets itself up
a fan of quills vibrating in the air
the sound of thrumming feathers

rustling through withered tussocks of sedge
swiftly escaping a rasping beak
both of her wings pointing upwards like arrows
a salvo of pecks launched from simple clefts
the nest already open in the quaking bog

the second snipe ratchets itself up
wing-strokes parallel and rising
the response comes on four wings

heads catching the breeze in bursts

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